My daughter Kristina is leaving for Finland today. She will be visiting her cousins, studying the cuisine of the land, and for the first time, she will be walking the grounds of the almost 200-year old family farm where her great-grandmother Vanni was born.
Finland is a beautiful land and one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Sweden ruled Finland for 600 years, and Russian czars ruled for 100 years. After the Russian Revolution, Finland became an independent country in 1917.
The cuisine of Finland has been influenced by Norway, Sweden, and Russia. During cold months, gratins and stews are a popular meal item and served with flatbreads and crispbreads. Locally grown fruits include lingonberries and cloudberries. I found this beautiful book on Scandinavian baking this past weekend, and thought of Kristina going off to Finland and enjoying some of the dishes in the book.
Kristina will be making rye bread with some of the Finnish relatives, and probably a Finnish braided sweet bread called pulla.
Blueberries are also very popular. I cannot wait to try this tart!
The book is divided into chapters of coffee breads; cakes; cookies; tarts, fruit desserts, and pastries; and traditional favorites like pancakes with lingonberries, spritz cookies, pepparkakor, lefse, and the very trendy aebleskiver. The cookie chapter sounds like Christmas, and the yeast breads are so heavenly, you will want to start a pot of coffee to get a head start.
Author Pat Sinclair has won numerous awards for her cookbooks, and photographer Joel Butkowski wrote a pioneering book on digital photography. Teamed together, they made one amazing book that every cook needs in the kitchen.
I’m sure Kristina will enjoy the serene Finnish landscape and come home with some great recipes and definitely memories for a lifetime. Grandma Vanni would be proud! In the meantime, I’ll be making the recipes in this book over the next couple weeks – and thinking of Kristina up to her elbows in flour.