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Monday 2 March 2015

Pulla – Finnish Celebration Bread

How Pulla looks in the cookbook
Each month I like to try and cook some foods from a different country and March is all about Finland. I chose Finland as I rediscovered my Moomin Cookbook recently and made some Moomin Cakes. As you do...

*ssssshhhhhh* slightly out of date Saffron soaking in milk
As I am sure you know, I really like to have a daily adventure. You don’t have to leave your home to have one and this was pretty much the idea behind this monthly foray into different foods and cultures once I realised travelling to each country wasn't achievable. Well just yet anyway!

I also have quite a few recipe books that have been neglected recently in favour of online so have had a desire to go back to the books and see what recipes have actually been sitting on my shelves all along.

Dough made in the bread machine
One of these actually turned out to be Pulla, a sweet spiced celebration bread from Finland. Perfect!

It actually makes an appearance in TWO books on bread making that I have. Each one was slightly different. I decided to try the version in The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook by Jennie Shapter.

It’s flavoured with saffron and cardamom, an interesting combination I thought and it looked impressive from the photograph. I made the dough in the bread machine. I don’t think this is cheating. It’s being practical.

That all went well, even though the saffron I used had been bought in 2004. Blimey. High time it was used then. It had been kept it a sealed box and smelt good to me so in it went.

My rolling out and plaiting left a lot to be desired and I don’t expect I’d win any prizes on the evenness of my strands!! Making it look perfect though isn’t the point of this little culinary adventure. It’s about having a go and trying something new.

What would Paul Hollywood say??
I also have to admit to making a variation for the topping – which is allowed, according to the cookbook *phew* and so this version is topped with smashed up almonds (rather than flaked) and dried apricots (rather than candied citrus peel). It didn’t specify dark or white rum and seeing as I only had some Bacardi in the cupboard in that went. I wanted to use the things I had around the kitchen already, which to me makes more sense and I didn’t think it would detract from the finished bread.

The topping. A mixture of almonds, sugar, dried apricots and rum
It rose really well and looked pretty darn good before going in the oven. Felt rather pleased!

And WOW. I impressed myself when it came out of the oven. Even though I followed the timing and temperature it looked a little over cooked. It’s the taste that’s important though – right?

Impressed myself with how it looks!
Well I can tell you it is very nice. Flavours not overpowering and the praline type topping is delicious.  Very light rather like a brioche although not as rich. We tried it plain and with jam and it works really well with jam (we had strawberry & fig jam).Thumbs up from me and Mr.CA and yes OK puppy had a teeny tiny bit to try too – minus the jam. Happy faces all round!

Looks slightly over done?
So seeing that this is a celebration bread what are we celebrating? Well the fact that it is March and Spring is on its way! Hurrah!

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