The women in my family sure know how to cook! From as young as I can remember my Mum made THE BEST meals. And Finnish delights.
About a year ago I decided to try my hand at some Finnish fare and started with traditional cinnamon buns, known as Korvapuusti. In my family we call them Pulla, although Pulla is traditionally small round buns or a plaited loaf made with cardamom flavoured dough without the cinnamon. Korvapuusti are also a different shape however my Mum adapted this recipe into scroll shaped buns.
When I started making the dough the smell brought childhood memories flooding back, I remembered the distinct smell of the mix of the dough and the cinnamon and the cardamom. My first lot turned out quite nice, not as good as Mum’s of course but then she wrote the book. I am only reading it.
500ml milk, warmed
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp salt
900g plain flour
6 tsp dry yeast
200g butter, melted
Cinnamon, sugar and margarine to smother over the dough
1 extra egg, to brush on top
Preheat oven to 225oC.
Mix warm milk, 2 eggs, sugar, salt and cardamom together until the sugar has melted.
In a separate bowl mix the flour and yeast together.
Using a spoon to mix, start adding a little of the flour and yeast through the milk mixture. Keep adding the flour a little by little, and when the mixture starts to resemble dough, ditch the spoon and use your hand. Knead until the dough comes off your hand (don’t worry if you have not used all the flour).
Add slightly cooled melted butter and keep kneading until it is all absorbed into the mix. Don’t worry if it seems the dough is swimming in the butter, as you keep kneading the butter will be absorbed into the dough.
If the dough is too moist and sticks to your hand, add a little more flour. Knead until the dough is super soft. Mum’s tip: the softer the dough, the softer the pulla.
Cover the kneaded dough with a tea towel and let it rise to double its size in a warm place (away from draft), for approximately 1 hour.
My grandmother used to get finicky if we opened doors while she was waiting for Pulla dough to rise, “Close the door!” she would say in Finnish, to ensure there was not a draft.
Roll out the first portion into a rectangular shape. Spread a little margarine all over the dough with a spatula, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.
Roll the sheet up to make a long log shape, cut into approx 3cm pieces.
Place the pieces onto a baking tray, scroll centre upwards, and cover the tray with a tea towel and let rise again.
Brush with beaten egg all over and sprinkle the top with sugar (you might notice by now there is a lot of sugar being sprinkled!).
Repeat with the other 2 portions of dough.
Bake in 225oC for 15-20 minutes or until a nice golden brown colour. Do not overcook as this will make them too dry.
Cinnamon perfection! Sublime with a good cup of coffee.
** Tip: Keep in a sealed container, can be eaten for days after. If they dry out over time, simply heat for 10 seconds in the microwave to soften. Or, dunk in coffee! They can also be frozen in freezer bags, to defrost simply pop in the oven for 10 minutes and eat warm.
Do you have a favourite traditional childhood treat?