Baking Finnish ‘Korvapuustit’ (smacked ears) pastries… or how to avoid working.
In 12 hours time I am doing a 20 minute presentation worth 50% of a 15 credit module. It is in dire straights, half the slides are done, its not amazingly structured, and I haven’t even begun to think about what I am going to say in it… But anyway! There are more important things on my mind, like baking pastries!
Korvapuusti and coffee are pretty much synonymous in Finland. The light sugary softness and gentle exotic spice flavors of the former perfectly compliment the rich darkness of a well made filter coffee. They are part of a group of Finnish desert breads known as ‘Pulla’, or ‘Nisu’ (translates as wheat) if you are a Finnish-American from the great lakes area.
I used to have Korvapuustit every couple of weeks at a Finnish Saturday school near my parents old house, and always seek them out every time I visit Finland. But in the U.K. the nearest substitute is Danish Pastries, and they just don’t hit the same spot at all! I got this recipe from the back of a pack of Finnish bread-flour, it took me ages to translate, which just made this venture an even better way to avoid doing coursework.
– Recipe –
Makes somewhere in the region of 15-25 pastries
500 mls Milk, 1 Egg, 200 mls Sugar, 1 heaped tablespoon ground Cardamom, 1 teaspoon Salt, 2 packs Dried Yeast, 1300 – 1500 mls Strong Bread Flour, 200 mls Margerine (room temperature)
75 mls Margarine, 100 mls Sugar,100 mls Cinnamon
1 Egg, Nib Sugar or any other coarse grained Sugar
- Heat the milk till it ‘becomes warm to the hand’ (Kädenlämpöiseksi, great word), transfer to a bowl and add the eggs, sugar, cardamom and salt. Mix the yeast with a little bit of flour and then mix it into the bowl. Keep warm. Slowly add flour until the dough is kneedable, then thoroughly mix in the margarine, and then continue to kneed the dough till it is soft and elastic but not sticky.
- Let it rise, covered with a damp cloth, until it has doubled, then punch it down and kneed more. Take a rolling pin and roll it out on the table until you have a fairly thin 30cm x 60cm sheet. Mix the margarine and sugar kept for the filling and then rub them on top of the entire sheet, making sure to cover the whole surface with it. Sieve cinnamon evenly on top of this. Very tightly roll the sheet along the longer side and then pinch the seam to make an even tube. Then take a very sharp knife and make diagonal cuts across the tube, so one side of each pastry is 5 cm, and the other is 2 cm. (see the images below to help if you get confused)
- Place the pastries on a baking tray and then roll them so the narrow side is now the upper surface and the broad side is the lower surface. Take a thumb and press down the top of the pastry. Let rise for 30 minutes.
- Glaze with the egg, sprinkle with sugar and then cook at Gas mark 7 (220 C, 425 F) for 10-15 minutes.
Eat and enjoy with good coffee!