Beatrice Ojakangas

Recipes from the Scandinavian Chef

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Location: Duluth, Minnesota, United States



April First and May First are two springtime holidays we often don’t have a chance to celebrate. Actually, April Fool’s Day or the “Feast of the Fools” dates back to Medieval times according to some sources. The timing of the holiday seems to be related not only to old and new calendars but with the vernal equinox when nature fooLs us with sudden changes in weather.
May First, on the other hand is a holiday celebrated especially in Northern Europe. We experienced the celebration in Finland, where they celebrate “Vappu”, the eve that marks the first day of summer. Although the day was much longer, it wasn’t much warmer. University students dance through the streets and place a white cap on Havis Amanda, the statue of the goddess of the Baltic Sea on the waterfront in downtown Helsinki. It is a day for picnics, with sparkling “sima” , a home brew varying in alcoholic content, and tippaleipa, a deep fried pastry reminiscent of bird’s nests in shape, being consumed everywhere. Colorful balloons, carried by vendors up and down the streets, beckon to every child.
Growing up in Floodwood, we knew about May Day, but the only association was with the cowslips that sometimes began to bloom about then. We made cone-shaped paper baskets and filled them with wild posies and hung them on the doors of our friends.
So, I offer two recipes here. One is an “April Fresh Strawberry Fool” and the other for “Tippaleipa”, the Finnish May Day Pastry. Both are really easy to make and if you want to make the strawberry dessert ahead – I mean, way ahead, freeze it to make a Fresh Strawberry Fool. Just be sure to wrap it well and use it within a week or so.

April Fresh Strawberry Fool
Here’s a simple dessert that can be made in minutes, but needs to be chilled for at least 4 hours using sweet, juicy strawberries. Use this as a basic recipe throughout the summer months with raspberries, blueberries, peaches and other soft fruits.

Makes 4 servings

3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream

Combine the berries, sugar and lemon juice in the food processor with the steel blade in place. Process until berries are pureed.
Whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Stir the puree into the cream until blended. Taste and add sugar if needed. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Fresh Strawberry Frango: Just spread the April Fresh Strawberry Fool into an 8-inch cake pan, cover well, and freeze. Scoop out like ice cream when you want to serve it.

Finnish May Day Tippaleipa
Tippaleipa, the crispy, curled nest of pastries can be found in bakeries through out Finland on May Day. They are not difficult to make, though. Similar to the Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cakes, the thin batter is drizzled into hot oil to cook.
Makes about 36 pastries

2 eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

Powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, salt and milk. Blend in the flour until batter is smooth.
Heat three to four inches of oil in a heavy kettle or deep-fat fryer to 370 to 380 degrees F.
Pour about half of the batter into a heavy-duty zipper-lock plastic bag*. Clip 1/4 inch off one corner. Press the batter through the hole in the bag into the hot fat, twirling it to make a bird’s nest-type shape. Cook until golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side. With a slotted spoon, remove pastry from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the batter is used. Dust with powdered sugar.
*It’s best to work with only half the batter at a time even if it seems like the whole amount would fit into the bag to prevent the bag from bursting.


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9:07 PM  

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