Comb Danish ‒ Kampaviineri

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #19: A good rule of thumb is that for every pastry, there is one portion reserved for every guest, plus perhaps couple of more so no one would have to take the embarrassing last piece. In case you'd like a second round, first make sure everyone already had one.

In English pastries made with the puff dough are called Danish pastries, but Finns call them Viennoise pastries. Perhaps Denmark is too near to be thought fine and above the average people. Because this form of puff pastry has become a synonym for meetings where participants wear ties and are generally either leaders of big businesses or involved in politics. Perhaps that's a bit unfair considering innocent they look!

- 1 portion of puff pastry dough
- 150 g almond paste
- water
- coarse sugar or crushed nuts

Prepare the pastry in the normal way. Roll it out into a thin layer and cut into square pieces. Thin the almond paste by mixing a dollop of water with it. Spread the paste onto each square. Then fold facing sides of the square to the middle and turn the seam down.

Make a few cuts on one of the long sides. Bend the whole comb a bit backwards so that the teeth separate from each other. Sprinkle with water and coarse sugar or nuts. Bake 5-8 minutes in 225°C

Nutritional values / 1590 g:
energy 6269 kcal
fat 401 g
protein 106 g
carbohydrates 553 g
fiber 27 g


Åland Pancake ‒ Ahvenanmaan pannukakku

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #18: Today, coffee is an extremely democratic drink. There isn't much change in the drunk amounts between the poor and the rich, men and women or city and countryside. Even economic booms or depressions don't seem to affect the total amounts so much.

The little autonomic island group of Åland has its own version of the Finnish oven pancake which we call pannukakku or ropsu. It's most often a dessert but has traditionally been offered even as a starter in weddings. I picked it here since I think it's a perfect snack with coffee, especially on a summer day when friends come for a visit. The coffee table doesn't even necessarily need any other pastry with this.

The Åland version is made into semolina porridge, spiced with cardamom and is usually a bit thicker than normal pannukakku. You could also try rice or oat porridge instead of semolina. I used sweetened soy milk here, but if yours isn't sweet or you use oat milk instead, you can add a few spoonfuls of the white drug.

- 1.5 l soy milk
- 3 dl wheat flour
- 2 dl semolina grits
- 50 g margarine
- 1 tbsp cardamom
- 1 tsp salt

Heat up the milk. Add semolina and stir until the plot thickens. Remove from heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients too. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake for half an hour in 225°C.

Serve with ice cream or whipped soy cream and jam or berries.

Nutritional values / 1905 g:
energy 2083 kcal
fat 73 g
protein 105 g
carbohydrates 260 g
fiber 17 g


Almond Wreaths ‒ Mantelikranssit

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #17: The first and the last piece of every pastry are considered important, and no one is usually willing to take them without a direct encouragement by the hosting family. In case it's someone's birthday or name day, and there is a layer cake, the lucky boy or girl is expected to cut the cake and take the first piece before anyone else, and it would be considered extremely rude to queue-jump before him/her.

One more biscuit recipe! There are a few versions of the classic wreaths, like vanilla wreaths or lemon wreaths, and you could add pretty much any flavouring to their subtle delicacy. I bet lavender or meadowsweet would work here great. The most common one though is the almond version. What I love in them is how easily you can get something that looks like you've gone through a whole lot of trouble.

- 250 g margarine
- 1,5 dl icing sugar
- 3.5 dl wheat flour (or 4 dl)
- 1 dl almond flour
- 2 tbsp soy cream (or 3 tbsp)
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder

Shift the icing sugar to the same bowl with the margarine. Whip until fluffy and fair. Mix the dry ingredients and shift into the bowl. Add cream just about enough to get a sturdy mixture but the kind which is still possible to pipe. (Add more flour or cream to balance this.)

Pipe the dough into wreath shape, straight onto a baking sheet. Bake 5‒7 minutes in 225°C. Watch them very, very carefully at the end of the baking. I managed to get both burned and underdone wreaths on the same batch. If you're oven bakes a little unevenly like mine does, it may even be a good idea to turn the baking sheet around at halfway.
If you wish, you can decorate the wreaths with chocolate stripes after they've cooled down.

Nutritional values / 673 g:
energy 3224 kcal
fat 223 g
protein 48 g
carbohydrates 255 g
fiber 14 g


Cinnamon Snakes ‒ Kaneliässät

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #16: When coffee availability was limited, coffee grounds were used at least twice. Roasteries and individual makers both created their own substitutes. Grains, acorns, peas, beans, dandelion roots and chicory were all used (and haven't been touched since). Usually a good "replacer" involved a carefully pondered mix of several of these. Salt was also a common addition because it made the coffee seem stronger.

