Our family Christmas dinner is a Finnish feast. We dine on traditional Finnish fare such as Rosolli – beetroot salad with pickles and herring, Karjalanpaisti – a traditional meat stew, and no Finnish family Christmas dinner would be complete without the famous root vegetable bakes. In our family we feast on Lanttulaatikko – a swede based bake, Perunilaatikko – potato bake, and my all time favourite, Porkkanalaatiko – carrot bake.
These casserole type dishes can be made in advance and freeze well if there are any leftovers. I have always made sure I leave Mum’s house on Christmas Eve armed with leftovers to last me a few days. Since we only eat these dishes once a year, I need a good dose. I may just eat this carrot bake for lunch and dinner this week. I am not joking, I love it that much.
In Finland Christmas is smack bang in the middle of winter, so these rich, hot dishes make sense. In our hot Christmas climate however, one would think we’d be more inclined to indulge in summery salads and the good old Aussie BBQ, but not our family. We go all out, keeping up the Finnish Christmas dinner tradition.
Also in the tradition of doing what I can myself over buying ready-made ingredients (ie I prefer to make my own pastry rather than use store bought pastry) I made my own breadcrumbs with day-old Pane di Casa for this dish. I am heavy-handed when it comes to butter so I went a bit nuts with it on top, you can never have too much butter in my opinion.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Suitable to freeze
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup cream
25g butter, melted
1 tsp salt
Breadcrumbs and a few knobs of butter for the top
Preheat oven to 175oC.
Boil rice as per packet instructions however take off heat a few minutes earlier to retain a porridge type texture.
Peel and grate carrots roughly.
Lightly beat eggs and cream together, add to carrots. Add rice, butter and salt to carrots and combine well. Pour into a lightly greased oven dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and throw on a few knobs of butter. Make a pattern on top with a big spoon.
Bake in oven for 50 – 60 minutes until golden brown in colour.
Gracing the Finnish Christmas dinner table for dessert are Joulutorttu, delectable little buttery-pastry tarts filled with prune jam. I have posted the recipe earlier, you can find it here. I think next I will try my hand at Rosolli, no Finnish Christmas dinner table would be without it. Sounds crazy – beetroot, herring and pickle – but believe me the combination is mind blowing! Watch this space.