Mardi Gras looks a bit different in Sweden. It is much colder than Rio or New Orleans, but there is no bonhomme like in Quebec. They said goodbye to the Catholic church quite a while ago, but retain some (modified) traditions. Naturally, my favourite is semla, the seasonal pastry. A semla is a cardamom-flavoured yeast bun split open and filled with marzipan and whipping cream. A variation called ‘groda semla’ or frog semla (???) mixes the cream and marzipan together first, then fills the bun. Both are good!Â Originally this was a way to get rid of some of the rich foods before lent started, kind of a last treat before the austere season before Easter.Â However, people liked them so much and when an austere lent became less important, it was a tradition to eat a semla every Tuesday during lent.Â Rock on!
I am not really one for yeast dough, so I experimented and made some semlakex (semla cookies) with cardamom dough and a pat of marzipan on top that caramelized in the oven.Â No cream, but they are far more portable for bringing into work!