Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Chocolate lenten buns (semlor recipe)

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday in many parts of the world, but Estonians and Scandinavians are celebrating lenten bun day or semla day instead. I've been baking my own semla buns for umpteen years now and even shared two of the recipes with you - perfect simple buns and decadent lenten buns with marzipan and raspberries. I've just finished baking a batch of the former and will be stuffing them with lots of creme chantilly once the buns are cool enough. Cannot wait to devour them!!!

However, last year I also tried dark lenten buns, inspired by a recipe in a Finnish food magazine Ruokamaailma. There's chocolate everywhere - in the yeast dough, in the whipped cream, in the marzipan filling, so if you're into chocolate, you'll love this. I'd happily make them again (photos here are from February 2010), but I think I'd skip the marzipan-chocolate filling step completely.

Chocolate semlor recipe
(Tõmmud vastlakuklid)
Makes about 16 buns

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Dark yeast dough:
350 g plain/all-purpose flour
50 g caster sugar
0.5 tsp fine salt
35 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder (75 ml/5 Tbsp)
one sachet of fast-acting instant yeast
75 g butter, softened
250 ml lukewarm milk (one cup)
egg, for brushing

Filling (optional):
50 g dark chocolate
75 g marzipan

Cocoa Creme Chantilly:
200 ml whipping cream
1 Tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 Tbsp caster sugar

icing sugar/confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Mix flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and dry yeast in a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingers, work it into the flour mixture.
Pour in the milk and work the mixture into a nice yeast dough that doesn't stick to your hands and the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth or clingfilm and place into a warm and draught-free place to rise. Leave until doubled in size:

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Knead the dough lightly, then roll into a large 'sausage' and divide into about 16 equal-sized chunks:

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Roll into small round balls, place onto a cooking sheet and leave to rise for another 15 minutes.

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Now brush with a beaten egg wash and bake in a preheated 220 C/430 F oven for about 15 minutes, until the buns are nicely cooked. Transfer onto a metal rack to cool, and cover with a kitchen towel (this keeps the buns soft and moist).

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Cut a top off each lenten bun.

If you are making the marzipan and chocolate filling, then scoop out about a heaped teaspoonful of the bun. Melt the chocolate, add finely chopped marzipan and the scooped-out bun parts and combine. Distribute the mixture into the hollowed-out parts of the buns.

Chocolate Semlor / Chocolate Lenten Buns / Tõmmud vastlakuklid

Combine sugar and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Add the cream and whisk until thick and fluffy. Spoon onto the filled buns and top with the cut-off slices of buns. Dust with icing sugar and serve.


Zoozi said...

Ma tegin ka neid eelmine aasta ja oi, need olid head. Kahjuks see aasta ei tee, mu "suur sööja" on ära :)

Nisrine M. said...

These look so good and are perfect for Shrove Tuesday. I like the brown color from the cocoa.

Elina said...

Kuklid on head tõesti. Aga sisuks panin selle martsipanisegu asemele vaarikamoosi.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nami-Nami! What a wonderful blog you have! Do you know the recipe for the Latvian Alexander Torte?

Saee Koranne-Khandekar said...


Anonymous said...

Mmmm, tahan tulla neid sööma!

Grammy T. said...

Hi Nami-Nami,
This was such a wonderful post. Thank you teaching something new that I knew nothing about.
Grammy T.

Marisa said...

These have my name written all over them!

Agnes said...

They look wonderful! I don't think I've eaten anything similar before so might have to give them a try one day. :)

Pille said...

Zoozi - tore kuulda!

Nisrine - the colour was a nice change from the traditional pale one!

Elina - ma vist jätaks ka järgmine kord selle martsipaniosa vahele - kakaol on ise juba tugev maitse ja pigem kasutaks ka lihtsalt moosi.

Anon. - Latvian?? :) I know an Estonian recipe for Alexander Torte - happy to share a recipe soon!

Saee - just a little ;)

Anon. - no anonüümset inimest on raske külla kutsuda :D

Grammy T, Marisa and Agnes - thank you!