In fact, my attraction to this penninsula dates since my early teenage years (quite a while now, LOL). My passion for this part of Europe started when I discovered Norwegian Black Metal in 1993, began to correspond with penpals who shared the same love for this sound-style and send letters all over the planet. Then, most people didn't have computers and the only way of keeping in touch was either by snail-mail or telephone.
Scandinavia is a place which's fascinating and tumultuous Viking past, unique culture, scenic grandeur and epic landscapes particularly speak to me. For some reason or another, I am mesmerized by the "land of the midnight sun". It could very well be due to the fact that I have Nothern roots and share berserker blood with its inhabitants. As a matter of fact, on my mother's side, I have English ancestors (some might have been Danish as well as Russian if you dig deep in the past) and probably also Danish origins thanks to my Swiss father (my family name seems to originate from Danemark). Anyway, Scandinavia has a certain romantic and nostalgic "je-ne-sais-quoi" that captivates my interest and touches my soul deeply...
It was an incredibly exciting period of my life because this musical movement was at it's beginning, still very underground and unspoilt by the big labels who only think about money rather than art. The music I listened to was not sold in stores and most musicians used flyers (which were placed in our letters and endlessly passed around) in order to let people know of their existence. I was in contact with many bands, bought lots of demos as well as fanzines (the printed version of blogs - I also contributed to a few of them with articles and interviews) and traded loads of tapes. I really enjoyed the secretive atmosphere and the feeling of belonging to a "hidden" group of avant-garde and alternative people.
“For me, NBM and nature are very closely related. It is synonymous with the mystique and magic of Norway."
- Peter Beste, Photographer
As a rule, Heavy Metal music (black, death, pagan, viking, folk, thrash, etc...) is very popular in the North of Europe. In Norway the Black Metal subgenre (the "2nd wave of BM" saw the light of day there at the beginning of the 199o) is quite possibly one of the country's n°1 musical/cultural export since the last 20 years and the negative tabloid coverage regarding the unfortunate events of the 90's didn't stop people from buying records or the Norwegian television channel NRK and medias from supporting this kind of Extreme Metal (live reports from festivals are made, documentary are being shown, musicians are being invited on TV shows, articles are posted on Norways's official site in the UK and photographies are being exhibited). Sweden, Danemark and Iceland have brought some amazing music and have a big scene too with very popular bands, but it's Finland that has the biggest Metal scene. It is the only country on the globe where Metal is mainstream (there are 3 million metal fans in a population of 5 million)...
"Why Heavy Metal? Perhaps it's something in our hearts and we are very passionate people!"
- Madame President of Finland
Nowadays, I still listen to a lot of Black Metal and Metal in general, but my love for Nordic culture has expanded to embrace other artistic genres. Lately I have discovered a growing interest for Scandinavian cinema which offers a big number of well-produced and refreshing films (nothing like the big Hollywood productions) as well as talented actors (Kristoffer Joner - one of my favorite, Aksel Hennie, Stellan Skarsgård, Alexander Skarsgård, Samuli Edelmann, Peter Franzén, Bjørn Floberg, Fares Fares, Mads Mikkelsen, Kim Bodnia, Torkel Petersson, Michael Nyqvist, Björn Starrin, etc... ) and filmakers. In addition to that, I have become extremely enthusiastic about their food and culinary customs. Being a foodie with an open mind and in constant search for novelty it is all naturally that I am strongly drawn to Scandinavia's unique cuisine and savors.
Being an amateur baker and having heard many words of praise regarding Béatrice Ojakangas' "The Great Scandinavian Book Of Baking", her cookbook has been on my mind and I have been dreaming of possessing it since a while. Happily, after much aching for that masterpiece I finally bought it for my birthday last December. Even if it is not a new publication and although it is a softcover devoid of photos this book is a real jewel. There are dozens of fabulous Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Finnish recipes for delightfully hearty breads, divine yeasty coffeetime confections, rich and delicate cookies as well as cakes, scrummy pies and savory treats.
Until now, I have tested four specialities (Finnish "Rieska", "Pulla" and "Korvapuustit", and Norwegian "Butter Horns") and was really satisfied with the results. All were easy to bake, the measures were accurate and the methods were extremely straight-forward. Very encouraging. Now, I am looking forward to trying more of her awesome recipes.
Today, I have decided to present you a Finnish pastry named "Korvapuustit" (also called "Kanelli Pulla" when turned on their side and not sitting on their bottoms) and which consists of cardomomy sweet yeast dough filled with sugar and cinnamon. In Finland, you'll find them in every café or bakery. They are very popular with both Finns and foreigners alike.
Those rolls are similar to Sweden's "Kanelbullar" and to the American "Cinnamon Rolls", yet they differ a little from both. The differences lie within their ear-like shape (hence the name "Korvapuustit" meaning "little ear buns"), flavor (cardamom in the dough and a lot less sweet than their US counterpart), texture (less gooey than "Cinnamon Rolls") and size (relatively small compared to the oversized American rolls).
