Traditional Sweet and Savory Finnish Christmas Pastries “Joulutortut”

November 20, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I am very curios and always was about cuisine of countries all over the world, especially traditional Holyday cooking and baking and try them as soon as I can. For this weeks contest I baked today traditional Finnish Christmas Pastries “Joulutortut”, which is inspired by a recipe I found on The Worldwide Gourmet website. The name of those pastries is hard to pronounce but very easy to make. The original recipe is a dessert pastry but I think and am used to start a Holiday or every day breakfast with a savory dish and finish with something sweet. That is why I made both, savory and sweet. The Plum jam filling I made exactly like the filling for Hamentaschen we bake for Purim, the original recipe calls just for Plum jam. Just to try, I baked only a small portion but it doubles or triples easily. —Kukla

What You'll Need
  • For the savory pastries
  • • 4 (5by 5-inches) Puff pastry squares
  • • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained
  • • 1/2 cup good quality feta (Greek or French)
  • • 1large egg yolk
  • • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, diced
  • • 4 scallions, only the green part, chopped
  • • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • • 1 large egg yolk mixed with some water, for egg wash
  • • Sesame seeds, toasted, for the top
  • For the sweet pastries
  • • 4 (5by 5-inches) Puff pastry squares
  • • 1/2 cup Plum Jam
  • • 1/3 cup fine ground walnuts
  • • 2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest
  • • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • • Pinch of coarse salt
  • • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting the tops
  1. To make filling for savory pastries: In a medium mixing bowl combine ricotta, feta, egg yolk, lemon zest, dill, scallions and pepper. Stir well until the mixture is homogeneous. Set a side.
  2. To make filling for sweet pastries: In a small mixing bowl combine Plum jam, walnuts, lemon or orange zest, vanilla and salt. Stir well until the mixture is homogeneous. Set a side.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two cookie baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Make cuts from the corners of each square about half way to the centre; place a spoonful of savory filling in the centre and fold every second section into the centre, pinch tightly to form a windmill or a star shape, (which mine don’t look like). Photo #4 shows how the pastries should look.
  5. Place on the baking sheet; brush with egg yolk; sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the pastries are puffed and golden.
  6. Repeat the same process with the sweet filling, only there is no need to brush them with the egg wash, since they will be dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature for breakfast or brunch with a fragrant cup of tea or fresh espresso.

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