The halfway mark of MoFo has passed! At this point I notice some tiredness again. The plans have been made and now it's just fulfilling them and my brain is already elsewhere. But there's still a lot to post: two more biscuits, a tour from Åland to Lapland

Here's the first of the two. They're called cinnamon esses in Finnish, but since that sounded odd to my ear and cinnamon biscuit sounded just dull, I thought I'd call them snakes in English. After all, the S shape is quite slithering! I imagine upper class ladies had them with coffee when coffee had just arrived. They're still one of the every standing table must haves, but if you love cinnamon as much as I do, that's definitely not a bad thing.

- 6 dl flour
- 200 g margarine
- 1.5 dl sugar
- 0.5 dl hot water
- 1 tsp baking soda

To dust:
- 1 dl sugar
- 4 tbsp cinnamon

Dissolve the sugar in water. Mix the rest of the ingredients with them. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or two. Mix the dusting ingredient on a plate.

Roll pieces of the dough into bars. (If necessary, use some four to help.) Roll the bars in the cinnamon and sugar dust. Arrange into S shape on a baking sheet. Bake about 14 minutes on the upper shelve of a 175°C oven.

Nutritional values / 842 g:
energy 3327 kcal
fat 149 g
protein 52 g
carbohydrates 443 g
fiber 20 g


Aunt Hanna's Cakes ‒ Hanna-tädin kakut

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #15: Many Finns love to dip pulla and other pastries in the coffee. This procedure softens up biscuits, rusks and dried pullas, but it's also done with fresh pulla. Laplanders may even do this with salty snacks to soften up for example dried meat and on the other hand, to get a drop of salt in the coffee.

These baking experiments tend to make my jaw drop. How can you achieve so different structures with almost identical ingredients and procedures? Aunt  Hanna for example presents us this biscuit-like little cake that is soft, crumbly and airy all at the same time.

This looks like an easy recipe, and in a way it is. But you can end up with aunt Hanna's biscuits if you stray too much from the instructions. Sometimes this is only evident the day after, which of course shouldn't worry you if you plan to eat them right from the oven. Traditionally this has been a way of using a cream gone sour, so you have a few options. The easiest one is to use 2 tsp baking powder instead of the soda. You could also just leave the cream on the table for a few days. I this version I have added vinegar to get the soda work.

- 5 dl wheat flour
- 3 dl potato starch- 3 dl sugar
- 150 g margarine
- 1.5 dl soy cream
- 1 tbsp aplle wine vinegar
- 1 tsp baking soda

Melt the margarine and mix all the ingredients. Refridgerate for half an hour. Gather up all your patience and form into small balls between your hands. (This isn't kosher, but I keep applying flour to my hands while I do this.)

Place sparsely on a baking sheet, since they swallow a whole lot. Bake 8‒10 minutes in 200°C.

Nutritional values / 1090 g:
energy 4061 kcal
fat 139 g
protein 46 g
carbohydrates 650 g
fiber 16 g


Lingonberry Pie ‒ Puolukkapiirakka

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #14: Finnish coffee is usually made with automatic drip coffee makers. Some old people (as well as campers) still use simple boiling method. Since 1990's young people have also been interested in different "special coffees" meaning French or Italian type coffee drinks which are often flavoured, but those are still rarely brewed at home. Decaf and quick coffee on the other hand are something that are being laughed at when watching American tv-series.

The pastries I've posted this MoFo haven't been especially seasonal. Considering most of my blog this feels even a bit weird. It's the peak of the harvest season with abundance of apples and mushrooms. So where are all those berry recipes and open-faced pies Finnish cuisine is full of? Some of the treats I've posted already, for example a classic apple pie and bilberry kukko. But most of the classic recipes are created in the time of no freezers, and you have fresh ingredients available only for a small moment every year. This is a fun pie even in mid-winter though, because lingonberries preserve great in their own juice.

Another reason is that recipes centered around berries and fruits rarely have any one proper way of making them. I've learned that it's supposed to have a crumbly crust and some cream viili to balance the sourness of the lingonberries without using so much sugar the sourness is utterly lost. In the version you see in the photo I mixed part of the lingonberries crushed into the yogurt. More typically the colour spreads if it spreads, achieving an equally beautiful marmor of both white and pink spots. This is intended for a whole baking sheet, but in case you want a regular sized pie, half all the amounts.

The crust:
- 200 g margarine
- 3 dl wheat flour
- 3 dl graham flour
- 2 dl sugar
- 1 dl oat or soy milk
- 2 tsp baking powder

The topping:
- 6 dl lingonberries (or 4 dl unsweetened lingonberry cram)
- 400 g oat or soy yogurt
- 0.5 dl sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar

Combine all the crust ingredients with your hand. Spread on a baking sheet. Spread the lingonberries on the crust. Mix the vanilla sugar and sugar into the yogurt, then spoon on the lingonberries. (It might even be prettier if you spoon it a bit unevenly.)

