Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Pulla - Finnish Cinnamon Buns (Korvapuusti)

The women in my family sure know how to cook! From as young as I can remember my Mum made THE BEST meals. And Finnish delights. About a year ago I decided to try my hand at some Finnish fare and started with traditional cinnamon buns, known as Korvapuusti. In my family we call them Pulla, although Pulla is traditionally small round buns or a plaited loaf without the cinnamon. Korvapuusti are also a different shape however my Mum adapted this recipe into scroll shaped buns.

When I started making the dough the smell brought childhood memories flooding back, I remembered the distinct smell of the mix of the dough and the cinnamon and the cardamom. My first lot turned out quite nice, not as good as Mum's of course but then she wrote the book. I am only reading it.

500ml warm milk
2 eggs
150g sugar
1tsp cardamom
1tsp salt
900g plain flour
6tsp dry yeast
200g melted butter
Cinnamon, sugar and margarine to smother over the dough
1 egg (to brush on top)

Mix warm milk, 2 eggs, sugar, salt and cardamom together until the sugar has melted.  In a separate bowl mix the flour and yeast together.  Using your hands start adding a little of the flour and yeast mixture by kneading it through the mix.  Keep adding the flour a little by little until the dough comes off your hand (don’t worry if you have not used all the flour).  Add slightly cooled melted butter and keep kneading until it is all absorbed into the mix.  If the dough is too moist and sticks to your hand, add a little more flour.  Mum's tip: the softer the dough, the softer the pulla.  Cover the kneaded dough with a tea towel and let it rise to double its size in a warm place (away from draft).

before rising

after rising

Pour the dough onto a lightly floured work bench.  Cut into 3 portions, roll out the first portion into a rectangular shape (the wider it is the bigger the pulla). Spread a little margarine all over the dough, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll the sheet up to make a long log shape, cut into approx 3cm pieces.

Place the pieces onto a baking tray and cover the tray with a tea towel and let rise again.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle a little sugar (you might notice by now there is a lot of sugar being sprinkled!) on top.  Repeat with the other 2 portions of dough.

Bake in 225C until a nice golden brown colour.  Do not overcook as this will make them too dry.

Cinnamon perfection! Sublime with a good cup of coffee.

Do you have a favourite traditional childhood treat?


  1. Anonymous1:22 pm GMT+8

    Well, all I can say that you were always a good reader! Well done Pegs!

    Love Mum

  2. Thanks Mum. I hope I have learnt something from all that reading! xo

  3. No disrespect, but I guess the style of making this pastry varies from region to another, but my mun makes them differently. You make the roll and cut it, as you did. After this you press the slice from one side.

    Here's a pic:

    The name of this bun with cinnamon is "Korvapuusti". I've always understood that Pulla is any kind of bun, usually a ball, with sugar on top and no cinnamon.


  4. Oh yes Herman, my Mum also used to make Korvapuusti when we were kids. I have always known these scroll shaped cinnamon buns as 'pulla' but I am not sure if that was just what my grandmother called them hence it has passed down. I know my Mum prefers to make the scroll shaped ones over the Korvapuusti. Maybe I might try to make Korvapuusti next time.

  5. Herman I confirmed this with my Mum. You are correct, Korvapuusti are the buns made with cinnamon and Pulla were made traditionally with just sugar on top (either a plaited loaf or small round buns). My Mum started making the Korvapuusti recipe with the cinnamon into scrolls and then we called them Pulla.

  6. Yep! Cool that you are so interested in your heritage!

  7. hei there. Korvapusti (ear slap) is what I would call this rolled bun. Pulla has no cinnamon, and is a little puffy cardamom bun with pearl sugar on top (or braided bread loaf).

  8. Thanks Eeva, I will actually change my post to be traditionally accurate with the correct term as korvapuusti. Love the translation (ear slap)!


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