Traditional Finnish Christmas Joulutorttu

December 21, 2013
1 Ratings
  • Makes 60
Author Notes

Joulutorttu are traditional Finnish jam tarts made and eaten at Christmas. Made with a delicate buttery ricotta pastry and filled with prune jam, they are the epitome of family Christmas food moments for Finnish folk. This recipe has been handed down through the generations and is a longtime family favourite.

I remember as a kid when my mum would start baking these, I'd wait anxiously to get my hands on the delightful little windmill with the surprise centre.

Although there is a bit of work involved in preparing the windmill shapes, one bite into a tart fresh out of the oven makes it all worthwhile. Make a big batch, eat half now and freeze the other half in freezer bags for later. —Peggy Saas

What You'll Need
  • Pastry
  • 18 ounces unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 18 ounces ricotta
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • Jam filling
  • 10 ounces pitted prunes
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  1. Mix butter and flour together with fingers to form a crumby consistency. Add ricotta and mix until it all comes together to form dough. Roll into a ball then flatten into a disc shape and wrap in cling wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Soak prunes for 2 hours, rinse, then place into a saucepan. Add sugar and enough water to cover prunes to the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until the prunes have completely softened (about 15-20 minutes). Stir every so often to ensure they do not stick to the pan. Once the prunes are soft and most of the water has been absorbed, remove from the heat. If you want a smooth texture you can puree the jam, or mash with a fork for a chunkier texture.
  3. Divide pastry dough into 3 portions. Roll the first portion out, fold into three (like an envelope) and roll out again into a square shape about 0.5 – 1cm thick. If you roll it too thin the tortut are a bit difficult to handle between the board and the baking tray so lean more towards thicker than thinner. Use flour sparingly to ensure the pastry dough does not stick to the board. Sprinkling a bit of flour over the dough after the first roll-out it makes the dough easier to handle.
  4. Cut the pastry into squares about 8x8cm in size (or use a square cutter). Make diagonal cuts in each corner of every square about halfway to the centre, leaving the middle of the square uncut for the jam. Place a teaspoon of jam into the centre of each square.
  5. To make a windmill shape, lift one corner of a square and fold into the middle on top of the jam. Brush the top of the pastry corner with lightly beaten egg, and fold the next corner on top of the egg. Continue with the last 2 corners. Press firmly in the middle to ensure the corners stick.
  6. Place the pastries onto a baking tray and brush all over with lightly beaten egg. Bake at 225oC for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
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  • Mi Budare
    Mi Budare
  • Victoria Hollingsworth
    Victoria Hollingsworth
  • Peggy Saas
    Peggy Saas
  • Aili

6 Reviews

Aili December 15, 2018
I just made these, they are a little thick but it is my first time. I tried apricot and prune. I would add egg to the recipe (it's only in the directions), I just happened to buy them the day before luckily. I also halved the recipe and it made me 18, which shows it is thick but we just don't really have room in our apt. to make thinner dough. The main thing is though is the temperature. I did mine at 375 F for 18 minutes. I kept checking on the first batch because in F its only 107 degrees, so I kept raising it. I am bringing them to a cookie exchange party though and they look and taste great so no complaints! I will make them again, hopefully thinner and more like a pinwheel.
Victoria H. December 17, 2018
Something must have gone wrong with your conversion math. 225°C is 437°F. :)
Glad they still worked for you! I'm trying them out later this week.
Victoria H. December 20, 2018
I made them today! They're great! My family loved them and I'll be making them again.
A couple of notes - I made the jam the day before to make it simpler. I noticed that this recipe doesn't have any salt at all. I added a 1/4 teaspoon to the pastry and found I could have added even a bit more. Also, I used a food processor to make the dough and noticed that my dough was too wet with even just the butter (could be the quality of my butter or my way of measuring flour) I simply added flour by the spoonful until it looked nice and crumbly, then added the ricotta to make it doughy again. I baked them at 435°F for 13 min.
Aili December 21, 2018
Ha! I had to get up very early to make them and I did it backwards. Overworked brain. But still turned out delicious, my mom wants me to make them for Easter dessert.
Mi B. December 22, 2013
These look amazing! What other fillings have you tried?
Peggy S. December 22, 2013
Thank you. I've also had them with apricot jam filling, they're nice too. However the prune jam is my favourite. You can put whatever jam you like into them.