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Semlor (Scandi-style Lent buns)

Semlor (Scandi-style Lent buns)

Martha Collison's cardamom-spiced buns are filled with sticky marzipan paste and whipped cream. They were created in Scandinavia to be enjoyed on Shrove Tuesday and throughout Lent.

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  • Makes12 buns
  • CourseDessert
  • Prepare40 mins
  • Cook15 mins
  • Total time55 mins

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  • 250ml milk
  • 75g butter, cubed
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (from the seeds of 7-8 pods, crushed)
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 2 British Blacktail Free Range Medium Eggs

For the filling

  • 200g marzipan
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 450ml double cream
  • Icing sugar, to dust


  1. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter melts, then set aside. Put the flour into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and add the salt, caster sugar and cardamom on one side and the yeast on the other.

  2. When the milk mixture is cool enough to touch, beat in 1 of the eggs. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, mixing continuously until a rough dough forms. Knead for 5-10 minutes on a lightly oiled surface, or use the dough hook attachment on the mixer, until smooth and stretchy. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1-3 hours until doubled in size.

  3. When risen, fold the dough in on itself a few times in the bowl, then divide into 12 even pieces. Shape each into a ball and arrange on 2 parchment-lined baking trays, leaving room for each to spread. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for 45-60 minutes, or until noticeably larger.

  4. While the buns are proving, preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl, then brush over the risen buns using a pastry brush. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown all over.

  5. Remove the buns from the oven and cover with a slightly damp clean tea towel to stop a hard crust forming. Leave to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, cut the top off each bun and scoop out the centre, placing the middles into a small bowl.

  6. Tear the centres into breadcrumbs and grate the marzipan into the bowl, then add the milk and stir until a thick paste forms. You shouldn’t see any large pieces of marzipan. Spoon the marzipan paste back into the centres of the buns, filling each cavity to the top.

  7. Whip the cream into soft peaks, then spoon into a piping bag with a star nozzle. Pipe a swirl on top of each bun, top with the lid and dust with icing sugar, then serve.


Typical values per item when made using specific products in recipe


2,052kJ/ 491kcals



Saturated Fat












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5 out of 5 stars1 rating