Pulla (Finnish Sweet Bread) with Emilie

Pulla (Sweet Bread)

Emilie shares a recipe for traditional Finnish Pulla – a sweet bread filled with sugar and spice and everything nice!

Pour one cup of lukewarm milk into an empty bowl. Add 1/2 cup of sugar. Whisk together. Add one packet of yeast. Whisk together. Add one teaspoon of salt, one egg, and two teaspoons of the crushed cardamom. Whisk together well. Add two cups of flour and whisk together again. Add 1/2 stick of melted butter. Mix with a wooden spoon. Add two more cups of flour, and mix together with a wooden spoon. Add one more cup of flour and mix with your hands. Cover the bowl of dough with a cloth, and leave it to rise for about an hour in a warm place. Place the risen dough onto a baking sheet. Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. With scissors, cut strips along the two outer sides. The slits should line up evenly but not meet in the middle. Put to the side and allow it to rise more.

To create the filling, mix together 2-3 tablespoons of softened butter, one teaspoon of crushed cardamom, one teaspoon of cinnamon, one teaspoon of brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. Mix into a paste. Spread the paste evenly into the middle section of the dough, and “braid” the dough by folding alternating sides into the middle. This will seal the filling while the dough bakes. Crack an egg and lightly beat it. Use this as a light egg wash on the top section of the dough.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and let bake for 25 minutes.

Paired with a hot cup of coffee, fresh baked Pulla makes for a delicious breakfast treat. A shout out to the fine citizens of Oulu, Finland – Olipa hyvaa! :)

Amira’s Lebanese Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami

Chocolate Salami

Amira shows us how to make a delicious dessert, known throughout the Middle East as “Sukseh”. This rich treat is both moist and crumbly at the same time. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser – chocolate lovers beware!

Crush three packages of tea biscuits into bite-sized pieces. Add them into a bowl, along with 8 oz of unsweetened cocoa powder, one can of sweetened condensed milk, and 1 and 1/2 cups of melted butter. Mix until a moist dough.

Place a piece of wax paper onto a flat surface. Put half of the dough into the center of this paper, and shape it into a log. Roll the wax paper onto the log and twist both ends of the paper to seal it. Wrap this in a piece of aluminum foil. Place in a refrigerator overnight or for a few hours, and then it will be ready to serve.

After refrigerated, cut into slices. Serves well with one Tbsp. of ground pistachios, one Tbsp. of powdered sugar, and fruit on the side.

Ita’s Honey Cake

Arianna shares a family recipe for honey cake, handed down by her grandmother. Her family has made a tradition of eating Ita’s Honey Cake every year for Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.

Honey Cake for Rosh HaShanah

Separate five eggs, whites in one bowl and yolks in another. Add the yolks into a bigger mixing bowl, and mix together with a couple tablespoons of sugar until a fluffy yellow mixture. Add a cup of honey while mixing. After it becomes a cream mixture, add three TB of vegetable oil. In a separate bowl, stir together 19 oz of all purpose flour, half tsp of baking soda, and half tsp of baking powder. Prepare 1 and 1/4 cups of cooled black tea. Keep the mixing bowl at a low speed, and alternate between adding the tea and adding the flour mixture. Avoid over-mixing to prevent a tough dough.

Next, prepare the meringue, the second part of the cake. In an empty mixing bowl, mix together the egg whites, a little bit of cream of tartar or some drops of lemon, and a pinch of salt. After the mixture starts fluffing, slowly add a cup of sugar. Mix until fluffy and not runny.

With a rubber spatula, add half of the meringue into the bowl with the dough. Fold slowly. Add the rest of the meringue and fold slowly. Prepare a cake mold by spraying it with non-stick oil and lightly covering the bottom and sides with flour. Pour the batter into the mold, only filling it 3/4 to allow room for the cake to rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, until golden brown.

After the cake has baked and cooled, sift a layer of powdered sugar onto the top.

Have a sweet new year! Shanah Tovah!