Hyvää uutta vuotta!
And with no pause for breath, let me show off this baking effort - it's my first ever attempt at Runeberg cakes ie. Runebergintortut :)
They'll be available everywhere in Finland at the moment (properly baked ones, that is!). They're traditionally baked to celebrate Runeberginpäivä, the 5th February. J.L. Runeberg is regarded as Finland's national poet - he wrote the original Swedish words for Finland's national anthem - and is an excellent excuse for these tasty treats. I've become quite an addict, since I've often been in Finland at this time, and I've sampled the gamut from posh ones at Stockmann in Helsinki, to vegan/organic ones at an 'alternative' cafe in Joensuu. Which were actually very nice, but then home baked is always best, isn't it?
So I thought, what about baking some myself? And why don't you have a go as well, if you never have? I found I already had several recipes in various books. They do vary, so here are three different sets of ingredients - with one offering a bit of a Finnish lesson for you.
200g margarine or butter, 2dl sugar, 2 eggs, 2dl wheat flour, 1tsp baking powder, 1tsp ground cardamom,
2dl sweet breadcrumbs (eg. crumbled biscuits), 2dl ground almonds (~80g), 1dl single cream, raspberry jam
To moisten: 2dl water, 1dl sugar, 2-3 tbsp arrack liquer or rum
Topping: raspberry jam or marmalade
Icing: 1dl icing sugar, 2tsp water or lemon juice
200g unsalted butter, 150g sugar, 2 eggs, 175g plain flour, 1tsp baking powder,
125g fresh breadcrumbs, 90g ground almonds, 150g raspberry jam
75ml/5tbsp almond liquer eg. Amaretto di Sarone
150g rasvaa, 1½dl sokeria, 2 munaa, 1½dl vehnäjauhoja, 1tl leivinjauhetta,
1½dl korppujauhetta (osa piparkakuista), 1dl (noin 50g) mantelirouhetta, ½dl kermaa tai omenamehua tai omenasosetta
Koristeluun vadelmahilloa tai -marmeladia, 1dl tomusokeria, noin ½rkl vettä
First, some preparation: there are all sorts of ways of producing 'sweet breadcrumbs', and I decided to use butter brioche rolls, so they went in the oven first on low heat and were then crumbled. I also had a go at grinding some cardamom seeds which was a total failure, so I didn't use them. But in future I'll get a tougher grinder because they would definitely enhance the flavour.
Then: cream the butter with the sugar. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Next, stir in the flour and baking powder; after that, the bread crumbs and ground almonds and lastly the cream.
The oven needs to be at 200C. Grease around the baking cups and put some mixture into each one. Poke holes in the tops and put a small amount of jam inside. Bake for about 15 minutes.
When they come out and are still hot, 'moisten' with the alcohol, or the water/sugar/alcohol as I did, as per A. I'm not sure about that now. But for me, Amaretto is the way to go, since it's almond liquer in the first place. Add more jam on top, though not as much as I did. Let them cool.
Lastly I did the icing (with lemon juice).
And how did they turn out? As you can see from the picture, my icing skills need some work. But they exited okay from those baking cups or whatever they're called. Their consistency seems good - 15 minutes does seem exactly right for them. As for flavour, they did indeed taste like Runeberg cakes. I probably used a little too much jam on some, and maybe not enough alcohol(!), and if I was to be very critical maybe they were a bit on the sweet side, but I'm sure some people would disagree. Anyway, now I can't wait to inflict them on other people. What about yourselves? How about some competitive Runeberg cake baking?