Bologna to Bolognese: Adventures With Food

Food is necessary. Food is fun. Food is an adventure!

My name is Shannon and this is my adventure, my love affair with food.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mana From Heaven...Laskiaispullat

Also called Shrovetide Buns, Laskiaispullat are my absolute favorite pastry.  They are a popular treat made across Scandanavia during the season of Lent. In Sweeden they are Selmor, in Norway, Fastelaven and in Estonia, Vastlakuklid. Whatever you call them they are heavenly. 

I remember the first time I had them in a little cafe in the Finnish town of Kauhajoki. I was there as an exchange student and my friend, a fellow exchange student, suggested stopping for coffee one afternoon. I bought one of these buns, choosing it because I knew I loved Pulla and it looked so inviting with the piped whipped cream. Well there has been no happier accident I am sure. When I bit into the decadent almond paste I was sure I'd died and gone to heaven. I fell in love that day and I think you will to! 

Now many years later this is my fist attempt at these beauties and while, in my opinion, Pysäkki Ky still has the best Laskiaispullat, these are pretty darn close!

(Makes 10 buns)

Pulla Dough:

1 cup Milk
1 Tbsp (25 g) Fresh Yeast
100 g (about 7 Tbsp) Butter
1 Egg
1 tsp Cardamom
1/2 cup sugar
3cups All-purpose flour
Pinch of salt 


Almond paste
Whipped cream

1 egg (an egg wash)
Sliced Almonds and sugar (preferably large sugar crystals)
Powdered sugar (for dusting) 


Warm the milk slightly and combine with the yeast and some of the sugar. Stir in the egg, sugar, cardamom and salt. Start adding flour and melted butter a little at a time, alternating wet and dry ingredients. When the dough thickens, knead by hand until it's smooth, glossy and springy and comes off the bowl easily.

Allow to rise in a warm place for around 40 mins.

Once risen, tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly. Form a long rope shape and cut into 10 pieces. Make little buns and place on baking paper on an oven tray. Let rise for another 30 mins under a tea towel in a warm place.

Break the egg in a small bowl and brush over the buns. Top with flaked almond or sugar drops. Bake in 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes. 

Allow to cool completely before filling .

Once ready and cooled, cut a small circle off the top, like a little cap. 

Scoop out the insides and fill with almond paste and whipped cream and put the top back on. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with your favorite coffee or hot beverage.

So, just in case you are a severe traditionalist or, like myself, were unable to find almond paste in your local grocery, I have a recipe that is simple and delicious if a little time consuming. I won't lie I did not enjoy peeling almonds...yup peeling almonds. However the end result is without a doubt top notch.
Almond Paste


 9 oz Almonds
1 egg white
8 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vanilla (or almond extract if you have it)


In a medium saucepan bring some water to a boil then remove from heat and pour in the almonds. Allow them to sit for two minutes then drain and one at a time remove the almond skins. Toast peeled almonds until aromatic, (about 8 minutes) then blitz in a food processor until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar, egg, vanilla, and orange juice gradually allowing the food processor to fully combine into a thick paste. It will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Remove and seal in an air tight contained until use. Store in the refrigerator. (This can also be used in various other cakes, cookies and as a filling for danish.)

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