Shrovetide buns remind me of Finns. Something modest, honest and definitely not too fancy. This simple Scandinavian wheat bun filled with strawberry jam or almond paste and whipped cream is one of the most delicious pastries I have ever tasted.
Lent is celebrated 40 days before Easter.The original purpose of Shrove Tuesday was to celebrate
the last day one could eat heavy food before entering into the fasting season of Lent.
The first shrovetide buns were baked in the 17th century in Sweden, and in Finland later on. Originally shrovetide buns were filled with almond paste and whipped cream. The modern Shrovetide bun tradition as we know it now started in Finland in the 1950s.
Shrovetide buns (about 20 buns)
50 g yeast
0,5 l milk
2 dl sugar
1,5 tsp salt
1 tblsp finely ground cardamom
14 dl wheat flour
150 g butter
2 dl heavy cream, whipped
1 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp vanilla sugar
Heat the milk into lukewarm, add yeast and mix well. Crack two eggs and add those to the mixture with sugar, cardamom, salt and part of the flour. Mix well and then add rest of the flour. All incorporated, add softened butter. The dough should be soft, not too sticky. Place the kneaded dough in a bowl covered with cloth. Leave to proof in a warm place until double in size. Divide dough into 20 equal pieces and roll those into similar sized balls. Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Let the buns rise again on a baking tray covered with bakery paper. Brush the tops and sides of the buns with egg wash. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes (until golden brown). Let buns cool before cutting in half. Fill the buns with whipped cream and strawberry jam (or almond paste, I prefer the jam version).
If you do not have time for baking, I recommend that you enjoy this delicacy for example at my favourite cafeterias in Helsinki: Karl Fazer Café or Cafe Esplanad. Cafe Esplanad serves great traditional sweet buns all year around, not just during Shrovetide.
Karl Fazer Café, Kluuvikatu 3, http://www.fazer.fi/kahvilat-ja-leipomot/fazer-cafe/karl-fazer-cafe/karl-fazer-cafe/
Café Esplanad, Pohjois-Esplanadi 37, http://www.esplanad.fi/
Another great seasonal treat right now is the Runeberg torte. It is a Finnish round shaped moist pastry flvoured with rum. On top of the pastry, there is rasperry jam inside a sugar ring. Absolutely delicious! The torte is named after the Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg. Runeberg’s Day is celebrated on the 5th of February. Which one is your favourite: the Shrovetide bun or Runeberg torte?
Written by Heidi Kjellman.