Posts Categorized: Pulla

Everything’s bigger in Dallas

 

Dallas Pulla :: The Scandinavian Baker

Dallas Pulla

It was a revelation the day I discovered that seemingly unending varieties of Pulla exist across Scandinavia. With the slightest tweak to a recipe a flick of the wrist this simple, delicate bun transforms into an array of wonderful delights.

OK, this may sound a little over the top – but trust me, once you’ve been to Dallas (aka Flavour Town) you’ll never be able to Pulla yourself away (wow – that was corny even for me – but seriously *grabbing your arm with wild abandon* this is the stuff).

To start you’ll need the basic Pulla recipe found here. The only difference is when I have the time I like to let this dough slowly rise for as long as I can. Allow the dough to get started for half an hour or so and then whack it into the fridge for five or six hours or even overnight – the cold won’t stop the fermentation, just slow it.

When you’re ready to roll, let the dough warm up a little as it will be easier to handle.  While it’s warming up get started on the filling.

Dallas Pulla Ingredients :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

250 grams of Quark cheese at room temperature

100 grams of unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup of caster sugar

1 egg

¼ cup of custard powder (or you can use plain cornflour with an extra dash of vanilla extract)

Dash of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

An additional egg and dash of milk for egg wash

Icing

3/4 cup of icing sugar

Dash of warm water

Pearl sugar (optional)

Dallas Pulla Ingredients :: The Scandinavian Baker

Firstly make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature – it’s the same method as for a cheesecake, if the ingredients are too cold it’s more challenging to end up with smooth custard.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat together until well combined and smooth.

Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, at least 40cm wide by 30cm tall. Keep the thickness around a centimetre. Evenly spread the custard mixture over the dough leaving a clean edge of about 1.5 cm along the edge closest to you, reserving a quarter  of the mixture to top the buns at the end.

Dallas Pulla waiting to be baked :: The Scandinavian Baker

Brush the clean edge with a little warm water and gently roll the dough into a sausage and seal with the damp edge. Using a sawing action (to avoid squashing the rolls) cut the dough into 5cm lengths.

The buns will need to rise again before baking. Place the buns flat side down onto a baking tray with enough room to comfortably double in size and not touch. Spoon the extra custard on top of the buns and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 200c. Once ready gently brush with the egg wash and place into the oven. Bake for 20 mins and then increase the temperature by 10c for another 5-10 minutes and bake until golden.

Dallas Pulla :: The Scandinavian Baker

Remove the buns and allow to cool for 15 minutes while you prepare the icing.

Combine the icing sugar and water to make a smooth paste the consistency of honey. Liberally drizzle the icing over the buns while still warm. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Wait as long as you can to resist trying one – I lasted about 3 minutes.

Enjoy

Dallas Pulla :: The Scandinavian Baker

A classic loaf for all occasions

Finnish Pulla :: The Scandinavian Baker

This recipe for a simple tea loaf is based on the foundation of all Finnish Pulla recipes. From here you can add spices, jams, icing, custards or fruit to make endless varieties of this delightful afternoon tea staple;  but this original, lightly sweetened golden loaf is a simple delight to make and share with friends over a cup of tea, or more traditionally, ultra-strong black coffee.

You can start this in the morning ready for afternoon tea. If there is any left, day-old Pulla is ideal for Bread and Butter Pudding.

Rising Dough :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry 

250ml tepid milk
100 grams of raw caster sugar
2 packets of instant/dry yeast
1 egg
125 grams of soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom (plus a small amount of seeds, crushed roughly for texture and extra punch)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt
650 grams of plain flour

Use the dough hook tool on your mixer. Combine milk, sugar and yeast in your mixing bowl. Allow to activate for 5 minutes. Add the softened butter, egg, cardamom, cinnamon and salt and combine. With the mixer on low gradually add the flour until combined. Once the dough comes together you can kneed by hand until you reach a soft elastic dough, although I use the mixer to do this with equal results – approximately 5 minutes in my mixer.

Once smooth and elastic, allow to rest for a couple of hours until at least doubled in size.

Rising Pulla Dough :: The Scandinavian Baker

Divide the dough into three portions and roll into long sausages about 40 cm in length. Once you have the three lengths, place them side by side on your baking sheet and gently press the ends of the three together to join. Beginning with the left, gently plait the pieces of dough together, gently joining at the end. Once you’re finished fold the joins underneath the main loaf.

Finnish Pulla :: The Scandinavian Baker

Brush with beaten egg and dust with pearl sugar and set aside to rise for another 30 mins to rise. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Allow to cool and serve just warm. I love it with slightly salted butter, an extra dust of ground cardamom and a cup of the darkest Finnish coffee on the side.

Nothing beats a classic.

