Tag Archives: cardamon

Finnish Blueberry Tart Recipe

As you know I’m a BIG fan of Scandinavian cooking.  And this Blueberry tart is, for me. quintessentially Finnish. The pastry for this is so simple, and I’m reluctant to even call it a pastry as it’s not done in the traditional manner, but using a mixer with- shock horror- soft butter.  BUT this makes it easy to make, even for those terrified of their warm hands…. It also uses my FAV – Cardamon

Finnish Blueberry Tart

Cardamon Love

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Nordic Cardamon and Raisin Pulla Breads

The eldest came back from Norway during the summer RAVING about some Cardamon and Raisin Bread (Boller).  I will make them… but they reminded me of an old favourite Finnish Pulla, that my sister in law makes so beautifully. Her being Finnish an’ all! Cardamon is the essence of Finnish cooking for me, and just the smell of the spice makes me think of snow and gingerbread.

Nordic Cardamon and Raisin Pulla Breads

Ingredients:

500g Strong White Flour

1 teaspoon salt

90g Caster Sugar

60g Warm Water

190g warm milk

30g of fresh yeast (15g of dried)

1 teaspoon of cardamom seeds, crushed

50g of raisins

100g soft butter

50g soft brown sugar

Method

Mix the milk, water and yeast into the flour with the cardamom, and bring it together into a dough, kneading for about five minutes until the dough is smooth and shiny, I use my kenwood for this.  Add the softened butter in stages to the dough and carry on kneading.  A little like Brioche, this dough looks a touch disastrous, as the butter smears all over the place just keep going and you’ll hit a point where the butter just seems to give up fighting and starts to melt into the dough, leaving it soft and smooth.  Cover this dough with cling-film and leave overnight in the fridge.

Nordic Bread

Nordic Bread

Next day roll out the dough into a rectangle, and spread over the raisins, and the soft brown sugar.  Roll up like a swiss roll, and slice whatever way you want.  Leave to prove on a tray until doubled in size.  Brush with egg wash and some more brown sugar.

Bake in a pre heated oven of 200oC for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

BreadYou can drizzle them with some icing sugar mixed with a teeny bit of water, like you see on Danish Pastries, or leave them “au natural”.  But really they are good just straight from the oven.

Divine!

It’s all about the… cardamon and the kale and the artichoke..

Back in the kitchen with a bang this morning, and as I walked into cookery school I remembered how awfully nervous I was this time last week, and how wonderfully at home I feel this week.  The cooking went well, I did not seem to have an extensive list of dishes, but jointing the chicken and segmenting the grapefruit tutorials took time.  The Arjard salad I made took me out of my comfort zone in both taste and methodology.  But the resulting dish was pleasant and fitting with the other courses.

Arjard Salad

The Arjard Salad

The Grapefruit Starter was time consuming to prepare but the resulting taste was wonderfully fresh, and well worth the effort of grape peeling.

Grapefruit Starter

Grapefruit Starter

We started the demo after lunch, as per usual, and settled in to watch Rachel ( and Pat) run through a miriad of dishes and techniques.  Some of my favourite foods were included; Green Cardamon, Jerusalem Artichoke, Chocolate and Kale.

Kale is the epitome of the healthy winter vegetable, and my grandmother often put it in mashed potato for dinner, I presume to try to get greens into my sister, as opposed to some haute cuisine.  We only ever had the curly variety, and I’m not sure, even now, I’ve ever tasted the other two in the below picture.

Different types of Kale

Different types of Kale

My Finnish Sister in law use to keep me in stock of cardamon prior to its availability in this part of the world.  We were introduced to the Black or Brown variety today, of which I had never seen or heard.  Although not strictly related, they both belong to the ginger family. I just love the fragrance of the green cardamon, and am particularly fond of the Finnish Sweet Bread, pulla. Worth noting that cardamon is the third most expensive spice in the world…. just aswell I use it sparingly.

Cardamon

Cardamon

The poor Jerusalem artichoke is a much maligned vegetable.  I personally love it. I love it’s knarls and imperfections.  Here’s a poem I wrote about it while studying Food Writing in UCC. Worth noting, it is not strictly an artichoke, but is, like a true artichoke, also a member of the daisy family.

“Ode to Pimmy”

Although knarled and twisted like the old gardeners hands that tend your roots

You sit patiently in the sodden ground

Not wishing to shine in the sun like your cousins

Content to rest, the earthbound apple.

AND it’s a true super food.  10% protein, very little starch, and no oil.  What is does contain, especially in the colder countries it is cultivated in, is the carbohydrate inulin.  This gives this particular vegetable it’s sweet taste, as inulin is a polymer of fructose.  But take care, inulin cannot be broken down by the human digestive system, only by bacteria found in our gut, so sometimes this particularly plain looking vegetable, can, when eaten, cause a little bit of an upset!

John Goodyer’s entry for Jerusalem artichoke in the 1633 edition of Gerard’s Herballconcluded: In my judgement, which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir up and cause a filthie loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be much pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than man; yet some say they have usually eaten them, and have found no such windy quality in them”.

And the Chocolate? That’s tomorrows story..