Tag Archives: traditional

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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Sahramipullat – Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

My love for old fashioned baking continues. Saffron buns are something I have eaten all my life – first made by my grandma, then my mom and now me. Back in the days the way to make these was slightly different. Traditionally the buns weren’t made with almond flour, but I actually prefer the newer version, since pulla (sweet bun) is something eaten very often in Finland, and sometimes you just want some change in your life!

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

Saffron Sweet Buns (24 buns)

Ingredients

0,5 g saffron
1 sugar cube or 1 tsp sugar
150 g butter
250 ml milk
25 g yeast
100 g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
50 g coarse almond flour
475 g plain white flour

some pearl sugar for decorating

Crush the saffron and sugar cube together in a mortar until it’s fine powder. Heat the butter and milk in a pan until the mixture is lukewarm (or a bit warmer, if you are using dried yeast) and add the saffron/sugar powder.

Crumble the yeast and add it to a bowl with the sugar and salt. Pour a bit of the warm butter/milk mixture on top and mix until the yeast is somewhat dissolved. Pour in the rest of the butter and milk mixture while stirring and add the rest of the ingredients. Start using your hands to knead the dough and continue kneading until it doesn’t stick to your fingers anymore. The dough should be stretchy and shiny. Cover the bowl with a cloth, place it in a warm spot and let it rest for 60-90 minutes until has more or less doubled in size.

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats
Before resting time.

Take the dough out of the bowl and cut it into 24 pieces. Knead each into little buns (another traditional way is to braid the dough) and roll the topside in a bowl with pearl sugar.  Put the buns on a tray and let them rest under a cloth for 30 minutes while you’re heating the oven to 225°C. Let them bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they have gotten slightly darker in colour.

Enjoy!

Tiia

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

Finnish Saffron Sweet Buns -- 2women2cats

Finnish Runeberg’s Cakes

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

This is one of the Finnish desserts that probably every single Finn has had in their life. It is eaten on Runeberg’s Day on the 5th of February. Usually these cakes start to appear in the stores in January. The bought cakes are nice, but naturally nowhere near as good as self made ones. First of all they rarely have rum in them!

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

If you don’t like the flavour of rum, you can as well leave it out and replace it with lemon or orange juice. The Finn Crisps used in the recipe are a type of thin rye crispbread that is found everywhere in Finland. I’m not sure how common it is in other countries, but I know it is found at least in Germany. If you can’t get it anywhere, you can also replace it with gingerbread, speculoos or dark breadcrumbs.

Traditionally the cakes are baked in special Runeberg’s cake tins (cylinder shaped) but you can use a muffin silicone form or dessert rings. As you can see on the pictures I used different shapes for my cakes but I think the cylindrical ones looked the best.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

The cakes should be really moist despite the amount of different crumbly ingredients. This is why they are moisturized with a water/sugar/rum mixture, and if you’re not eating the cakes on the day of the making, you should give them a small bath before serving.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg’s Cakes (6 pieces)

Ingredients

50 g almonds
45 g Finn Crisps
45 g breadcrumbs
90 g plain white flour
100 g butter (room temperature)
90 g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg
100 ml heavy cream
2 drops bitter almond aroma

100 ml water
25 g brown cane sugar
1 tbsp rum

raspberry jam
powder sugar and water

Crush the almonds into a rough crumble with a food processor. Do the same with the Thin Crisps, but process them into a fine flour. Set them aside for later use.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Whip the butter and sugar into a foam and add the egg while whisking.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the batter. Pour in the cream, add two drops of bitter almond and whisk just until everything is evenly incorporated.

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Pour the batter into a muffin pan or your desired tins. Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes. While the cakes are in the oven, make the rum/water/sugar mixture. Heat up the water in a pan, dissolve the sugar in it and add the rum.

When you take the cakes out of the oven, pour some of the water mixture on them immediately and let them cool down in the pan. You can smooth out the tops with your fingers to give them a flatter look.

To make the sugar ring take a few spoons of powder sugar and add just enough water to make a paste. Don’t let it get too thin! Pour into a piping bag and decorate each cake with a sugar ring. Add a spoonful of raspberry jam in the middle.

Enjoy!

Tiia

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Runeberg's Cakes - 2women2cats

Saaristolaisleipä – A Traditional Finnish Bread

I have been making our own bread for quite a while. If I have enough time on my hands I usually make sourdough bread but it is not as failproof as normal yeast dough and really time consuming. For a few weeks now I have tried to master an Estonian sourdough rye bread but I keep on failing miserably. I can tell you that nothing is worse than having to throw a fresh loaf into the trash!

I decided to have a break from Estonian bread making, so next on my agenda was a traditional Finnish bread – saaristolaisleipä. Often translated as Islander or Archipelago bread, it consists of rye and wheat flour with rye malt and dark syrup. The malt gives the bread the dark look that is typical for this bread and the syrup a soft and sticky consistency and a slight sweet flavour. And the best thing: it isn’t a sourdough bread and therefore easier to make (at least for me).

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

The recipe I used was originally for three breads but in case I would fail again I only made two. I also converted the measurements into grams since Finnish recipes mostly use deciliters for measuring and it tends to confuse people too much.

Ingredients

665 ml buttermilk, 2,5% fat
50 g fresh yeast
200 ml dark bread syrup (contains malt) or other dark syrup/treacle
150 g malt flour (I used rye malt)
60 g spelt bran (or wheat/rye bran)
130 g rye flour
400 g wheat flour
3/4 tbsp sea salt

For the glaze

1tbsp dark syrup
3 tbsp water

Spices (optional)

bread spices like coriander, fennel, cumin 
hemp seeds

Take a saucepan and heat the buttermilk on the stove until it’s lukewarm. Crumble the yeast into it and let is dissolve slightly, then add the syrup.

In a big bowl mix all the dry ingredients (including spices if you like) and then slowly add the buttermilk/yeast mixture while stirring with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. You don’t have to mix it for long but make sure everything is properly incorporated. The dough will be quite liquid, unlike wheat dough. Cover with a towel and let it rise for around 1,5 hours in room or above room temperature. I put it on our bathroom floor which has floorheating. Make sure to check the dough every once in a while because how fast it will rise depends a lot on the temperature and also texture of the dough. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size.

Make sure to preheat the oven to 175°C before the rising time is up. Grease two loaf tins with butter and divide the dough into two parts. Distribute it equally between the tins and smooth out with wet hands. You can then add hemp seeds on top of the breads if you like. Bake them on the lowest rack for 2 hours. Spray a bit of water into the oven or keep a little bowl with water underneath the breads to keep them moist. Depending on your oven you might need to cover them with tinfoil after an hour to prevent the top from burning.

For the sticky glaze mix the syrup with the water and brush the breads with it 15 – 30 minutes before they are done. When the time is up, take the breads out of the tins immediately and brush the rest of the syrupy water on them. Then wrap each in parchment paper and wrap firmly with two towels. Let them  cool down like this completely or best overnight so they are well rested in the morning. Now it is time to taste your bread! Enjoy!

Stef

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

Saaristolaisleipä - A traditional Finnish Bread

 

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