Saffron semla with pistachio almond filling

saffron semla saffransemlor

Do you like saffron buns (lussebullar) and do you like “semlor”? Then you will love this saffron semla (saffransemlor). I used the recipe I use for my traditional semla, but I hace added a few things to make it more suitable for Christmas. Saffron in the dough and chopped pistachio in the almond paste filling.

I skipped the cardamom, but you can add some cardamom if you prefer that. I use saffron threads, mortared together with some sugar and marinated in a spoon of lemon/orange juice the night before baking. I also skipped to mix the crumbs from the buns in the filling, becaise I didn’t want to mix the saffron flavour with the almond and pistachio flavour.

And don’t be afraid of the long baking time. Thw time you actually do anything is not much. 4-5 hours is just letting the dough rest and rise. And the result because of the predough is really good. So fluffy and soft! Maybe too soft because it was diifult to cut out the lid…

The saffron bun goes really well with almond and pistachio. Let me know if you try the recipe and what you think about it. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, where I just had a giveaway; A box filled with these semlas!

Just want to make regular saffron buns? Try this recipe with white chocolate.

Total time


Prep time


Cook time

8min x2


16 large, 24 medium or 32 mini

Recipe for my saffron semla with pistachio (saffransemlor med pistage)

  • 300 g (about 5 dl) flour
  • 2.5 dl milk
  • 25 g yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 200 g (about 3.4 dl) flour
  • 1 dl sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g salted butter, room temperature
  • 300 g almond paste, grated
  • 50 g roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 pinch of vanilla powder
  • 1 dl icing sugar (more if you want sweeter)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 dl milk (approx.)
  • Icing sugar for garnishing

The dough:

Heat the milk to lukewarm together with the saffron. Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir the milk in it. When the yeast is dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients (less sugar if you used sugar for marinating the saffron) to the pre-dough and let the kneading machine work for about 10 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave to rise for about 1 hour.

When you have a nice fluffy predough, add rest of the dough ingredients. Knead for about 10 minutes and cover with plastic wrap again. Let rise for about 2-3 hours.

Making the buns:

Divide the dough into 16 pieces (approx. 60 g/piece) for large buns. Or 45 g for medium and 30 g for mini semlas. Shape them then into round buns and place them on two baking sheets.  Leave to rise again for about 1 hour (lightly covered with palstic wrap).

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and bake the buns for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool. That will make the cutting of the lid easier. Cut triangular lids of each bun.

Chop the pistachio, and sift out the fine pistachio powder thru a sieve. Save for garnishing, and use the thicker pieces for the almond filling. Mix all the ingredients for the filling, and add the pistachio in the end. Dilute with more milk to get the desired consistency.

Fill the buns with the almond mixture. Whip the cream and pipe it out nicely on each bun, before putting the lid on. Sift som icing sugar on top of the lid and garnish with the pistachio powder. Enjoy!

Variation ideas for this fika

Change the chopped pistachio for chopped almond if you don’t like pistachio. I tried to mix some raspberry powder with the icing sugar before sifting it on the lids, and it was delicious! Try if you want to add one more flavour to your bun!

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