Tag Archives: history

Laskiaispulla – Another Finnish Bun

March came so fast that I didn’t manage to update this blog with another traditonal Finnish recipe – the laskiaispulla. If you love to eat sweets buns and cake, February is your month! In the beginning of February Finland celebrates Runeberg’s Day. On that day the stores and bakeries are filled with Runeberg’s Cakes which are made with almond flour and decorated with raspberry jam in a sugar ring. Then on Shrove Tuesday (Laskiaistiistai) Finnish people eat sweet buns filled with whipped cream, raspberry jam and/or marzipan.

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Laskianen is originally a pre-Christian Finnish tradition where children would go sledding down the hills (sledding events are still done nowadays, mostly by uni students with fancy selfmade sleighs) to predict the crop growth of the coming summer and was later merged with pre-Easter customs. Like with every celebration, certain food traditions are also part of it and that’s why there has been so much old-fashioned baking at our house lately. If you ask me you don’t have to wait for a holiday (or the next February) to enjoy a freshly made laskiaispulla!

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For the basic sweet buns I used this Finnish recipe and converted the amounts into grams because in Finland most baking is done by using deciliters. This gets even more ridiculous in the summertime when you have to decide on how many liters of fresh peas you want to buy from the market (and lets not even talk about buying plums). But back to baking!

When measuring with deciliters it really depends on how firmly you pack the flour and sugar because that might change the weight and will lead to a different result. I would recommend adding a bit more flour if you have the feeling the dough is not firm and springy enough before the rising time.

Ingredients (for ~8 buns)

250 ml full fat milk
1/2 package dry yeast
100 g sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
1 small egg
100 g melted butter
500 g plain white flour

pearl sugar for decorating and some milk for brushing the buns

raspberry jam and/or marzipan
200 ml whipping cream

Heat the milk on the stove in a saucepan until it’s lukewarm and dissolve the yeast in it. Add the sugar, salt, cardamom and the egg and give it a little whisk. Slowly mix in around 2/3 of the flour with a spoon or a hand mixer using the dough hooks. Knead in the melted butter and the rest of the flour. Transfer into a big bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm environment until the dough has nearly doubled. It really depends on the temperature and I’d say it would take around 1,5 hours in room temperature. You can also heat up your stove to 50°C, turn it off but leave the oven lamp on and let the dough rise in there for around 45 minutes.

When the dough has risen enough you can roll it into a log and cut it into 8 pieces (or more if you want smaller buns). Roll each piece into a bun and put on a tray lined with parchment paper. Brush some milk on top and decorate with pearl sugar. Let the buns rest another 20 minutes while you heat up the oven to 200°C.

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Bake them for around 12-15 minutes until they are lightly golden. Let them cool down completely before you start filling the buns.

For the filling whip up the cream (add some vanilla and sugar if you like) and set aside. Now you can cut the buns in the middle and and put some raspberry jam or marzipan on the bottom halves. Or both like in my case!

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Pipe the whipped cream on top of the jam/marzipan and carefully put the tops back. Now your buns are ready to be eaten. Enjoy!

Stef

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Happy Runeberg’s Day!

On 5th of February Finland celebrates Runeberg day, the birthday of national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who lived in the 19th century. Although he wrote in Swedish, part of his most popular work became the National Anthem of Finland. It is said that his wife, who was a writer herself, invented the Runeberg cake which her husband loved to eat for breakfast. The pastry is flavoured with almonds, cardamom and is topped with raspberry jam in the middle of a sugar ring. Traditionally it is eaten on Runeberg’s birthday.

2women2cats: Runeberg Cake (Finnish pastry)

Tiia usually makes Runeberg’s cakes herself but this week was so busy that she didn’t quite have the time for it so far. Fortunately Kanniston Leipomo, a bakery nearby, sells freshly made ones, so I got two pieces for the afternoon. On the weekend she’ll hopefully get around to make some of her own and put the recipe on the blog, so everybody who is not able to buy these great pastries in their country can make their own.

Happy Runeberg’s Day or hyvää Runebergin päivää!

Stef

 

Blueberry Yoghurt Breakfast & Off To Mini-Vacation

This week we went mushroom picking – resulting with exactly 0 mushrooms. Fortunately we found blueberries! This is one of the reasons why I love my country, you can just go to the forest and pick some food. As a child I hated people saying this, but it really is true: blueberries are like nature’s candy!

2 women 2 cats -- Blueberry Yoghurt Breakfast & Off to Mini-Vacation

I already made a blueberry crumble pie (recipe coming later!) and I know Stef is planning to make some tarts. Besides desserts, I also love love love blueberries for breakfast. They go great with yoghurt, porridge and smoothies. Blueberries are superfood, and they’re supposed to be healthier than gojiberries. Here is what I did for my breakfast:

Blueberry Yoghurt Breakfast

Greek or Turkish yoghurt
Muesli
Ground flax seeds
Cacao nibs
Blueberries

Mix everything together and enjoy! If you feel it needs to be sweetened, add some honey.

