8. joulukuuta 2012

In search of a perfect dough

I love joulutorttu. It is a traditional Finnish pastry that is eaten at Christmas time. A very simple thing, consisting of a butterdough and a drop of plum in the middle and shaped to ressemble a star, or a windmill, or whatever. You can buy readymade dough for this (in Finland and in well-equipped stores in Sweden also), but since it is quite hard to get a hold on here and I've heard that homemade is better (as usual..), I wanted to try to make my own dough for these Christmasstars.

Many have praised a butterdough made with quark, so I decided to give it a go. Very simple to do, but the result, well... Everyone said that these will taste better and of course have less fat, yeah maybe they do that but the consistency really was not as a joulutorttu should be. First of all, despite the baking powder the dough really does not rise, and joulutorttu should be puffy. The dough burns quite easily (because of the quark, I've heard), so it was difficult to get the dough cooked before the ends of the stars started to burn. I actually think that this dough is better off for savoury filled pastries (which I also did, and the dough worked way better in those).

I forgot my camera in Finland, so I have no pictures of these to show you. Maybe better that way, because the result was, hmmm, somewhat pitiful and nobody wants to see them. The taste is ok, but the looks ruined the whole thing.

Anyway, here is the recipe:

Joulutorttu made of quarkbutterdough

250 g quark
250 g butter or margarine
4 dl wheat flour
1 tsp 
baking powder

Plumjam /-marmalade
Mix the margarine, flour and baking powder. Add the quark. Blend until smooth, but avoid kneading.

If you want the dough a little puffier, pat the dough into a thin plate and keep it in a cool place for a couple of hours. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, fold the sides of the dough into the middle (you end up with a dough one third of the original rolled-out size). Twist the dough 90 degrees and do the rolling and folding -procedure a couple of times more. Put the dough back in the refrigerator, covered, for about 30 minutes. (This was in the original recipe, but I do not see the point of rolling and folding because it did not produce a puffy result.) Or just roll out the dough and make the stars.

Cut the rolled-out dough into rectangles and make small diagonal cuts in each corner. Put some plumjam into the middle and turn every other corner in the middle, squeeze them together so they won't open. (You can also turn the corners first and then add the plum, this way it definitely won't open in the oven). You can also make other forms but the star is the most popular. 

Bake in the oven in 175-200 degrees (depends on the oven and size of the torttu and the amount of plumjam) for about 15-20 minutes. 

Haahaa!!! The Google Translator version of the Wikipedias article on joulutorttu can be read here. :D :D :D Oh my, WHERE do they get the translations from? Mince pie???? What the heck has this to do with mince?!?! :D