Hyvää päivää! Today we’re wearing and eating Finland.
I have Finnish ancestry on my mother’s side and my boyfriend is straight up half Finn. Where we’re from, there’s a lot of Finnish influence, but in Toronto you have to really look for little pockets here and there. We joined the Finnish Cafe last fall and spent a few hours every second week learning the language and eating Finnish specialties like pulla (coffee bread), suola kala (gravlax), and korvapuusti (cinnamon buns) which I made today.
Before we get into the food and clothes though, do you want to know a bit about Finland? I have these decorative plates in my kitchen depicting the exploits of Väinämöinen, the central hero in Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala.
From what I gather, Väinämöinen and the early Finns were proud equestrians and skilled archers.
There was a lot of wooing back then. And proposals. But mainly wooing.
Also, you know, watching people drown. That old chestnut.
Maybe I’d better just get to the food and clothes.
Banana Republic x Marimekko
Earlier this summer, Banana Republic and Marimekko (an iconic Finnish textile design company) partnered for a capsule collection. It was a massive success, evidenced by the fact that by the time I made it up to the Bloor street BR store – only one day after release – they’d sold out of the skirt I wanted. It was a voluminous tea length skirt in Marimekko’s Pienet Kivet print and I’m still pining over it. I called every BR store in Toronto but there were no stock replenishments so I had to settle with trousers in the same print. In the end, I adore the trousers.
This is a bold pant which demands a good heel that can stand up to the print and the cropped length. I’ve kept the look monochromatic here, pairing the trousers with a black pointed-toe heel and a simple boat neck tee. Sharp little details – leather sleeves on the tee, the snakeskin print and gold hardware on the bag – ensure the polka dots feel sophisticated.
Trousers – Banana Republic x Marimekko
T-shirt – Banana Republic
Bag – Aldo
Heels – Aldo
Korvapuusti (Finnish Cardamon Cinnamon Buns)
Today I busted out Betty (what, your KitchenAid mixer doesn’t have a name?) and put her to work on a classic Finnish recipe of Korvapuusti, which is Finnish for ‘Slapped Ears’.
Just as I was prepping the yeast for the dough, my boyfriend Kevin and his friends returned from their guys brunch (yes, that’s a thing) and tried to take over my kitchen. To ensure the only ears getting slapped were of the pastry variety, I hustled them out to the balcony with their own yeast, although theirs was a good deal more fermented.
Two things make Korvapuusti stand out from your run-of-the-mill cinnamon bun. Firstly, a hefty amount of ground cardamom is incorporated right into the dough. If it seems an odd spice choice to you, do not be dissuaded – it’s really delicious and adds a level of complexity to the sweetness of the bun, something that people will like but won’t be able to put their finger on.
The recipe didn’t call for it, but I added some extra cardamom into the filling for good measure. It also has a good dose of cinnamon.
The other thing is the shape – instead of boring old perfectly cylindrical rolls, you cut these at 45 degree angles so that you can see the swirl on both sides. This is why they’re called slapped ears!
This dough is leavened with yeast, so it takes some time prep as it has to rise twice over a few hours.
You make the time up in the oven however, as they only take 15 minutes to bake. Watch them though – they cook in a hot oven and they can go from golden to burnt in a matter of minutes!
Now I’m just showing off.
I won’t pretend that I came up with the recipe for these – I used a great one from another Finlander and you can find it here. My only advice is to not be shy with the cardamom. Also, they don’t keep for too long and will start to dry out – if that’s an issue, try slicing and toasting them, re-heating them in the oven or even dipping them in french toast batter and frying them. Delicious!
Next week I’ll aim to do some savory dishes and show you guys that I’m not just a one-trick pony! If you like this blog post be sure to follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/FrockAndFig for more updates throughout the week!