Bake in 200°C for 45 minutes or until the topping starts to get some colour.

Nutritional values / 1631 g:
energy 4732 kcal
fat 165 g
protein 77 g
carbohydrates 536 g
fiber 39 g


Tosca Pie ‒ Toscapiirakka

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #13: Traditionally, food is respected with silence in Finland. Eating dinner with a Finnish family can still feel a bit awkward for someone coming from a culture of constant small talk. In coffee table however, the atmosphere is more carefree and this is actually a good place to catch up with the latest rumours. In modern business meetings people may even wait until they've all got coffee before starting the actual negotiation part.

I've always found the name tosca weird. Does it refer to Tuscany, though I haven't found any Italian recipe resembling this and it seems more like a cousin of the French classic pie tarte tatin? Or straight to the opera Tosca and its name character Floria Tosca? The recipe could very well be from 1905, the year Tosca was first performed in Finnish National Opera. But there's more to the riddle: tosca seems to be a general name for this sort of caramel topping, and oatmeal is even a more common ingredient than almond flakes. Tosca apples for example are another classic. So the crust here seems like a mere vehicle for the opera treat.

Tosca pie is often prepared with some apples or rhubarb in the crust mix. Since I'm trying to present you gouys classic versions here, I opted to enjoy rhubarb on the side. For a bit more kick though I used aromatic farin sugar in the topping instead of the regular kind. Another addition you can try is adding 2 teaspoons of cardamom to the crust part. This is another one of those whole baking sheet sized pies. If you only want a regular one, half all the ingredient amounts.

The crust:
- 5 dl wheat flour
- 3 dl sugar
- 2 dl whippable soy or oat cream
- 150 g margarine
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar

The topping:
- 200 g almond flakes
- 2 dl farin sugar (or regular)
- 100 g margarine
- 0.5 dl oat or soy milk (or more cream)
- 2 tbsp wheat flour

Beat the crust sugar and the margarine until foamy. Add the cream and continue whipping. Combine the dry ingredients before adding to the mix too. Spread on a baking sheet. Pre-bake for 12 minutes in 200°C.

While the crust is in the oven prepare the topping. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook for about ten minutes or until the blend starts to look thick and brownish. Spread on the crust and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes.

Enjoy with coffee and some sour fruits!

Nutritional values / 1450 g:
energy 6107 kcal
fat 332 g
protein 97 g
carbohydrates 680 g
fiber 28 g


Spice Cake ‒ Maustekakku

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #12: Coffee came to Europe through Arabs. Although the biggest producers in the modern world are Brazil and Vietnam, in Finland the association to Arabs is still live and well. Camel caravans are pictured in coffee packets, the most famous cup factory is called Arabia and coffee spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger is labeled Arabian coffee.

The last one of the four dry cakes I'm posting has several names: spice cake, buttermilk cake, raisin cake or Arabian coffee cake. In the latter case it usually also has an icing featuring margarine, coffee, icing sugar and cinnamon. The spice blend here is very medieval, and foods like that are typically eaten only during December nowadays (as in gingerbread), but somehow this classic has managed to last all year round.

The biggest differences between recipe versions come from that spice blend. The spices themselves stay pretty much the same, but some like to add more cinnamon, some more cardamom and some more clove. I'm used to a bit stronger flavours than most Finns I guess, so my version has a double portion of them all.  There are also strong opinions on whether it should include raisins or not. Decide for yourself!

- 4.5 dl wheat flour
- 3 dl oat or soy yogurt
- 100 g margarine
- 1 dl sugar
- 1 dl raisins (optional)
- 2 tsp ground clove
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp baking soda

Combine dry ingredients, including raisins if you're using them. Melt the margarine. Mix in the melted margarine and yogurt as well. Pour into a ring-shaped cake mold, which you've greased and breadcrumbed. Bake for about an hour in 175°C.

Nutritional values / 840 g:
energy 2903 kcal
fat 85 g
protein 55 g
carbohydrates 328 g
fiber 19 g


Tiger Cake ‒ Tiikerikakku

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #11: Nowadays stores compete over who sells the cheapest coffee, sometimes even under their own purchase price to get us coffee addicts do all of their shopping in the same place. But in the 80's a packet of coffee was still expensive enough to be a popular present item when going for a visit, and that's still more common than bringing say, a wine bottle.

"I'm taking part in this food blogging challenge this month. And so it wouldn't be too easy I took a theme of Finnish coffee table pastries."
"Finnish pastries? What, like tiger cake?"
"Why yes, I some one on the table actually! Care some?"

