Friday, April 2, 2010


Finally it's time for Mammi, a Finnish treat for Easter holidays. It's truely a relic of midevil times, and there are dozens of varying recipes for it, as well as recipes that include Mammi in them. I recently heard of one Finnish beer brand up North that even makes a Mammi beer!

The main ingredients include rye malt, rye flour, molasses and orange rind or extract. It's slightly fermented before baked and lasts several days, which is why it took popularity around Lent when on Good Friday, cooking was forbidden. Other symbologies of Mammi during Easter include it's laxative properties, which represents the purging of our sins (oops, should have thought of that before I started eating massloads for breakfast this morning right from the box!)

Finnish people either love it or hate it, and they serve it to foreigners with glee, awaiting with baited breaths the expected look of horror when a newbie sees Mammi for the first time. Afterall, it looks like dog excrement in a box. But it's good I swear! I know we eat with our eyes, so if you want to eat it like the Finns do, you can either pour a little cream over top and sprinkle it with sugar, eat it 'a la mode' or spread it on a piece of bread.

Here I'll provide the basic recipe, but I warn you that it's much easier just to buy the premade produce in this case. If you're truly adventurous, or don't live in Finland but are curiuos enough to give this a shot, here it is:

This recipe is for quite a large amount of Mammi, but if you're going to go through all the trouble, you might as well make a lot and then have some to share!
  • 7 litres water
  • 2 kg rye flour
  • 1/2 kg rye malt
  • 3 tbs syrup or molasses
  • 2 tbs salt
  • the grated orange rind of two oranges
  1. Heat the water to about 60C.
  2. Using about 2 litres of water, mix in just enough flour and malt to make a thick but soupy mixture, likened to porridge.
  3. Sprinkle a thin layer of more flour and malt on top and let the mixture sit one hour to sweeten.
  4. Add another litre of hot water to that mixture, mix in more flour and malt to regain a thick consistency, and sprinkle generously with more malt and flour and let sit again.
  5. Continue step 4, until all flour, malt and water has been used.
  6. Cook on low heat for about an hour, stirring frequently, adding the other spices, such as orange peel, salt and molasses.
  7. Remove from heat and continue stirring while cools.
  8. Place in several small containers (made from Birch if you like!) and bake on about 100C for several hours.
  9. Allow to cool and serve chilled, with cream, sugar, ice cream or however you like
Normally, I'd have an Easter brunch with friends that don't otherwise have family in Helsinki to celebrate Easter with. This year, my current apartment is doesn't have the living area space big enough to be conducive to such a thing. But in any case, I'm moving in a few weeks to my own studio apartment! Other Easter things I had aspired to make, but won't make because I am celebrating alone this year? Paskha and Kulich (Russian desserts). That doesn't mean I can't make them on a day which isn't Easter, right?

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