Gluten-Free Vegan Semla

On Shrove Tuesday, known as Fat Tuesday (‘Fettisdagen’) in Sweden and semlor (plural for semla) is hugely common all around the country. To eat it like local, start with the lid. Use it to scoop up some of the gooey contents. Go on with the rest of the bun.

Those who follow me know how much I love raw semla, but I don’t like the classic bread-like version. This year I wanted to try something different and made gluten-free version with healthy flours. For me, it was better than the classic as we did not eat the doughy middle part of the semla and use its crispy edges as a way to hold the almond paste cream together.
Since I shared it on Instagram, many of you asked for the recipe, I am sharing it below for those who want to try it.
In classic version it is filled with almond paste and topped with whipped coconut cream, I also added rosehip marmalade as an elevated kick.

Serves: 6 buns


Dry Ingredients

10 g instant yeast
120 g almond flour
80 g buckwheat flour
18 g tapioca flour
1 tbsp (8g) psyllium husk powder (some psyllium powders might be lighter on the weight, in this case consider as gram.)
1 tsp ground cardamom
A pinch of pink himalayan salt

Wet Ingredients

190 ml almond or oat milk
35 g coconut oil melted
55 g agave (or coconut nectar, maple, any other liquid sweetener you prefer)

Almond Filling

55g (4 pcs) date paste (make puree in the food processor or cut with a sharp knife into small pieces, then mash with the fork)
100 g almond butter
1 tbsp (15 ml) agave (you can also use maple or coconut nectar. Coconut nectar is my favourite sweetener but since it is not easy to find every country, I simply recommend agave. You can also use other sweetener such as concentrated apple water)
1 tbsp (15 ml) almond oil ( this ingredient is optional and only recommended if you almond butter is not runny enough.)
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt + a pinch

Filling 2 (optional)
1 cup rosehip marmalade (or any fruit marmalade you prefer) – (You can use read-to-use one or to make it, simply cook on the stove with the sweetener. For 1 cup fruits use 1/2 cup agave or coconut sugar)

1 can full fat coconut cream whipped ( use only thick part on the top)

1. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients expect yeast, and set aside.

2. Place the yeast in a bowl. Heat almond milk at 37 C in a saucepan. Pour the almond milk over the yeast and stir until it dissolves. Then add the wet ingredients and stir.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the bun and mix together to form a dough.

4. Let the dough rest for approx. 30 minutes. The most important thing is to allow ample time for the buns to rise. Since you will probably be making these in a cooler February kitchen (on the semla week in Sweden), leave plenty of time for the buns to rise. Keep in mind that they will rise but won’t double since gluten-free.

5. Set the oven to 180 C.

6. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. As the dough is quite sticky, it is easiest to roll the buns by first dipping each piece of dough in a little buckwheat flour. Using your palm, press each ball of dough against the table and roll in circles until the bun is smooth and shiny, as if you are massaging it. Cup your hand around the bun without too much pressure and swirl it around in a circling motion to shape it into a round ball.

7. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

8. Bake in the middle of the oven for approx. 16-20 minutes. The classic semla which contains require only 10-12 minutes baking time but the gluten-free version is a bit different. They will start to bake after 15 minutes. Then keep your eye on the dough and after 15 minutes with a help of chopstick check if they are cooked inside. I find mine dough well cooked around 18-19 minutes. But it may change depending on the oven you have. Also keep in mind that since it is gluten-free you may feel a little bit wetness in the middle of dough but at the end of cooking time, this is totally ok. You will also scoop out the middle parts.

9. Allow the buns to cool down for 20-30 minutes.

10. Cut off the tops and cut into triangle with a sharp knife.

11. Using a teaspoon, remove the holes of the dough. Do not waste the middle parts, you can bake them in the oven and turn into gluten-free bread crumbs to use later.

12. In a bowl mix almond filling ingredients. Spread 1 tablespoon almond paste in the hole of semla. Continue with 1 tbsp reship marmalade on the top if you are going to add jam layer as well.

13. Transfer thick fat part of coconut cream in a pastry bag with classic star tip or wilton 2D nozzle as I did . Pipe the cream on the top.

14. Finally put the lid on the top of cream. Using a small tea strainer or duster if you have, dust some finely ground coconut milk powder or coconut flour. Since I don’t use confectionery sugar, I prefer that way. Feel free to use which way suits you the best. Enjoy!