A couple of years ago I found a recipe on-line for a version of a Finnish yeast bun that is so delicious it is hard to resist. It’s called Dallaspulla. (NB: you may have to take Finnish lessons to read this recipe. Or use the on-line translator…) Alternatively – here it is.
For the dough:
25g yeast* – fresh if you can buy it. It’s not sold here anymore for some stupid reason. So I use the dry stuff. If you are doing the same, it needs to be dissolved in some of the warm milk before you incorporate it into the dough. Hot milk will kill the yeast. That’s not good. Dead yeast means your dough will not rise. Which means the buns will be flat and hard. Which means they will not be nice to eat. Think baby milk warmth and you’ll be fine.
3dl milk (dl = 100ml) Fridge cold milk will not make the yeast happy. It likes to be warm and cosy.
1dl sugar (Finnish recipes measure liquids like this too.)
8dl (approx.) flour
100g butter, room temperature
For the filling:
150g butter, room temperature
200g vanilla flavoured fromage frais
0.5dl golden syrup
1 packet vanilla custard mix
1tbsp vanilla sugar
For the egg-wash:
1 egg, beaten
For the dough:
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast* (only if it’s the fresh kind). Mix together with your hands.
Rub in the butter.
Make a nice, deep well in the centre.
Pour 1dl of milk into the well and carefully draw in the flour mix until the milk is incorporated. (This would be the baby warm milk with the dry yeast.) Repeat with the other 2dl of milk.
Once all the milk is incorporated you should have a wonderfully sticky dough that refuses to let go of your hands. Whatever you do don’t wash or scrape it off. Having sticky, doughy hands is part of the fun. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface for kneading.
Knead your dough. The bits sticking to your hands will happily return home. Kneading is therapeutic, energetic, good exercise. Hold the dough up in the air above your head and slam it onto the work bench a few times. It feels really good to do that. If you’re angry or upset, it feels even better. And believe it or not the dough will love you for it. Kneading may take some time depending on how therapeutic you want to make it. Basically when the dough stops sticking to everything, forming a happy ball, its ready.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a teatowel, and leave somewhere warm-ish to rise, for about half an hour. While you wait, make the filling. If it’s happy and the yeast is doing its job, it should double in size.
For the filling:
Ensure your butter is nice and soft. You might need to soften it a little. Just a few seconds in the microwave.
In a bowl, mix together the butter and vanilla-flavoured fromage frais.
Add the syrup and mix.
Add the vanilla sauce ingredients and vanilla sugar, and mix again until well incorporated. I actually used vanilla instant dessert mix because I couldn’t get anything else for some weird reason. It worked. Be brave. Substitute. No-one will know unless you tell them. And if you do, you can claim creative urges for bettering the recipe.
Pre-heat the oven to 225C/425F/gas mark 7.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Once your dough is nicely risen, tip it out of the bowl onto a clean work surface. I would recommend having a pile of flour on hand. Dust the bench top and rolling pin with it and add more if the dough starts sticking.
Use a rolling pin and create a rectangle. Or as close as you can get to it.
Spoon 3/4 of the filling mixture onto the dough, and spread almost all over. Don’t go right to the edges. If you do it will squeeze out and make a mess. You don’t want to make a mess. Trust me. It’s messy. And it just means more cleaning.
Roll the dough lengthways into a sausage shape.
Using a sharp knife cut the pulla into approximately 2.5cm wide pieces. That’s about an inch.
You should end up with about 18 pieces.
Place the cut pulla onto the prepared baking sheet face side up. That means you will see the filling staring back at you.
Brush the beaten egg onto each pulla. Then spread the remaining filling on top of each pulla.
Bake the dallaspulla in the preheated oven for about 13 minutes until golden.
Traditionally pulla is served with coffee. Straight out of the oven they are simply delicious. Warning – you may find there will be none left if the family is at home.
When Mum made pulla, she always added cardamon to the dough. So I added 1 tsp of ground cardamon to the dallaspulla dough as well. Add it with the other dry ingredients.
For those wondering how on earth you pronounce this weird word pulla – think pull + uh = pulla. It’s Finnish for bun.
© Raili Tanska
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein