Although I am a very proud Brit, I’m also a very proud Finn. You may or may not know that I am half Finnish, which kind of explains my predisposition for simplicity, cinnamon and Moomins. I was lucky enough to grow up with Finnish food, in particular pullas (a Finnish sweet bread with cardamom and cinnamon) and piirakkas (a Finnish pasty with a rye crust filled with rice). I can be pretty certain that I can put my childhood near obesity down to the mass consumption of these goods. In our home they would be made by the factory load, I don’t think I am even exaggerating in saying that hundreds would be baked in one day. It was heaven. Being one of four children, we would snatch as many as we could before the rest got bagged up and put into the freezer to ration out before the next large bake.
My fondest memory of growing up was having a cup of tea with either a pulla (sweet tooth) or a piirakka (savoury tooth). We would get home from school, pop the kettle on and put a plateful of either in the microwave and gobble up as much as we could so no one else could have any. I know microwaving is gross, but after the initial day of freshness, they needed to be heated up to unleash their glory again. With pullas, we’d sprinkle extra sugar on top, and with piirakkas we’d either dollop on butter or manavoi (a Finnish egg butter – possibly one of the wonders of the world). When my grandmother baked them, she was fiercely protective over her baked babies and her four grandbabies not eating enough of them. Any outsiders that came in did not sit well with her at all, I remember her hiding fresh batches away from other family members and friends. She would secretly/openly be bitter about the scavengers and we loved it.
Due to lack of my Ma’s baking of these holy grail of yummy goods, us poor children haven’t had any in so long. We’re like a lost flock of hungry baby birds waiting to be fed our only true fuel. My brothers have suggested that we try and bake them ourselves, with myself being put forward as the one to take on the challenge. However, with pullas and pirrakka’s both being my most prized memory, I’ve shone away from trying to do them justice. I then found out about Scandi Kitchen (which sells all the good Scandinavian foods for the lost Scandinavian’s of London) and that they made kanelbullar's - the Swedish version of the far superior pullas. I decided that by sampling these and having a renewed experience would be the first step in me finally learning to make them myself.
Naughty yummy treat: Cinnamon Buns.
Price: £1.75 per bun.
Portion size: Good.
Moistness: As they should be.
Notes: Let’s just get one thing straight here, no matter how good these Cinnamon Buns could ever be (which they were), my fierce proud Finnishness would not allow me to rate them anything above a 4. There would be terrible consequences if I did. To be clear: pulla's – King of cinnamon buns, kanelbullar's – possibly the Queen, American “cinnamon buns” – treason.
The Cinnamon Buns from Scandi Kitchen are truly lovely. They taste like home. They are surprisingly not dry, which I was expecting as I had not seen them physically been brought out the oven and given to me off the tray, which was a fresh pulla tradition for me. They are doughy and delicious, with the cardamom coming through beautifully – they’re wonderfully reminiscent of the pulla’s I had growing up. I popped one in the microwave (it wasn’t needed, but I wanted to test them out properly) and it was scrumptious. What I like most about Scandinavian cinnamon buns is that they are not overly sweet or sickly, there is no icing or faff, but just the simplicity of a good sweet bun. With my renewed tasting now pride of place in my brain, I feel ready to begin to conquer a recipe worthy of my childhood memory.
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