Hot cross Swedish semla buns

Adam Liaw
Hot cross Selma.
Hot cross Selma. Photo: William Meppem

A mashup of the traditional British hot cross bun and the Swedish semla (a traditional Shrove Tuesday sweet) is a perfect Easter treat.



1 cup milk, lukewarm

2 tbsp cream

50g castor sugar

50g unsalted butter

500g bread flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground cardamom 

½ tsp ground cinnamon

7g dried yeast

rind of one orange

1 cup currants

icing sugar for dusting


75g flour

one whole egg, beaten

Filling and glaze

80g 60 per cent almond marzipan, grated

80ml milk

100ml whipping cream, whipped

2 tbsp apricot jam


1. Scald the milk and cream in a small saucepan and allow to cool almost to room temperature. Rub the sugar, butter, flour, salt, cardamom and cinnamon together to form breadcrumbs. Scatter the dry yeast through. Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk, orange rind and currants and mix to a shaggy dough.

2. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel in a warm place. Allow to proof for one hour or until doubled in size.

3. Punch the dough down and mold into 10 evenly sized balls. Proof for another 30 minutes until doubled in size again. 

4. To make the cross, mix the flour with about 100 millilitres of water, adding a little at a time until the flour forms a thick paste. Transfer to a piping bag with a smooth nozzle and pipe a cross shape on top of each bun. Glaze with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes in a 200C oven (180C fan-forced). Allow to cool. 

5. To make the filling, combine the marzipan and milk together in a small food processor and process to a smooth paste. Place the whipped cream in a piping bag with a fluted nozzle.

6. Cut the buns in half. Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until liquid and brush over the top of the buns. Spread the base with a generous amount of the marzipan and pipe over the whipped cream using a fluted nozzle. Replace the lids of the buns and serve.