Finnish Pulla :: The Scandinavian Baker

Most Delicious, Sir

Lemon & Mint :: The Scandinavian Baker

The start of a new year is the perfect time to look back at some of the favourite recipes here at The Scandinavian Baker.

Finnish Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns
The ultimate in Finnish baking.

There’s nothing quite like a slapped ear in Finland, I’ll be honest. They’re everywhere. Old people with slapped ears, children, students, and tourists… the Finns are dishing them out to anyone who asks and some who don’t. It’s a national pass time.

Korvapuusti :: The Scandinavian Baker

Jam drops
The perfect go-to recipe for a sweet fix.

Preserving food is big in Scandinavia, and it’s easy to understand why. The seemingly endless frost-gripped winter, devoid of light and anything fresh in the garden lends itself to storing delicious preserves made from the sun-drenched summer harvest and roadside foraging.

Jam Drops :: The Scandinavian Baker

Danish Pastries
My all time favourite treat.

Danish pastries are my weakness. I love them, always have. My Dad and I used to frequent our local Hot Bread store on Saturday mornings to buy said hot bread; usually a Vienna loaf or similar, scorched a little on the crust. We’d eat it piled high with paper thin slices of pastrami from the deli next door and I couldn’t imagine a better lunch at the age of eight. Pastries would also be bought for afternoon tea (or the ride home) – always apricot for me.

Sour Cherry Danish Pastry :: The Scandinavian Baker

Finnish Oven Pancake
No more flipping for you with this take on a breakfast favourite.

If you love pancakes for breakfast, but can’t be bothered with the pouring, flipping and repeating while your hungry relatives eye-ball you from the table, then this one is for you. It’s a one pan wonder and while its form may be unfamiliar it packs a punch of heart-warming pancakey comfort food flavour that will have you adding it to your regular repertoire.

Finnish Baked Pancake :: The Scandinavian Baker

Thanks so much for reading, sharing, baking and eating your way through the blog this last year.
Here’s to another year ahead of delicious and surprising treats from far off lands and those a little closer to home.

Enjoy, TSB x

Bowls :: The Scandinavian Baker

Jam, cream and austerity

Laskiaispulla or Semla  :: The Scandinavian Baker

For a long time I thought nothing could beat the classic Finnish Pulla. The somewhere between light and dense, cardamom laced, delicately sweet ubiquitous bread that is a staple in Finnish households, and eaten daily by me when in Finland.

Once I’d lived in Scandinavia, however, I discovered a smorgasbord of delightful variations, some appearing only once a year. And as you know I’m somewhat obsessed with holiday food – I was sold.

Enter the Laskiaispulla – the pulla for Shrove Tuesday. Push those common pancakes aside – Lent has a new King. Also known as Semla in Swedish, vastlakukkel in Estonian or fastelavnsbolle in Danish and Norwegian this little bun loved across the still icy Spring shores of the Baltic.

What better way to toast the season of going without than by stuffing your face with a jam and cream filled taste explosion.

The recipe below is for half the usual batch – even I can’t devour 32 buns, but if you’ve got a big group of hungry pilgrims popping around to feast one last time before Easter by all means double it.

Ingredients for Laskiaispulla or Semla  :: The Scandinavian Baker

The Pantry

1 packet of instant yeast
1/2 a cup of Milk – warmed to body temperature
1/2 cup of golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
50 grams of unsalted butter – softened
3 cups of plain flour – sifted
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom

Laskiaispulla or Semla  :: The Scandinavian Baker

For Decoration

Flaked or ground almonds – or a combination
Pearl sugar
Extra egg for glaze

Toppings

Lingonberry Jam
Cream – for whipping
icing sugar

Combine the yeast, sugar, salt, cardamom, milk, butter and beaten egg in your mixing bowl. Using the standard mixing blade switch on and gradually add 1 cup of flour until the mixture in smooth. Switch to the dough hook and incorporate the rest of the flour.

Kneed in your mixer for 5 minutes or turn out onto a floured surface and knead by had for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover and allow to rise for up to two hours  or until at least doubled in size.

Once risen turn out and divide into 16 equal portions. Gently roll each portion into a ball and place on a lined baking tray to rise again.

While waiting, make a list of thing you think you should give up for Lent… (not compulsory – the dough will still rise if you skip this step)

Gently brush the risen dough with an egg wash and sprinkle the almonds or pearl sugar onto the rolls.

Bake at 190c for12-15 minutes until lightly golden. Ding – rolls become buns. Allow the buns to cool before adorning with the jam and cream.

Laskiaispulla or Semla  :: The Scandinavian Baker

To Serve

Slice the top of each bun and spread a layer of jam on the bottom half, top with cream and pop the top back on. Dust with icing sugar and you’ve a got a perfect last supper on your hands.

Laskiaispulla or Semla  :: The Scandinavian Baker

Options

A delicious alternative is to fill the buns with almond paste – this can be made by processing blanched almonds,  a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar and a dash of cream until it comes together to form a paste. It’s worth a try.

