It's the most wonderful time of the year! And as this year's table is placed by fewer people - in never-ending social distancing times - we want to list 10 Christmas recipes that can't be forgotten, even if there are leftovers until 2021.
The Finnish word for Christmas table is “Joulupöytä”, and in a classic setting of festive foods, these two recipes can't be missed. Rosolli is a delicious and colorful salad made of beetroot, potatoes, carrots, apple, onion, and gherkin pickles, with a cream and vinegar sauce. The other is sienisalaati, an earthy salad made of salted mushrooms and onions, mixed with cream, sugar, and vinegar. Both salads have a slightly sharp taste, extra delicious to balance the fattiness of some meats.
Although salmon is consumed regularly all year long, on Christmas it gets festive and a classic starter of a party. It can be marinated (graavilohi), cold-smoked (kylmäsavustettu lohi), or warm-smoked (savulohi). It can be consumed with dill, sour cream or cream cheese, garlic, and roe. Christmas salmon be hot or cold, in a salad, pâté, canapé, and more. The variations are basically endless, so get creative.
Another option for a starter of a meal, the haukiterriini is a great way to use white fish in an exquisite presentation of a terrine. You need pike fillets, eggs, cream, dill, whitefish roe, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Process the fish with cream, eggs, salt, and pepper, then mix the other ingredients together. Cook the mixture in a pan in a bain-marie, and serve with cream, dill, and roe.
A Karelian classic, Pikkujoulupiirakat is a classic pie on most Christmas tables. One variation is the härkispiirakka, made of sun-dried tomatoes, onions, beef, chili, oats, basil, and fresh little tomatoes. Another recipe, now vegetarian, is the juuresjoulutortut. Take note of the ingredients: beets, carrots, parsnips, onion, garlic, walnuts, semolina, and grated cheese. Made with puff pastry, and shaped like stars, it looks - and tastes - amazing, as a starter of a delicious family meal.
Rye bread is another staple on the Finnish table, and it can't be out of Christmas festivities. Joululimppu is a spicy and sweet loaf, with a dark syrup coating of the crust, that makes the bread extra shiny and delicious. It's made of rye and wheat flour, buttermilk, yeast, dark syrup, fennel and anise seeds, and pomegranate peel. The shine comes from syrup diluted in water, applied from the middle of the cooking until the end.
Finnish “laatikko” aka casserole is another star of the Christmas table. With three main variations of vegetables, rutabaga (lanttulaatikko), carrot (porkkanalaatikko), and potato (perunalaatikko), you can even find all of them at once. Lanttulaatikko is the one most linked with Christmas, for its mildly sweet taste. It's made of rutabaga, dark syrup, cream, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, egg, salt, and pepper. The creamy mixture is topped with breadcrumbs and butter and baked for extra crispiness.
The Karjalanpaisti is a traditional dish of the Finnish cuisine, and it's also a Christmas dish for many people. This recipe is festive, not like a regular stew. You need venison (or other flavorsome red meat), carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, butter, meat broth, rosemary, allspice, cinnamon stick, and salt and pepper. Serve the rich stew with blackcurrant jelly and rye bread.
Here comes the protagonist of the show! Yes, the joulukinkku is the moment we have been waiting for all year. You need a ham, time, and an oven. The glazes of the ham are also unlimited in creativeness, so you can explore multiple ingredients: mustard, honey, almonds, coarse rye flour, coarse sugar, molasses, breadcrumbs, and more. I, myself, like to use mustard, honey, and citrus juices. So, yes, I bet you also have your favorite recipe.
Traditional riisipuuro is highly enjoyed as a Christmas dessert. Rice is cooked slowly in water and milk, and seasoned with sugar, a cinnamon stick, and an almond - which is believed to bring a lot of luck and success to its discoverer for the coming year. Other ingredients can be added, like coconut (milk, if a vegan recipe is what you are looking for), citrus peel, and vanilla pod. It can be served with a sugar crust, as a fancy crème brûlée version, or with jelly.
10. Joulutorttu (Photo)
The Christmas tarts - Joulutorttu -, or star-shaped tarts, are simple to make, whimsical, and delicious. Puff pastry can be store-bought, cut into squares, and filled in the middle with prune jam. The star shape is made by twisting each side to the middle and then baked until slightly golden and puffed. The stars are dusted with powdered sugar once ready, to make it extra festive like snowflakes. But don't eat it hot, wait for the rest of the family to arrive, and then enjoy together all the Christmas treats.
Photo: Pirkko Seitsenpiste from Pixabay / Tove erbs from Pixabay