Tuesday, February 20

SPC: Fat Tuesday


Overpowered by the semla

In Swedish Shrove Tuesday is referred to as Fat Tuesday, which neatly sums up how you feel after eating a semla. These Lenten buns are an almost guaranteed cardiac arrest served on a plate, yet Swedes have a compulsive need to consume them, in vast quantities, not just on Shrove Tuesday, but on every Tuesday from early January until Easter.

The first bite is delicious. The soft, sweet, cardamom-spiced bun is filled with a glorious almond-bread mixture and it is topped with a generous spoonful of whipped cream. But already by the third mouthful or so you can't help but wonder what all this cream must be doing to your arteries, never mind your stomach (and your hips and your thighs). Nausea soon sets in, and keeps you company for the rest of the day.

Despite years of experience, my craving for a semla was so great this weekend that I spent the first half of Sunday baking the wretched things from scratch, which included making my own almond paste (the kind sold in the UK is just too sweet). The second half of the day was spent feeling quite disgusting; I swear fat was literally oozing out of my pores. It's the perfect way to start Lent I suppose, no way are you going to want to eat anything so fatty and so sweet again for a very long time. But since Lent hasn't been observed in Sweden for many years, there the gluttony continues, relentlessly, until Easter.

Feeling brave? Want to give them a go? Here is the recipe.

26 comments:

blondie said...

I feel the same way about caramel cheesecake... I bought one for a work colleague today for her birthday because I know how much she (and I, lets be honest) loves it.

For the first few mouthfuls, it is better than sex... but towards the end, you wish that you had the metabolism of a giraffe.

I can feel the lard sticking to my hips and thighs as we speak...

You only live once, right?

girlfriday said...

why not indulge ... specially when you have made them from scratch :o)

My Marrakech said...

You're killing me here with this! I need to try one of these.

And I don't care what you say about ABBA not being your favorite. My children and I LOVE Abba. We burst into fits of complex dance moves and off chord singing whenever we hear it. I think it might be some crazy form of Swedish happiness... You clever Swedes you...

acumamakiki said...

Those sound delicious, especially with almond paste AND cardamon! But the best thing is this photo, so lovely.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

fun photo - i bet it was as fun to set up as to eat it...

Ryan Velting said...

I cannot say that I've ever had the opportunity to try one of these, but it sounds SO good.. Is the almond past in them similar to the paste found in the Dutch pastry banket?

Great... Now I'm hungry. :]

Oh, added you to my links page, hope thats alright!

melba said...

Those look yummy. I have been eating alot lately and in the back of my mind I keep thinking...well lent is coming...

La Cubana Gringa said...

Those look worth having fat ooze from your pores! Yum!

Bearette24 said...

They look really good, but i know what you mean. if something is too sweet, the bad feelings set in fast :(

Jeremy Stockwell said...

Yummy! Great shot! I like the perspective and crop.

Gypsy Purple said...

Yes, I also have to taste one..never have...want to...

Chamara

gay said...

i thought i loved this photo then i read the story, love the story and i'd love to try one myself!

LG said...

That's a great photo. I wonder where I can get some of those without going through all the work of making them...

Magda said...

In Poland we celebrate "Fat Thursday" - feast marking the last Thursday before Lent - by overeating paczki (a deep-fried, preserve-filled dough).

PS. I am quite a new visitor to your blog - and loving it!

Edvard Moonke said...

I like the sound of these but I'm not a fan of cardamom, especially when you bite into one in a curry!

stuffed said...

Yum! The Swedish part of my family has a Sunday morning baked goods tradition. Cool pic.

Nicole said...

yummy food and photo! it's perfect the way you are peering out from behind your treats - one eyebrow arched. ready to indulge!

Loralee Choate said...

Must.NOT.Think.About.Wanting.Fattening.Lovely.Desserts.

Damn. It didn't work.

Dagmar said...

Lovely photo!

I'm glad that you liked them, but I agree on that they can't be good for you.

Lately the bakeries in Sweden sell both normal size and bite size semlas which is the perfect size.

Bex said...

Wow, you made these buns? They sound so yummy. I wish I could find some of them around here. There's no way I could make them myself!!

luzie said...

Your picture and post totally brought back memories! I loved Semla when I went to Sweden years ago.. delicious. Hmmm!

Tammy said...

I LOVE fat Tuesday and would eat one for lent for sure. Wish I were Swedish...will Italian work? Crispy Kreme has that feeling too. Love the yummy portrait!

Jamie said...

Wow! Those look amazingly sinful. I'm going to have to come up with my own version of Fat Tuesday. I think it will involve cheesecake! And whipped cream. And chocolate. I like this tradition!

Karin said...

Well. I remember when you wolfed down two "semlas" at that café in Stockholm. One right after the other. If you puked later Im sure glad I wasnt around... I only had a mini-sized one yesterday. What's happening to me?

Endment said...

They sound scrumptious!!!

Uber Mer said...

Oh dear, I've felt like this. I think it's worth it, especially after the labor you put into it. Lovely shot!

xo Mer

p.s cheers to a successful Lent.