These buns are hard to put down; cute, perfectly proportioned and undeniably moreish – I’ve eaten three just writing this post.

A solemn and hungry Lent to all.

Laskiaispulla or Semla  :: The Scandinavian Baker

Slapped ears, buttery eyes and rosy cheeks

Korvapuusti

There’s nothing quite like a slapped ear in Finland, I’ll be honest. They’re everywhere. Old people with slapped ears, children, students, and tourists… the Finns are dishing them out to anyone who asks and some who don’t. It’s a national pass time.

I’m talking about Korvapuusti – Finnish cinnamon and cardamom buns. Translation – slapped ears.

Korvapuusti are just one of copious varieties of Finnish Pulla – sweet yeast-risen pastries that make their appearance throughout the day at breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, supper and late night snacks, both in the dead of winter or under the white night sky of summer. Rolled into a shape that resembles a slapped ear, they’re as Finnish as Sauna and a must-try when you visit.

While every family has a recipe, they’re so popular and essential to the day that they’re baked on a massive scale at bakeries across the country and sold in supermarkets.

I worked briefly in a bakery in Finland – at two actually; one small bakery in a picture-perfect neighbouring village and in a much larger industrial bakery in the next city over. Both were filled with the unmistakeable and comforting smell of Pulla baking away to be ready for the morning. Stepping from the snow outside into the warm sugary-smelling bakery was the best part of the night. (Cleaning the industrial frozen pizza conveyer belt was not the best part – although both smells were unmistakeable).

The Finn has grown up on these things – made of course by loving tradition-trained, sleigh-riding Finnish aunts (both related and acquired), so when I first got out the rolling pin the pressure was high.

The recipe below helped me tackle the traditional taste. It takes a bit of time, but mostly for raising the dough. Cooking, like life feels slower in Finland – there’s lot of time to kill on dark 23 hour long nights, hence the seemingly endless variations for Pulla – and births in August…

I’ve made two varieties from the same dough. Firstly Korvapuusti and secondly Voi-silma ( butter eye).

Cardamom seeds

Cardamom seeds

The Pantry 

250ml tepid milk
100 grams of raw caster sugar
2 packets of instant/dry yeast
1 egg
125 grams of soft unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom (plus a small amount of seeds, crushed roughly for texture and extra punch)
1 teaspoon of salt
650 grams of plain flour (Spelt flour also works really well and will give a slightly more dense result)

The Filling

Korvapuusti
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
25 grams of caster sugar
50 grams of butter

Voi-silma
25 grams of caster sugar
50 grams of butter

NOTE: If you’re only making Korvapuusti, then combine all the filling ingredients (100g butter/50g sugar).  Leave out the cinnamon if just making Voi-silma.

Dough
Use the dough hook tool on your mixer. Combine milk, sugar and yeast in your mixing bowl. Allow to activate for 5 minutes. Add the softened butter, egg, cardamom and salt and combine. With the mixer on low gradually add the flour until combined. Once the dough comes together you can kneed by hand until you reach a soft elastic dough, although I use the mixer to do this with equal results – approximately 5 minutes in my mixer.

Once smooth and elastic, allow to rest for a couple of hours until at least doubled in size.

To make the filling I break with tradition here – mix the cinnamon and butter into a paste. You’ll use this later on to spread across the rolled out dough.

Divide the dough into four portions. Here you can decide what to do; two for korvapuusti and two for voi-silma, or keep all four for the ear slap.

Pulla rising

Korvapuusti

Pre heat your oven to 180c degrees.

Roll the dough into two rectangles, (30x25cm, 3-5mm thick). Spread an even portion of the dark spiced butter across the dough and sprinkle with some of the sugar. Roll into a sausage and set aside. Repeat.

Line the dough sausages up and cut them on the diagonal. You want to end up with v shaped pieces with the point about 2cm across. Place the pieces point side up on a baking tray and press down on the point with your finger – almost through to the tray. Brush with beaten egg and dust with sugar. Set these tasty ears aside to rise for another 30 mins to rise and then bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Voi-silma pulla

Voi-silma

Take your remaining dough and divide further in to four pieces each – eight in total. Roll each piece in to a golf ball size and place on a baking tray to rise for 30 minutes. (These make super-tasty plain Pulla as well). In the meantime, take the remaining butter and sugar and mix together to form a paste.

Once risen, gently press a hole into each bun and place or pipe a teaspoonful of the filling into each one and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Voila! Two decidedly tasty varieties of Pulla. Serve them warm with coffee for a classic Finnish experience. They’re sure to put a rose in every cheek… (wait, that’s vegemite)

Finnish morning tea

This recipe is based on one from Tessa Kiros, a cook whose recipes I love; also with a heart in two places.