Tag Archives: Paasiaisleipa

World Cooking – Finland

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Finland
Progress: 71/193

There was no question in my mind as to next Scandinavian country I would cross off this food list. I have always had a soft spot for Finland, even as a kid. I guess I identified this nation that was grouped with the others, but was still very much an outsider in terms of language, culture and history. This soft spot developed further when I visited Helsinki a few years ago and have since vowed to return to Finland in order to take advantage of the Midnight Sun film festival. One day, when I have a job that forbids taking time off in that time period, I plan to have my mind blown.

The big thing that I think bout when it comes to Finnish cuisine is leipäjuusto, or squeaky cheese. Sadly you just can’t get this in the UK. It is also hard to get things like smoked reindeer, which is another bit of a blow. However, Finnish cuisine is more than that. This is a cuisine that likes rye bread, native berries and mushrooms and so many different types of sweetbreads. I was actually spoilt for choice when it came to desserts, but instead opted to remake something that didn’t quite succeed a few years ago. Then for my main, I just wanted to make something I enjoyed in a small cafe on a Finnish island.

Main: Karelian Pasties

Karelian pasties are something that you see in many Finnish cafes and bakeries. This is a small past with a thin rye crust and a filling typically made of some sort of rice porridge. You can then top this with a number of different things, but egg-butter is the version I had in Finland. When warm, they make for a delightful snack – I just wish they weren’t such a bugger to make.

I don’t know if it’s the recipe (from Food) or a series of unfortunate events, but my making of these pasties was eventful. The rice porridge filling didn’t thicken up, so I strained it and then toppled up the finished product with extra liquid. The dough jaws beyond sticky and it was a trial to just get it unstuck from the mixing bowl, let alone roll into discs that could hold the porridge.

And yet, these were absolutely gorgeous. As a topping I went traditional with some egg-butter, but I also got some smoked ham because I figured that would work in addition. It really did. The recipe ended up making 16 of these, which made for a hearty lunch and a great pre-dinner snack. I also, gave some away to my mum too – which’ll teach me for gloating on WhatsApp. One day I might give this another go, but I might consult some other recipes first.

Dessert: Pääsiäisleipä

A few years ago, I made a version of this Finnish Easter bread and it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. The interior was still a bit raw and the rest was just dry. However, I knew there had to be a better recipe out there and I found it thanks to Bakers & Best. This is not he right time of year to make an Easter bread, seeing how it’s early February, but the local supermarket has been selling Easter eggs for nearly two months so I feel like seasonality doesn’t really matter.

This remake worked perfectly, even if it did take me 5-6 hours before I could get a chance to eat some. The smell of the cardamom alone as it cooked made me so incredibly hungry. The bread itself is an enriched dough with a lot of the same flavours that you find in a hot cross bun, but with added almonds and a closer crumb. I wish I had some emmental to eat with this, but butter was more than good enough. So glad that I have plenty of this to eat over the next day or two.

This was lunch, dinner is my next country. I managed to find a quicker recipe for Oceania, so I figured why not try to two countries in a weekend.

Good Eatin’ – Paasiaisleipa and Cleaning Out The Cupboards

I have a whiteboard in my kitchen above the bin. It’s a useful thing for keeping track for future grocery shops and to remind me of the list foods that I have lying in weight in the cupboards.

With this post I have been able to clear my list for the first time in over a year. I guess this means that I am going to have to up my hunting game if I am to continue ticking things off. That, or win the lottery so I can afford to buy myself some beluga caviar or fly out to Hong Kong for the sake of seasonal Yellow Oil Crab.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Paasiaisleipa

Before I get into the last items from the cupboard let’s take a moment to appreciate the beautiful spiral of this loaf of Finnish Easter bread. I wasn’t able to find any of this on my jaunt to Helsinki (mainly because it wasn’t Easter) so I resorted to making it on my own.

There are a lot of recipes for paasiaisleipa out there on the internet. As with all things Easter bread there are a number of different ways that this can be made. I ended up opting for a recipe by The Schizo Chef which helped to create a very rich fruit loaf with the spicing of a British fruitcake and the richness of brioche.

One of the hazards of baking these things myself is that I know it will probably be inferior to one made by a proper baker. For example, my one definitely turned out a bit more doughy than the one in the recipe, but it was still a good loaf. If it wasn’t for the fact that it took most of a morning to make I’d give it another shot.

Still, given the success of this and the Torta Di Castagne I think there are a few more baked items from this food list that I could homebrew. So if anyone has a recipe for Irish potato apple cake…

Food items: Sheto and Hemp Oil

Right so here are the last two things from the cupboard. The sheto comes from the box of Afro-Caribbean foodstuffs that I bought just before Christmas (which is a weird word to type when I am watching an episode of Fringe where that is a codeword) and the hemp oil is from a new grocery store that recently opened up around the corner.

Sheto is very much on the same level of flavour as fish sauce and terasi – as in it’s made as the result of fermenting seafood. The point of difference with sheto is the addition of chile pepper. It creates a heat that is rather remarkable, even with the smallest amount. So that’s heat and the taste of fermented prawns. Went well with a spot of mayonnaise and a mushroom burger.

The hemp oil was used to dress a salad to go with the mushroom burgers. The oil itself gave a flavour to the salad leaves which was somewhere between nutty and grassy. I know this can be used in stir-fries and such so this might be an oil worth experimenting with. Unlike the red palm oil. That was disgusting.

Progress: 658/751