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Runeberg Roll

A Poet’s Delectable Treat: Runeberg Rolls

Serves 15

“This pastry with dry crumbs, almond bits and tangy raspberry reminds me of my childhood in Finland in early February, coldest time of the year, when the sunlight shines just a little bit brighter than the month before.”

– Chef Anna –

Ingredients

  • 2 LARGE EGGS
  • 1 D L/ 1/2 CUP SUGAR
  • 1DL / 1/2 CUP BROWN SUGAR
  • 1/8 TSP BITTER ALMOND FALVOR OR OIL (IF NOT FOUND ALMOND LIQUER CAN BE USED)
  • 100G / 3,5 OZ BUTTER
  • 1 DL/ ½ CUP ALMOND POWDER/FLOUR
  • ½ DL / 1/4 CUP POTATOE STARCH/ FARINA (IF NOT FOUND USE TAPIOCA STARCH)
  • ½ DL /1/4 CUP BREAD CRUMBS
  • 1 TSP BAKING POWDER
  • 1 TSP BAKING SODA
  • 1 TSP CARDAMOM
  • ½ TSP CINNAMON
  • ½ TSP GINGER
  • ½ TSP BITTER ORANGE PEEL

Filling

  • 300G / 0.7 LBS RASPBERRY JAM

Topping

  • 1 ½ DL / 0,6 CUPS POWDERED SUGAR
  • 2 TSP COLD WATER

Deco

  • 2 TBS RASPBERRIES

Directions

WHISK eggs and sugar together until mixture becomes fluffy foam. Add a dip of bitter almond flavor or a substitute. Add lukewarm melted butter.

BRING together all the dry ingredients and spices. Mix with egg-sugar foam very carefully.

PLACE a baking sheet on a baking pan and pour dough on baking sheet. Dough should be thin 0.5 cm (0.2 inches).

BAKE 200 C / 400 F 10-12 minutes. Flip baked roll sheet to another baking sheet which is covered with sugar. Take the top baking sheet carefully off but once off let it stay on loosely while roll sheet is cooling down. About 5 minutes.

SPREAD raspberry jam on the roll sheet and roll the sheet to a tight roll by using the baking sheet as a helper. Put to the fridge to settle for a few hours.

PREPARE topping by mixing cold water to powdered sugar. Tap with spoon on top of the roll or use baking tube/plastic bag (cut the corner open) to drain topping.

FINISH with fresh or dried raspberries.

A Message from Chef Anna

Whenever I’m talking about Finland to Americans, the conversation goes to our famously dark winters. How do we survive? We pay a lot of attention to winter sports, the glow of candles and how seasonal pastries offer us psychological warmth. Our winter holidays each include a sweet, culturally distinctive pastry.

The Runberg pastry with dry crumbs, almond bits and tangy raspberry reminds me of my childhood in Finland in early February–coldest time of the year—when the sunlight shines just a little bit brighter than the month before.

A tasty bit of history and art…

On February 5th, the birthday of our national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877), Finnish people serve these crumb cakes or rolls topped or filled with raspberry jam.

Runeberg’s pastry was born as an exercise of frugality. Money was often tight in the Runeberg’s household, and faced with the added challenge of J.L’s picky eating habits, his wife Fredrika took creative license with her recipes. As the poet demanded, she flavored his daily breakfast cakes with punch and topped them with homegrown fruit, but incorporated crumbs from leftover bread and cakes into the dough itself.

In this recipe, I created a new way of preparing this pastry and made it into a roll! Today we can be creative and flexible with the recipe. We can use alcohol or different kinds of crumbs or leave them out. It invites a casual baker to experiment.

Make sure you watch for my next sweet holiday treat and it’s also in February! It’s called “laskiaispulla”, a sweet bun filled with almond paste or raspberry jam and whipped cream. it’s served around Shrovetide*

– Chef Anna –

*Season immediately preceeding lent in Christian cultures.

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