Friday, February 29

American-Style Runeberg Tart

Anyone living in Finland quickly learns that many of the holidays have some sort of specific food or pastry associated with it. While not a real holiday, Finnish Poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg is celebrated every February 5th which is the anniversary of his birthday. Among other things, he wrote the National Anthem. In celebration of his birthday, the cafes are filled with lots of Runeberg tarts.
Runeberg's tart (Finnish: Runebergintorttu, Swedish: Runebergstårta) is a Finnish pastry that is seasoned with almonds and rum and it usually weighs about 100 grams. There is usually raspberry jam in a sugar ring on the tart.

The tart got its name from the Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (b. 1804) who, according to the legend, enjoyed the tart with punsch. Runeberg's tarts are typically eaten only in Finland and are generally available from the beginning of January to Runeberg's birthday on February 5. - Wikipedia
I learned to make my own when I came back to the US because I really enjoyed them. I eventually would have made my own had I stayed in Finland, because I would prefer to enjoy them year-round instead of during the short month or so that they are currently available. So here is a photo of one that I made a couple weeks ago:

In true American fashion, mine Runeberg Tarts are not only bigger, but also contain chocolate chips, which the traditional version does not.

Here is what a traditional Finnish one looks like:

I will probably be making another batch in a week or so. By that time, if not already, it will be impossible to find them in Finland. (The most logical reason why these are available for such a short time is due to the amount of effort it takes to make one. Sure looks are deceiving, but you wouldn't think that it is difficult to make a bagel either.)

So how does my creation taste? My wife, who is a pasty chef, gives it high marks, as do her Finnish friends who she requests that I make them for when they come to visit. That's great to know that I am on the right track. Of course, the important thing is that I enjoy them, which I do;Much more than I enjoy baking them.

Here are some Finns who made their own as well, and were nice enough to include recipes:
Runeberg’s Cakes - Tofu for Two (They made mini ones)
Runeberg day - Life in Rondônia (A Finn living in Brazil)



Anonymous said...

Wow! that requires talent I say, that you can make them yourself and enjoy them!
I also like runebergintorttut, especially ones that are nice and juicy. For some reason, very few Finns actually like them (so far, no one in Finland that I have met, has liked them). People prefer Laskiais pulla, which is basically pulla cut in half with jam and cream. I find nothing special about that, for every child can make it, and they are so difficult to eat.
I am starting to suspect that there is secret brainwashing going on to make finns like laskiais pulla more than runebergintorttut.
Did you know that this year, Laskiais tiistai was on the same day as Runebergin Päivä? This year was the first time I actually had the courage to buy myself some runb. tarts, despite all the grave warnings from my friends (until now, for some reason, I was always prevented from trying them...)

Any chance of you sending me your version of the recipe?

Fred Fry said...

"Any chance of you sending me your version of the recipe?"

Sure, I will write it out the next time I make them.