The conversation above took place on Sunday evening. Before that I asked another friend if he would happen to have a ring mold he could lend me and he asked: "Oh you mean a tiger cake mold?". I think these stories describes beautifully how plain and ordinary this cake is thought to be among younger Finns. Yet there is usually a good reason why some foods become so iconic in the first place that they practically start to bore us.

Though the recipe is as simple as it can get, this time I almost failed the whole thing. I took some model from another recipe, took it out of the oven way too early, tried to turn it onto a plate and got some hot, still runny batter on my hands. Ouch. Miraculously, most of the cake came out just fine after some more time spent in the oven. So in the following recipe I've given you the total baking time I used, which is in line with the three other dry cakes I'm posting this MoFo.

- 4.5 dl wheat flour
- 200 g margarine
- 3 dl sugar
- 1 dl oat or soy milk
- 1 dl apple or orange juice
- 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder

Melt the margarine. Mix the dry ingredients except for the cocoa powder. Add the liquids into the dry ingredients. Divide the batter in two portions, the other one being slightly bigger. Mix the cocoa with the slightly smaller half

Grease a ring mold and apply breadcrumbs too if you wish. Pour some white batter in the, cocoa batter carefully on it and so on. Try to make the white layer the last. Quite often you see version with just one large cocoa stripe, so that's totally acceptable too. Bake in 175°C for about an hour.

Nutritional values / 970 g:
energy 3468 kcal
fat 152 g
protein 45 g
carbohydrates 476 g
fiber 15 g


Maria Lönnrot's Cake ‒ Maria Lönnrotin kakku

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #10: During the Swedish govern (and again during the second world war) coffee was on prohibition several times. It was an expensive import product,  which was totally unacceptable in the mercantilist ideology of the time, plus it was thought to have negative effects on public health. The smell of forbidden fruit of course only made coffee even more desired and also a profitable target for smugglers. Since Finns aren't easily convinced so they later repeated the prohibition experiment with alcohol and nowadays cannabis, with similar effects.

In the 20th century there were (and still are) a lot of rivaling lemon cake recipes. This one is from Maria Piponius aka. Maria Lönnrot, the wife of Elias lönnrot best known for compiling our national epic Kalevala. The recipe doesn't call for any special veganizing, just adding the word soy in front of cream. Since lemons weren't always readily available, it gives the option of using cardamom instead, but because I'm weird I like adding them both simultaneously. Here is by the way a video of grandma Leena baking this very cake, plus on the same site many other grandams from Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Italia and Turkey baking their traditional recipes. Yay for grandmas!

Notice the cups here don't mean cups of the English speaking world but Finnish coffee cups of the time. Somewhere between 1,25-1,5 dl is usually a close enough estimation, as long as you stay coherent. As for the soda, I suspect the cream of the time was the sour part of the recipe and vegetable-based cream necessarily isn't, so just to be on the safe side I add some lemon juice as well. The recipe contains well enough sugar to cover that.

- 3 coffee cups whippable soy cream
- 2 coffee cups sugar
- 4 coffee cups wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 grated lemon rind or 1 tsp cardamom (plus half the lemon juice)

Whisk the cream and the sugar until foamy. Add the rest of the ingredients. Pour into a greased cake mold. (You can sugar the mold after greasing if you wish, but don't use breadcrumbs.) Bake in 175°C for an hour or so. Turn out onto a plate when hot.

Enjoy the aromatic creaminess with coffee and good company.

Nutritional values / 1145 g:
energy 3512 kcal
fat 99 g
protein 54 g
carbohydrates 593 g
fiber 17 g 


Devil's Cake ‒ Paholaisenkakku

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #9: Usually, there are two rounds of coffee. The second serving is characterized with the same modesty than going to the table (see fact #2). The guest may try to deter when the hostess comes to pour the second cup. The hostess then persuades the guest who perhaps tries to further present reasons not to until he or she agrees to have a half cup. The hostess then pours a full cup. In case your tummy really can't take the second, it's better you choose to have tea to begin with.

Couple of last day's posting have contained cocoa, so it's time to give you the ultimate in that regard. Devil's is sometimes also referred to as cake of a broken heart. Perhaps the name comos from the blackness, or the fact how chocolate has often been redeemed hedonist and sinful.

This is a classic among a cake type called dry cakes, coffee cakes or one-hand cakes because they're so fast and easy you can make them with your left hand only. They were among the earliest thing to be served with coffee, starting from mansions of 17th century. When the coffee drinkin habit became more frequent, the cakes were left out for special occasions.

Most Finns think these are tooo common, which means they aren't on the peak of their popularity at the moment. Now that I tried making a few I was surprised on how easy it was to achieve a great structure. Somehow none of my bakings have been dry like I remembered, on the contrary. They are called dry cakes since they don't usually require any topping, though melted chocolate does fit this one perfectly.

