Joulutorttu (Finnish Christmas Tarts)
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
A joulutorttu, which in Finnish means "Christmas tart," is a Finnish Christmas pastry. It is traditionally made from puff pastry in the shape of a star or pinwheel and filled with prune jam and often dusted with icing sugar. The pastries can be in other shapes and apple used in place of the prune jam. Although Joulutorttus are predominantly made in Finland, they are also made in Sweden. The recipe below is a rolled-in dough, similar to laminated dough, but not as technically demanding as making puff pastry.
Yield: 30 cookies
10 1/2 ounces (300 g) pitted prunes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream whipped
1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
1 tbsp milk
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
To make the Prune Jam:
Cover the prunes with water and soak for two hours.
Drain, rinse, and place in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, top with just enough water to cover, and place over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the prunes have softened and are easily mashed, about 20 minutes.
If needed, add a little more water to keep the mixture from burning.Mash the jam to desired consistency or puree. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the Joulutorttu:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour and baking powder. Mix in the whipped heavy cream, followed by the softened butter.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until soft and smooth. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds by folding 1/3rd towards the center followed by the other side towards the center. Roll the dough out again, turn, and fold into thirds again along the other side to form the dough into a square. Roll out a final time to make a square about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut the sheet of dough into 3 inch squares (making about 30). To make the traditional shape, use a sharp knife to make cuts from each corner about halfway towards the center. Place a teaspoon of jam in the center of the square. Lift every other split corner towards the center over the jam filling and pinch together to create a pinwheel/star shape. Place on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining squares.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg and milk. Brush the top of each Joulutorttu with the beaten egg wash. Bake in preheated oven until golden, 7-10 minutes.Allow to cool to room temperature and top with powdered sugar. Refrigerate in an airtight container if not serving immediately.
Adapted from Tara's Multicultural Table