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.
The day that this sleigh riding event takes place is 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, the season of fasting.
The original purpose for Shrove Tuesday was to celebrate in a festive way 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." They are just that delicious! Moreover, they are an absolutely perfect treat with a cup of hot chocolate during the long winters of Scandinavia.
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.
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 enjoyed fully right up until Lent begins.
Then these buns disappear along with the sleigh-riding and the snow...until next year.
- 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)
- 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.
- 2 cup ( 1-pint) heavy or whipping cream
- 4 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
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
- 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.
- 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.
To make these Laskiaispulla even more delicious serve them placed on a "pool" of creme anglaise!
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