Eggs are a common ingredient, though it's usually pretty safe to just leave them out. They may become more crumbly but since they're crumbly anyways, the difference isn't huge. Here I replaced 2 eggs and 1 dl wheat flour with 1 dl potato starch and 0.5 dl worth of extra milk.

- 200 g margarine
- 4 dl wheat flour
- 3 dl sugar
- 2.5 dl soy milk
- 1.5 dl dark cocoa powder (no, this isn't meant to read tablespoon)
- 1 dl potato starch
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt

Mix everything even. Pour into a buttered ring mold. Bake in 175°C for about an hour.

Nutritional values / 1110 g:
energy 3774 kcal
fat 164 g
protein 56 g
carbohydrates 508 g
fiber 29 g 


Coconut Balls ‒ Kookospallot

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #8: Routinely offering coffee to guests started to increase popularity in the 19th century, thanks to very influential temperance movement. At the time, coffee was still an expensive import product. Before that guests were shown hospitality with a spirits toast, which on the contrary was cheap since every house distilled their own moonshine. Nowadays this price ratio has turned upside down, but islanders of the west coast (who typically speak Swedish) have kept the toast version all along.
I'm sorry all raw eaters, low-carbs and coeliacs, but this might be the only recipe I have for you this month. Finnish coffeee table is generally almost hostile towards you. (One might say something similar about vegans too, but they might find at least a biscuit they can nibble.) These cute little balls actually originated in Sweden too. As with mocha squares, there's something really 80's in them. Nowadays they're popular among kids learning to bake and of course, hippies.

Here are two versions. The first one is the more 80's version, the alternative more raw friendly. In case you want to minimize the total amount of carbs and not just watch they come from healthy sources, forget the dates altogether or replace with a sweetener of your choice, for example stevia powder.

- 2 dl coconut flakes
- 2 dl rolled oats (or more coconut flakes)
- 75 g margarine (or coconut oil)
- 0.5 dl sugar (or dried and soaked dates)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp cold coffee (or soaking water from the dates)
- vanilla powder
- additional coconut flakes for decoration

If you're using dates, first soak and puré them. Otherwise you can just rub everything together with your hands. Take little pieces of the mixture and roll them into ball between your hands. Roll in coconut flakes and place on the serving plate.

Nutritional values / 308 g:
energy 1415 kcal
fat 105 g
protein 19 g
carbohydrates 93 g
fiber 23 g


Mocha Squares ‒ Mokkapalat

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #7: There is usually milk and sugar available at the coffee table, or on special days cream instead of milk in a smaller jug. People have different but usually relatively permanent habits of whether they want to use these additions or not, and how much, so you don't need to explain yourself. Teenagers often start the habit with as much milk as coffee and several cubes of sugar, whereas drinking the black stuff straight as it is, is thought more like the territory of masculine men.
At the moment one of the most popular forms of cakes are the kinds you can quickly whip together, spread on a whole baking sheet and cut into convenient hand fitting pieces. Mocha squares aka. suklaapelti, chocolate sheet, are one of the hallmarks of this genre and resemble chocolate brownies quite a lot. The peak of their popularity was at the 80's but to this day they are going strong, although with an added retro feel.

People tend to have their own special recipes on how to make the squares. The one my mum used for example, was called Pate's cake, though I never found out who was this mysterious Pate, only that volunteering to make the icing part was my ticket to tasting that black grown-up drink with a lot of sugar and fat. The recipe I've used was originally from Jere Nieminen's book Vegaanin kotiruokakirja, but I've changed it here and there over time, especially the icing part.

The cake:
- 150 g margarine
- 3 dl sugar
- 5 dl wheat flour
- 2.5 dl oat or soy milk
- 4 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
- 1.5 tbsp apple wine vinegar
- 2 tsp baking soda

The icing:
- 50 g margarine
- 500 g icing sugar
- 4 tbsp strong coffee
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- colourful sprinkles straigth from the 80's

Whisk the cake margarine and the sugar until foamy. Add the vinegar and the milk to the bowl. Mix the dry ingredients and add them as well. Mix even. Spread on a baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes in 200°C.

In the meanwhile, prepare the icing. Whisk the ingredients together, starting from the margarine and the coffee. Don't put everything in at once. Add more coffee if the result seems too sturdy and more icing sugar if too runny. Spread on the cake after it has cooled down a bit. Decorate liberally with sprinkles.

The cake is ready to be cut into squares and eaten after the icing has settled down. A cool place helps with this.

Nutritional values / 1617 g:
energy 5688 kcal
fat 160 g
protein 59 g
carbohydrates 994 g
fiber 25 g


Spoon Biscuits ‒ Lusikkaleivät

http://www.veganmofo.com/Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #6: Much like Italian habit of eating spaghetti with a for and a spoon, his is a habit largely disappeared, but you can still see some older people doing it. They pour their coffee from the cup to the saucer to cool it down. Then they press a sugar cube tightly between their lips and trough it sip the coffee from the saucer.

