Finnish Joulutorttu is literally translated to 'Christmas cake' and is a traditional seasonal bake around the winter festivities. Nowadays Finnish people go to the store to buy a ready-made pastry, which is normally a puff pastry-like laminated dough, so if you make this recipe it's good to know, that this one is a bit different and stays flatter.
Normally the shape of Joulutorttu is a star or windmill or whatever you see in it :) but in Finland you will find advanced ways that give these pastries different looks; but the taste is the same!
- for about 18 pastry stars
- 250 g unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 250 g ricotta
- 550 g plain flour
Quick prune jam - optional, can be replaced with ready-made prune jam
- 250 g pitted prunes
- 4 tbsp sugar
- Whole prunes
- Icing sugar
- Combine butter and flour to get a crumb-like mixture.
- Incorporate ricotta and mix until it all comes together to form a dough.
- Form the dough into a ball then roll into a disc and wrap in cling wrap. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Divide pastry dough into 2 portions, leave one on your surface and place the other back to the fridge, wrapped.
- Roll the first portion out, fold into three and roll out into a square shape about 1 cm thick or slightly thinner, but make sure not to roll it too thin, because then the pastry stars will be difficult to handle. Flour the surfaces occasionally to avoid sticking.
- Cut the pastry into squares about 9x9cm in size (TIP: if you like this recipe and visit Finland, you can find specific cutters to this project which can be an affordable souvenir for baking enthusiasts). Make diagonal cuts in each corner of every square about halfway to the centre, leaving the middle of the square as a whole.
- Place a teaspoon of the prune jam into the centre of each square and add a whole prune on top.
- To make the classic star shape, lift a corner of the square and fold into the middle, overlapping the jam. Give it an egg wash to make it sticky and continue folding in the other 3 corners the same way. To avoid the star opening during the baking, make sure to seal the folded pastry corners in the middle by pressing them down a bit.
- Transfer the star-shaped pastries onto a lined baking tray and give them a final egg wash.
- Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 200 °C (fan) for about 12 minutes or until they turn light golden brown.
- Repeat the same process with the second portion of the dough.
- Chill the freshly baked pastries for a few minutes on a cooling rack and sprinkle some icing sugar on top before serving.
Quick prune jam - optional
- Soak the prunes for 2 hours.
- Rinse and place them into a pot.
- Add the sugar and just the amount of water that covers the prunes.
- Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until the prunes completely softened and started to fall apart while the water amount reduced. Stir occasionally.
- Use a stick blender to puree the jam or a fork for a jam with more texture.