Reminiscent of most cultures' 'Fat Tuesday' preceding Lent, food on Laskiaistiistai was meant to be fatty, to symbolize the fattening of the pigs and a good harvest for the coming season. But since Reformation, Lent is not so strongly recognized or practiced in Finland. Instead, we make a point to go sledding with families or friends, eat pea soup, and eat Shrove buns.
I did go sledding with friend in Coffinpuisto off of Bulevardi, nearby a friendly yet trendy cafe, Fanny goes to Hollywood. We had a little picnic of 'pulla' (or buns), drank some warm beverages, and took turns sledding down the hill.
Shrove Tide Buns
- 1 cup warm milk
- 25 g dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3-4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cardamom crushed coarsely (cinnamon is an acceptable, yet non traditional substitute)
- 1 egg, separated
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- almond flakes or sanding sugar for garnish (optional)
- Whipped cream
- Jelly or sweetened almond paste (marzipan)
- Preheat the oven to 175C. Proof the yeast in warm water with sugar for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the butter, egg yolk, cardamom, salt and 2 cups of flour and mix well.
- Add more flour, gradually, until the dough is still soft and somewhat sticky, but comes off the bowl easily enough.
- Knead for several moments to firm the gluten in the dough and eliminate lumps.
- Let the dough rise for about an hour covered in a warm place, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Punch down dough and form into approximately 12 small balls, and place evenly on a baking sheet. Brush with egg whites for the glaze, and sprinkle on any additional garnish. Let rise for about another half an hour.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.
- When cooled, cut off top third of the bun and layer jelly (strawberry or raspberry work best) or marzipan, then whipped cream.
- Replace top third of the bun.