Laskiainen / Fasching / Shrove Tuesday is here! That can only mean one thing: Laskiaispulla, a novelty Finnish pulla delicacy. What is a “pulla”, you may ask? Why, pulla is a Finnish culinary staple: a baked bun.
For Shrove Tuesday (or Fasching, if you’re German), we make a special variety where the bun is cut in half, filled with raspberry jam or almond paste and decorated with whipped cream. It’s a top notch pulla, I tell you.
Finnish Laskiainen is not as wild as in other countries (like Mardi Gras or Karneval), but we Finns celebrate it in our own way. It’s customary to go sliding with the whole family and friends – and eat these buns, of course.
As there’s no snow in Germany, let’s focus on the buns 🙂
The recipe has three parts: making the buns, making the almond paste and then putting the buns together.
As a general note: making pulla from scratch is a relatively time consuming task – I often have some unrisen pulla-dough in my freezer so I can whip up a pulla or two in no time at all. It’s also why the recipe has no pictures. So…
Attention, reader!!! Would you be interested in a complete & unabashed A-Z Finnish pulla dough tutorial?
If so, please let me know in the comments! This post only features the recipe, but I would be more than happy make a full tutorial, recording every step to guarantee you have the greatest pulla experience.
Recipe for the Finnish pulla
Makes approximately 8-12 pullas, depending on the size you want. Just double the amounts if you want to make a larger batch. You can do this by hand or with a stand mixer – I always use my KitchenAid.
- 2,5dl milk
- 25g fresh yeast
- 1 egg (half for the dough, half for the egg wash)
- 1dl sugar
- 2tsp of fresh cardemom
- 1tsp salt
- approx 500g / 7-8dl flour – it depends on multiple factors, how much flour you need in the end
- 75g butter
- Take all ingredients in room temperature a few hours before you start baking – otherwise your dough might not rise well.
- Heat the milk so it’s just about lukewarm (not hot!) and mix in the yeast. Mix it well.
- Pour in a large bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) and combine with the egg, sugar and the spices. Mix well.
- Start adding the flour little by little, keep mixing – but gently. If you are using KitchenAid, use the low settings. If you are making pulla by hand, mix first with a wooden fork and when it becomes too hard, start using your bare hands.
- Save some of the flour (a couple of desilitres) for the end – you’ll only need to add them a bit later. There is no specific amounts of flour for a pulla dough – it depends on the room temperature, type of ingredients used, humidity and whatever other magic. The amounts indicated in the recipe are estimates – you’ll have to judge your dough and add flour accordingly.
- The dough should be coming significantly less sticky: a good indicator is how badly it still sticks to your fingers/your dough hook.It’s ok if if it sticks a little, but if it does a lot, keep adding flour and gently mixing it in.
- Once the dough is not super sticky anymore, it’s time to add the butter. It should be either soft enough so you can mix it straight in, or you can melt it. If you melt it, let it cool down before adding it so it won’t mess up the yeast. Mix in the butter: your dough should become easier to handle and even less sticky.
- Is your dough still a little too sticky and a little hard to handle? Add some more flour. As said, you are the judge of your dough. A perfectly mixed & kneaded pulla dough is smooth, elastic and does not stick to your fingers, dough hook or the sides of the bowl. It’s actually a pretty beautiful sight.
- IF YOU ARE USING A STAND MIXER: you can ruin your dough by over-mixing it. Once the flour is mixed it, stop the machine. You want the gluten to stay elastic.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place it somewhere warm. Let the dough rise – approximately until it doubles in size. This can take anywhere from 20-60mins, again depending on the mood of the pulla Gods, room temperature & humidity. You can speed it up by placing it in a water bath.
- Once the dough has risen enough, knead gently to work the airbubbles out of the dough.
- Form the dough into a roll and cut the roll into as many pieces as you want to make pullas. Form the pieces into small “balls” or buns. Those are your pullas. Place them on a sheet on a baking tray, not too close to each others.
- Heat the oven to 225 C.
- Cover the buns with a tea towel and let them rise for another 30mins.
- Brush the top of the buns with egg wash, sprinkle some sugar on top and pop them in the oven for approximately 10minutes – or when the buns have a beautiful golden colour and become slightly “lightweight”.
Now, let’s get to the actual Laskiaispulla. Let the pullas cool down so the whipped cream won’t melt. While the pullas are cooling down, make the almond paste.
- 100g almond powder / almond flour / ground almonds – even entire almonds are ok if you have a food processor
- 100g powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp bitter almond liquor or 1 Tbsp bitter almond essence & 1 Tbsp water
- If using anything else than smooth almond powder, run your almonds through the food processor until as smooth as possible.
- In a bowl – or a food processor – mix the almond powder with the powdered sugar
- Add the liquid – you only need very little – and mix and knead to a paste.
- Keep in the fridge: either in a container or form into a roll you can cut slices off.
Finally! Time to make pullas.
- Almond paste
- Raspberry jam
- Whipped cream
- Powdered sugar (optional)
- Cut the pulla in half, pointing the knife slightly diagonally.
- Cover some bun out, to make space for the filling.
- Choose a filling: almond paste or raspberry jam.
- Pipe or scoop some whipped cream on the sides and on the top.
- Put the “lid” on your pulla & sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, if you are so inclined.
Enjoy! Hyvää Laskiaista!