In my childhood, these biscuits shaped like spoons were a standard standing coffee table piece on every confirmation and  50th birthday party. So I kind of associate them with silverware, linen tablecloth and candles, but there's really no reason why they couldn't be a part of a regular coffee table too. Still, I'd reserve them for special occasions such as Independence Day or name days.

One thing I've wondered is why so many Finnish cakes and biscuits use baking soda though I don't see anything especially sour on the ingredient list. I kind of assumed it's more for the taste, but several sources claim baking soda used in a wrong place makes everything thing taste bitter. Apparently in biscuits it's purpose is to give a light brown colour without raising too much the structure meant to be crunchy. (The following should make about 40 biscuits.)

- 200 g margarine
- 1.5 dl sugar (plus some to decorate)
- 2 tsp vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 dl wheat flour
- 1 dl raspberry marmalade

Heat up the margarine in a sauce kettle. Don't lift it off as soon as it has melted but stir occasionally and continue to cook for about five minutes. When the margarine has toasted just a little, move it into a bowl, add sugar and stir even. Let the mixture cool down.

Mix the dry ingredients together and add them as well. Find an oval and deep shaped teaspoon. Press the dough into the spoon evenly. Draw it carefully out of the mold and onto a baking sheet with the flat side down. Repeat as many times as you have dough left.

Bake 12‒15 minutes in a 175°C oven. Let them cool down. Spread marmalade on the flat side and press another individual against it. Quite often these are also rolled in sugar before serving.

Nutritional values / 1 biscuits / 18 g:
energy 73 kcal
fat 4 g
protein 1 g
carbohydrates 9 g
fiber 0 g


Bébé Cakes ‒ Hiekkahentuset

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #5: Finland is the only country in the world that has made coffee breaks mandatory at workplaces. Though actually drinking coffee isn't mandatory, most workplaces offer free coffee to workers and you can have as much as you like.

When I ate pink bébés as a kid there was some retro feel about them. But they're surprisingly old cakes. And as with most old recipes, newer versions are full of non-vegan ingredients, but if you go far enough, you'll find recipes that don't need any special veganizing. Such is with this one, found from a 100 year old personal recipe collection.

Hiekkahentunen is the crust part of this recipe, reminding of small sand cakes. You can use them alone and fill with anything you like from fresh berries to many kinds of foams. Together with the filling and icing they become French babies which Svensson bakery in Vaasa prepared in the early 20th century. To me, they're most of all an exercise of how different forms you can get from sugar and fat. From this amount, I got 18 cakes.

- 212 g margarine
- 160 g sugar
- 400 g wheat flour

- 75 g margarine
- 150 g sugar
- 1 dl whippable vegetable cream
- vanilla powder

- 2 tbsp water
- 0.5 tbsp white vinegar
- 3‒4 dl icing sugar
- sprinkles

Froth the crust margarine. Beat in the sugar and the flour. Press them carefully into small cake molds. Try to achieve thin but smooth layers. It may be helpful to flour your fingers once in a while. Bake in a 175°C oven for about 15 minutes or just enough to get some colour. Let the crusts cold down a bit before digging them out from their molds.

Melt the filling margarine and froth together with the sugar. Spice with vanilla. Whip the cream and mix in with the rest. Scoop the filling into the hiekkahentunens. See they're cool before adding the icing.

Prepare the icing simply by mixing all the ingredients. Rub even and shiny. Quickly spread on the cakes with a knife before it hardens too much. Quite often bébés are also decorated with sprinkles.

Keep the cakes in cold until serving.

Nutritional values / 1 bébé / 75 g:
energy 308 kcal
fat 13 g
protein 3 g
carbohydrates 45 g
fiber 1 g 


Boston Cake ‒ Bostoninkakku

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #4:Coffee parties are predominantly a female territory. In the 18th and 19th centuries they were a very important form of social gathering among upper class women. Later on, meetings of women's organizations centered around them. These parties joined women from all social classes and organizing one became a showcase (plus a competition) for many women. Important project regarding schooling, worker's movement and prohibition law were plotted in these parties, so they were by no means mere knitting occasions.

This is the last MoFo recipe using the pulla dough, or at least the last one I've planned. Though the name refers to Boston, this is quite a traditional Finnish cake. There are lots of place names referring to far away places and they all seem to originate from the same time period, when common folk started hearing news from those places. I bet someone remembered there was some talk about the Boston tea party and thought that sounds like a delightful and a bit upper-class tag for a cake.