"Korvapuustit" are damn good and extremely irresistible. Once you've eaten one you can be sure that you'll come back for more and will not stop gobbling dem babies until you are literally exploding and feel stuffed like a pig!
My coffee rolls were dreamlike, fabulously soft, gorgeously moist, wonderfully buttery, divinely spicy and soothingly sweet. One bite into these luscious bundle of pleasure will bring a smile on your face. An blissfull feeling will descend upon you and ecstasy will submerge you. Are you ready to get experience that? There's no time to procrastinate, heaven is waiting for you so get busy baking!
~ Korvapuustit ~
Recipe adapted from "The Great Scandinavian Book Of Baking" by Beatrice Ojakangas.
Makes 10-12 rolls.
Ingredients For The "Dough":
1 Package (7g) Active dry yeast
1/2 Cup (120ml) Lukewarm water
1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, melted
1/4 Cup (50g) Castor sugar
1 Big egg, slightly beaten
1 Egg yolk
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
3/4 Tsp ground cardamom (optional)
2 1/4 -2 1/2 Cups (~ 300g) All-purpose flour
Ingredients For The "Filling":
1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, softened
1/4 Cup (50g) Castor sugar
1 Tbs Ground cinnamon
Ingredients For The "Glaze":
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs Milk
Method For the "Dough":
1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the butter, sugar, egg, yolk, salt, cardamom and 2 1/4-1/2 cups flour, then knead until dough is smooth.
3. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a rectangle of 30x60cm (12 inches by 24 inches).
Method For The "Filling":
5. Spread with the butter, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
6. Roll up, starting from one of the 60cm (24-inch) side.
7. Cut the roll diagonally into 12 pieces (each piece will be about 1.3cm/½ inch on one side and 7.6/3 inches thick on the other side).
8. With two thumbs or the handle of a big wooden spoon, press down the middle of the side of each roll (by doing that the two cut edges will be forced upward/the rolls will resemble two “ears”).
9. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
10. Place the cinnamon ears on prepared baking sheets. Cover them with a humid towel.
11. Let rise for about 40 minutes, until the rolls are puffy and have doubled in size.
12. Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F) after 20 minutes of rising.
Method For The "Glaze":
13. Once the rolls have risen, mix the egg and milk together.
14. Brush each roll with this mixture and sprinkle with the pearl sugar.
15. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
You can replace the castor sugar by light brown sugar.
This recipe can be easily doubled.
Eat those delicious rolls at any time of the day or night (!!!) and serve with a cup of good coffee or tea.
~ Korvapuustit ~
Recette adaptée de "The Great Scandinavian Book Of Baking" par Beatrice Ojakangas.
Pour 10-12 brioches.
Ingrédients Pour La "Pâte":
1 Sachet (7g) de Levure sèche
120ml d'Eau tiède
60g de Beurre non-salé, fondu
50g de Sucre cristallisé
1 Gros oeuf, légèrement battu
1 Jaune d'oeuf
1/2 CC de Sel de mer fin
3/4 de CC de Cardamome en poudre (en option)
300g de Farine blanche
Ingrédients Pour La "Garniture":
60g de Beurre non-salé, mou
50g de Sucre cristallisé
1 Tbs Ground cinnamon
Ingrédients Pour La "Dorure":
1 Oeuf, légèrement battu
1 CS de Lait
Méthode Pour La "Pâte":
1. Dans un grand bol, dissoudre la levure dans l'eau et laisser reposer pendant 5 minutes.
2. Ajouter le beurre, le sucre, l'oeuf, le jaune d'oeuf, le sel et la cardamome. Battre ensemble, puis ajouter la farine et pétrir jusqu'à obtention d'une pâte lisse et douce.
3. Couvrir et mettre au frigo pendant 2 à 24 heures.
4. Mettre la pâte sur une surface farinée et la rouler en un rectangle de 30x60cm.
Méthode Pour La "Garniture":
5. Etaler le beurre mou et saupoudrer avec le sucre ainsi qu'avec la cannelle.
6. Rouler la pâte pour en faire un boudin assez serré (en commençant par l'un des côtés de 60cm).
7. Couper le boudin diagonalement en 12 tronçons.
8. A l'aide de vos pouces ou du manche d'une grosse cuillère en bois appuyer au centre de chaque tronçon (de cette manière les côtés coupés sont exposés et les brioches ressembleront à des "oreilles").
9. Recouvrir une plaque de cuisson avec du papier sulfurisé.
10. Mettre les brioches sur plaque et couvrir avec un linge humide.
11. Les faire lever pendant environ 40 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'elles aient doublé de volume.
12. Vingt minutes avant d'enfourner les brioches, préchauffer le four à 200° C.
Méthode Pour La "Dorure":
13. Battre ensemble l'oeuf avec le lait.
14. Peindre chaque brioche avec la dorure et saupoudrer avec le sucre perlé.
15. Cuire 8 à 10 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que les brioches soient légèrement dorées.
Le sucre cristallisé peut être remplacé par du sucre brun clair.
Cette recette peut être facilement doublée.
Idées de présentation:
Mange à toute heure du jour ou de la nuit (!!!) et servir avec un bon thé ou café.