2 women 2 cats -- Blueberry Yoghurt Breakfast & Off to Mini-Vacation

We are off this morning for our little mini-vacation in Uusimaa & Southwest Finland. We’re going to drive around and visit the town of Fiskars in Raseborg and the Unesco world heritage site of Old Rauma.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’s not going to thunder the whole time there; at the moment the sky looks pretty bad. Our luck!

2 women 2 cats -- Blueberry Yoghurt Breakfast & Off to Mini-Vacation
Jeera and Kookos love sheets changing time!

Tiia

A Little Bit Of History

I haven’t seen much of Finland yet but this has to change. Since I am currently doing a placement at the National Board of Antiquities and visited an excavation in Vantaa, I wanted to come back on a sunny day and have a closer look around.

2women2cats: St. Lawrence Church, Vantaa, Finland

The Lutheran church of St. Lawrence is a medieval stone church (built in 1460). Before there used to be an earlier church building made from wood. Of course it has gotten under many changes during the time. It used to have smaller windows for example and the outer walls were whitewashed. Inside, the walls used to be covered with paintings and were whitewashed after the Reformation. After a fire in 1893 parts of the white paint burned away and the old paintings showed through. Fortunately copies could be made. The fire also damaged part of the stone structure while altarpieces could be saved. The church and the bell tower were rebuilt afterwards. Not all wooden sculptures made it through the fire. Four out of eight remained.  A statue of Job made in Lübeck, Germany can be seen in the National Museum in Helsinki. *

*The church of St. Lawrence, Vantaan Seurakunnat, Kari Autero 2009

2women2cats: Vantaa, Finland

You should also have a look at the cemetery. It’s especially pretty in spring when the cherry trees are blooming.

2women2cats: St. Lawrence Church, Vantaa, Finland

Right in the front of the church is a really nice café that offers freshly baked cookies and sweet buns. There is lots of space inside but if the weather is nice you should enjoy your coffee outside and enjoy the view.

2women2cats: Café at St. Lawrence Church, Vantaa, Finland

2women2cats: Café at St. Lawrence Church, Vantaa, Finland

2women2cats: Café at St. Lawrence Church, Vantaa, Finland

If you walk around in town a bit you will come across lots of nice wooden houses. Some of them are new, some of them are old but every new house that is being built has to match the appearance of the town.

2women2cats: Vantaa, Finland

2women2cats: Vantaa, Finland

2women2cats: Vantaa, Finland

Afterwards we decided also to pay the tuomiokirkko (cathedral) of Espoo a visit.

2women2cats: Cathedral in Espoo, Finland

2women2cats: Cathedral in Espoo, Finland

This stone church was also built in the 15th century but only became a cathedral in 2004.

2women2cats: Cathedral in Espoo, Finland

2women2cats: Cathedral in Espoo, Finland

Like in Vantaa the wall painting were covered up in the 18th century but uncovered during renovations later. They show biblical seens as well as scenes from daily life. *

*http://www.espoonseurakunnat.fi/web/asiointi/espoon-tuomiokirkko/historia

2women2cats: Cathedral in Espoo, Finland

2women2cats: Cathedral in Espoo, Finland

So if you are in Helsinki it’s definitely worth it to leave the city for a few hours and have a look around the country side.

Stef

2women2cats: Espoo, Finland

2women2cats: St. Lawrence church Vantaa, Finland

 

 

Spring in Helsinki

“Spring?” you might ask. Right now it’s a proper summer even here in the north, but since I’ve been too busy to update the blog, I thought now would be the time to post these pictures. They’re actually from the end of April, so they indeed are late.

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

The church in the background is the German Church in Kaartinkaupunki, where we went for a German flea market and some Kuchen.

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

The flowers had just started to bloom in Tähtitorninmäki/Observatory hill.

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

In Finland, as soon as the snow has melted and the sun is up, it’s the perfect weather for sitting in the park (possibly with alcoholic beverages).

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

The houses in Kaivopuisto are some of the most beautiful in Helsinki.

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

Some Art Nouveau buildings in Ullanlinna. Helsinki is one of the finest Art Nouveau cities in Europe, and I personally love the style.

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

We were walking past the St. John’s Church, when we noticed a couple were having their wedding pictures taken at the entrance. The church itself is of the Gothic Revival style.

2 women 2 cats - Spring in Helsinki

So hopefully the next pictures of Helsinki will be summery ones and we can all forget that winter ever happened. The next post I’m writing will nevertheless be of these beauties: Gentle Folk’s Bread.

Tiia

2 women 2 cats - Gentle Folk's Bread