Boston cake is basically a heap of ear buns. The most common version even has the same cinnamon filling, but different jam versions are also common. I however decided to use vanilla paste which you normally see in another similarly named pulla type, Dallas pulla, plus some nuts. Dallas pulla usually looks a lot like quark pulla and is a fairly new type, probably named after the TV show popular at the 80's. The vanilla paste recipe is from Saara Törmä's cook book Saa vaivata.

- half a portion of pulla dough
- 1.5 dl oat milk
- 0.5 dl sugar
- 0.25 dl corn starch
- 25 g margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 1.5 dl crushed nuts
- coarse sugar to decorate

Prepare the dough as normally. While it rises, prepare the vanilla paste. Mix the sugar and the corn starch in a sauce pot. Add the milk and start heating up, careful to stir all the time. Keep stirring until the liquid thickens. Keep on the heat for couple of more minutes. Add the margarine in small pieces. Refrigerate.

After the dough has risen, knead for a while to get any extra air out. Roll the dough into a square of about 30x60 centimetres. Spread the vanilla paste on the square and sprinkle with most of the nut crush. Roll the square as if you were making a Swiss roll. Cut it into chunks. Lay the chunks into a small, round and buttered cake tin (the kind with a loose base is handy with this). Sprinkle with more nuts and coarse sugar. Cover with a towel and let the cake rise for at least half an hour.

Bake in a 200°C oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve at a sophisticated coffee party with a Boston-like aura.

Nutritional values / 2144 g:
energy 6255 kcal
fat 200 g
protein 169 g
carbohydrates 941 g
fiber 57 g 



Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #3: Though Finns mostly drink their daily average of 6-7 cups of coffee from mugs, nearly every family owns a fancier set of coffee dishes which are used when guests arrive. They usually feature cups much smaller, only about 1,25 dl worth of coffee.
I think themes really help readers if you're going to blog for a whole month. Today I thought I'd include a list of some of the many interesting themes of this year's MoFo but it turned out they were quite hard to find since the official theme preview didn't include links and googling doesn't seem to help with all of them.I'd love to find for example the blogs posting about Japanese Inspired, Fermentation or the End of the World, but perhaps if I'll just keep on clicking through Randomofo.com. Here's anyway a list of 15 (because ten was too hard to choose) themes I'll be watching (in no order whatsoever):

This year there doesn't seem to be any overarching theme like taco cleanse, but several people are writing about box lunches. Great since mine tend to be dead boring and I could really use some fresh ideas.

As for my recipe today, the popularity of this pulla version is best described by the amount of names it has: leeta,nisuleeta, leikkopulla, leettapulla, pullaleetta, pullaeltta, eltta, pullalonka, lonka, lenti, lentipulla, pullalentti, vehnäskukko, vehnänen, lettivehnänen, vehnäsletti, pullaletti, letti, letike, lettipitko, pitko, kranssi, huikari, käntty, nisuänkkä, nisu, nisuankastokka, ankkastokka, ankkastukki, pullanvuolu, runtipulla, mummo, tillukka. Some of them are plain odd to me as well, most describe the braid-like shape and the most familiar one for me, ankkastukki, is practically unknown in most of the country. The word assumably comes from the coast area's Swedish-speakers word ankorstocka, which means a part in a wooden anchor.

- half a portion of pulla dough
- 1 dl raisins
- coarse sugar for decoration

Start the dough as normally. After it's risen enough, knead any extra air out. Add the raisins into the dough and knead more to spread them evenly.

Now comes the fun part. Roll the dough into long bars you can braid together like hair. The most simple variant has three bars, but there can be four or five, depending on what you like or feel comfortable trying. The one in the photo has four of them, though as you probably see, I'm not that good at braiding. Basically, you first roll two bars together and then join two double bars. Here are instruction pictures with four bars, here with five.

Finish the ends by taking a small piece off with your amazing karate hand. Leave it under a towel for at least half an hour. Then butter with well sugared coffee and decorate with coarse sugar. Bake about 20-25 minutes in a 200°C oven. Bring the whole pitko to the table but cut a few slices ready for the guests.

Nutritional values / 1920 g:
energy 5625 kcal
fat 139 g
protein 155 g
carbohydrates 931 g
fiber 44 g 


Ear Buns ‒ Korvapuustit

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #2:Though coffee table is the main event of any regular family visit and everyone knows it, you shouldn't seem too eager about it. When the hostess first asks guests to come to the table, no one seems to hear. After the second invitation they already start to look at each other, wondering who's the bold one to go first. If no one else is willing to appear as if they came only for the food, the oldest lady (or some other guest of honour) might get offered a chair because it's more comfortable than standing
The second day of MoFo and I still haven't really checked the other blogs. Think tomorrow I'll write you (and myself) a small list of interisting themes I'm especially looking forward to read.

