Sunday, 28 August 2011

Joulutorttu - Finnish Christmas Jam Tarts

At Christmas time my Mum always makes traditional Finnish Joulutorttu. Joulutorttu are pastry windmill-shaped tarts with a prune jam filling. I have seen various different recipes online but have gone with one my Mum gave me. I made the pastry from scratch using ricotta however I have seen Joulutorttu made with puff pastry. I personally think the puff pastry tarts looks fluffier however the ricotta pastry is nicer in taste. These are quite fiddly to make but SO worth it. Of course you don't have to wait to Christmas to try them!
500g butter, cubed, at room temperature
500g ricotta
500g plain flour
Mix butter and flour together with your fingers to form a crumby consistency.  Add ricotta and mix until it all comes together to form dough.  Roll into a ball then flatten into a disc shape and wrap in cling wrap, place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
300g pitted prunes
4 tbs sugar
Water (I didn’t measure the water, I would estimate approx ½ to 1 cup – just enough to cover the prunes in a medium sized saucepan)
Soak prunes for 2 hours, rinse, then place into a saucepan. Add the water and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer until the prunes have completely softened (about 15-20 minutes). Stir every so often to ensure it does not stick to the pan. Once the prunes are soft and most of the water has been absorbed remove from the heat. If you want a smooth texture you can puree the jam, however I mash mine with a fork as I prefer a chunkier texture.
Divide pastry dough into 3 portions. Roll the first portion out, fold into three (like an envelope) and roll out again into a square shape about 0.5cm thick. If you roll it too thin the tortut are a bit difficult to handle between the board and the baking tray.  Use flour sparingly to ensure the pastry dough does not stick to the board. I also found if I sprinkled a bit of flour over the dough after the first roll out it makes the dough easier to handle. Cut the pastry into squares about 8x8cm in size.  Make cuts in each corner of every square about halfway to the centre, leaving the middle of the square uncut.

Place a generous teaspoon of jam into the centre of each square.

To make a windmill shape lift one corner of a square and fold into the middle on top of the jam. Brush the top of the pastry corner with lightly beaten egg, and fold the next corner on top of the egg. Continue with the last 2 corners. Press firmly in the middle to ensure the corners stick.

Place the pastries onto a baking tray and brush all over with lightly beaten egg, ensure the corners are sealed well in the centre.
Bake at 225oC for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
Dust with icing sugar when cool, then EAT! Be warned, very addicitive.

** note: you can use ready made jam of any flavour however traditional Joulutortut have homemade prune or apricot jam as the filling.

*** Absolutely must be devoured with good coffee! ***


  1. Well done Pegs, look great and I bet they taste even better! You can also make them into a half moon shape, which is a bit easier than windmill shape which do look more inviting. You have become a "Good cooker"
    Ps. Love your instructions, so graphic.

  2. Thanks Mum, that's a compliment coming from you the 'master cooker'! I saw this little pastry cutter online that cuts the windmill shape, must try to find out where I can buy one.

    I added more instructions to what you gave me for those that have never seen them being made. Of course I remember from seeing you make them a gazillion times!

    I've frozen a bag especially for you. :) xx

  3. Thanks, can't wait to taste them...I get my own coffee..........xx

  4. They look MOUTH-WATERINGLY good!!!
    I love recipes like this, something a bit different for an afternoon tea.
    And MMMMMM prunes :) I love them.

  5. Yum - My mouth is watering. These look delicious! I think I will have to give them a try, although I'm not sure I will be able to create the windmill shape as beautifully as you have done here. Might start with the half moon shape as your mum suggests.

    p.s love the coffee mug!

  6. Haha Mum! Touché. I'll point you in the direction of the coffee. :p xx

  7. Toni they really are scrummy! The pastry melts in your mouth. And prunes mmmmm. I heat them up for a few seconds in the microwave, warm prune jam is just divine! Good for an after dinner treat too, with coffee. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  8. Teresa I deliberately didn't take pictures of my very first batch. I rolled the first lot of dough too thin so they were hard to handle and wound up looking crazy! Half moon shaped ones will be just as delicious.

    Unikko is bliss! xo

  9. Glad to be your newest follower. I like the recipe, I prefer it for my tea party.

  10. Glad you dropped in, thank you. :) These tarts would be PERFECT for a tea party.

  11. Mmmmm.
    A delicious work of art!

  12. They started off quite fiddly Shar but by the end I had pretty much mastered the shape. By golly they are delicious though, SO worth the trouble to make!

  13. Anonymous2:22 am GMT+8

    lovely to see someone make these with the "old-fashioned" recipe - the fluffy ones are terrible. good work.

  14. Thank you. I love to stick to the original, traditional recipe if I can. And this pastry is DREAMY! I made a vegetable tart with the same pastry yesterday (with added salt) and it was delicious.

    Thanks for dropping in and for the feedback. :)

  15. those look divine!! you are making it very hard for me to stay off sugar ! my mom would love these - will show her the recipe - it is very similar to a jewish recipe we love called humantashen (ignore my sad spelling - it is my attempt at a phonetical way...

  16. Oooh you must post the recipe for those Deb, do they also have jam in them? I must google them.

    These were my faves as a kid (along with Finnish Pulla) and I still love them now. Making some on Christmas Eve, can't wait!

  17. Anonymous9:24 am GMT+8

    googled ricotta pastries and this recipe popped up in images. WOW! made half batch to try out and almost ate the lot myself. Used quince paste instead of prunes for filling. Still sensational.


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