Laskiaispulla – Scandinavian sweet buns for Shrove Tuesday!

Pulkkamäki

Pulkkamäki

In Finland, Laskiainen is a day  in which children traditionally grab their sleds ( pulkka)  and literally head for the hills for a fun day of sleigh riding. This sleigh riding event takes place on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday, and Mardi Gras. This is the day  preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, for many Catholics.

Laskiaispulla

Laskiaispulla

The original purpose for Shrove Tuesday was to celebrate the last day one could eat “heavy” before entering into the fasting season of Lent. Personally, I have seen these buns appear in Finland soon after Christmas and long before “Shrove Tuesday.”  Why? Simply because they are just that delicious!  Moreover, they are an absolutely perfect treat with a cup of hot chocolate during the long winter.

Laskiaispulla (with jam)

Laskiaispulla (with jam)

So what are laskiaispulla?  They are quite simply a sweet cardamom flavored bun that is filled with a raspberry or strawberry jam and topped with  a delicious whipped cream.  In Sweden, it is common to find a spin on this bun by replacing the jam with almond paste.

Laskiaispulla

Laskiaispulla

Regardless if you’re a child or a grown-up, one thing that is definitely for sure is that these buns are something people look forward to every year.

They are fully enjoyed right up until Lent begins. Then like magic, these buns disappear along with the sleigh-riding and the snow, until next year.

 

 

 

 

Laskiaispulla

(20 buns)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup – milk
  • 1/4 cup – sugar
  • 2 tsp – cardamom ( finely ground)
  • 1 – egg
  • 1 packet – dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp – salt
  • 3 cups – flour ( all-purpose)
  • 7 Tbs – butter ( melted)
  • Sugar flakes for garnish ( optional)

Procedure:

  • Heat the milk to lukewarm.  (about 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit).
  •  Once lukewarm, add the salt, sugar and cardamom and mix well.
  • Lightly beat one egg and then divide the beaten egg in half.  Add half the beaten egg to the milk mixture.  Reserve the other half  to use as an egg wash.
  • Sift the flour.  In a mixing bowl, add 2 1/4 cups of flour and the yeast .  Reserve the remaining 3/4 cup flour to the side.
  • Slowly begin to pour  the liquids into the mixing bowl with the flour and yeast. Once all is incorporated, add the melted butter.
  • Now use the reserved flour to adjust the consistency of the dough, if need be.  The dough should be soft but not sticky.  If sticky add some more flour.

Tip: You want to use any additional flour as sparingly as possible.  Too much flour and the buns will not have the soft texture we are looking for once cooked.  The buns will become too hard and this is what you want to avoid.

 Whipped cream:

  •  2 cup ( 1-pint) heavy or whipping cream
  • 4 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Procedure:

  • Whip the heavy cream in a stainless steel bowl with the sugar until stiff peaks form.  DO NOT OVER-BEAT.
  • Reserve in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the buns.

Forming the buns:

  • Knead the dough until it is uniform, smooth and soft.  this takes about 10-15 min by hand.
  • Next, place the kneaded dough in a bowl covered with a damp cloth.  Leave to proof in a warm spot until double in size. This should take about 40 min,
  • Then punch down the dough  and divide it into 20 equal pieces.
  • Roll the dough pieces into round uniform balls and place on a parchment lined baking tray
  • Let the buns rise again in a warm area covered gently with a dampened cloth

To Bake:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Brush tops and side of buns with the reserved egg that you made into an egg wash
  • Sprinkle the top with the sugar pieces.
  • Place on an oven rack in the center of your oven.  Bake for 10-15 minutes (until puffed and golden brown)
  • Remove and let cool.

To Assemble:

  •  Cut the tops of the bun to make a “lid”
  • Using a coffee spoon, carefully scoop out some of the inside of the bun.
  • Fill the bun with the jams or almond paste and top off decoratively with the whipped cream.
  • Carefully place the lid back on and dust the tops liberally with powered sugar if desired.

 Tip: To make these Laskiaispulla  even more delicious serve them placed on a “pool” of creme anglaise!

Hyvää Ruokahalua! (That’s Finnish for enjoy your meal)

  • http://blog.afoodobsession.com afoodobsession

    Fantastic!~!

  • http://www.tomaytotomaaahto.com Ruby

    Wonderful post! I’ve always been fascinated by the popularity of almonds and cardamom in Scandinavian cooking, because neither is native to the region. But both are favourites of mine, so bring it on!

  • Jane

    I had these buns, served with hot chocolate, in Finland last winter during their February Winter Festival. Just so perfect on a cold winter day. I’ll have to try to make them at home. Recipe looks easy enough.

  • Joan Befumo

    How delicious these must be! Can’t wait to try.
    What about peaches, blueberries, or raspberries
    as a filling? Keep them going year round.

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Joan,

    This is a great question! Yes, you can substitute the jam in the recipe for whatever fruit jam you prefer. It won’t be traditional but will definitely keep them going all year long.

    Love it!

    Thanks for the comment.

  • Franco Lania

    Jane these Finnish buns are definitely the perfect accompaniment for a hot chocolate on a cold winter day.

    In Finland they are a real treat.

    Thanks for sharing your Finn winter memory.

    Very nice!