Korvapuusti is easily one of the biggest classics to have with coffee and I must admit there is a reason to it. Its closest cousin is cinnamon roll which I've heard being called both American and Danish invention. If anyone has any further knowledge, do let me know! Korvapuusti's name literally means ear bun because of the cute "ears" it has. The word has also come to mean a slap on a person's ear, probably because someone thought it sounded humorous. There are different versions with different fillings, but this one's the classic. It makes about 16 big ones or 32 small ones.

- 1 portion of pulla dough
- 100 g margarine
- 1 dl farine sugar (stickier and more aromatic than regular)
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
(almond flour, cardamom)

Prepare the dough as normally. When it's ready to be shaped, take half of it and let the other half rest. Roll it into a large rectangle with one long shape and the other somewhat shorter, perhaps 60x30 centimeters or so.

Melt the margarine and use half of it to butter the rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and farine sugar (and if you wish, almond flour and cardamom too). Then roll the rectangle as if you were making a swiss roll and leave the seam under the roll. Cut it into pieces but make the cuts diagonally like this / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ so all the pieces have one long side and one pointy side so they're almost triangles. Flip the pointy side up. Press your finger or a spoon gently but firmly in the middle of the roll so the middle part goes to the table and it's ears flop out. (Here's a helpful diagram). Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Place the big-eared fellows on a baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let them rise for about half an hour. Butter with well sugared coffee and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you wish. Bake in a 225°C oven for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy hot with coffee.

Nutritional values / 1 pulla / 126 g:
energy 390 kcal
fat 13 g
protein 10 g
carbohydrates 58 g
fiber 2 g


Quark Pulla ‒ Rahkapulla

Random facts about Finnish coffee culture #1: Finns consume the largest amount of coffee per capita, 12 kg a year while the world's average is only 1,3 kg. Other Nordic countries follow close behind.

Vegan Month of Food is upon us again! Renovating our apartment and watching after a soon year old child have kept me too busy to blog this summer, but luckily a post per day for a whole month should make up for it.

This year I decided to take a real challenge and post with the theme "Finnish coffee table". That means I'll be busy baking all sorts of sweet things, or at least fail miserably, since confectionery definitely isn't my strongest kitchen area. I only have a vague list of what I might be posting so far, but at least I'm going to start with some recipes taking advantage of the basic pulla dough. Unlike last year, they are going to be mostly from the classic end of the spectrum and not so much my own or otherwise highly modern ideas. And since few foods are known in one country only, it's often quite hard to say what is truly a Finnish speciality, but I'll draw the line to those which are clearly associated with some other country even though they might be common in Finland as well, for example pavlova (Russia, though it's actually invented in New Zealand) or princess cake (Sweden). Also, I'll leave sweetnesses associated with certain holidays to their respective seasons.

My purpose was to first say a word or two about the coffee table culture in general but then I decided it's more fun to tell about it little by little as random facts included in every post. Right now all you need to know is that we're talking about a more humble weeknight occasion, in contrast to the standing coffee table you see at weddings and funerals. It's a culture already disappearing from cities but alive and well in more rural areas like South Ostrobothnia where I grew up. When people go to visit their friends or relatives in the evening, they dress up a bit tidier than they normally do but not too dressy. The hosting family (or usually, the hostess alone) serves them coffee and little snacks on the table while everyone discusses about the latest gossip. And of course, there is an extensive amount of small but expected rituals that no one even thinks as such until some poor foreigner comes along and starts acting funnily. So I hope this month worth of posts will also act as a guide in case one of you finds themselves in the middle of this weird but hospitable occasion.

I'm only going to post about the sweet stuff here, but in case you'd like to repeat something like this at your own home, remember that generally only one savory item is enough. It might be vatruskas, a pie or just your average open-faced sandwiches. Sandwich cake on the other hand might be a bit too fancy.

- 1 portion of pulla dough
- 5 dl soy yogurt (drained)
- 1 dl sugar
- 1 tl vanilla sugar
- 1 dl bilberries, black currants or raisins for decoration

First prepare the filling. Drain your yogurt in a coffee filter overnight to make it firmer. Then mix with the sugar and vanilla sugar. Refrigerate.

Start the baking process as normally. After you've rolled the dough into buns, take a drinking glass with an even bottom. Flour it and press firmly but gently on the ball. It should squeeze and leave a nest in the middle, but the bottom shouldn't have holes in it. Repeat with all the pullas.

Fill the nests with couple of spoonfuls of the filling. Crown by placing some berries or raisins into the filling part. Bake 10-15 minutes in a 200°C oven, until the quark has curdled. You don't necessaily need to butter them as it's ok if they look a bit fair skinned compared to regular pullas.

Nutritional values / 1 pulla / 208 g:
energy 597 kcal
fat 14 g
protein 16 g
carbohydrates 96 g
fiber 4 g 
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