Yesterday we went to the local cat house/rescue centre. We go there semi-regularly, though it was the first time we’d been this year. They were having one of their money-raising sales, so we went along and ate makkara, took a look at what they had for sale, and (of course) went in to see the kitties!
The rescue centre is set up very differently from English ones. In England the animals are in their own separate “rooms”, with an outdoor and indoor area. There may sometimes be two two together if they are to be rehomed together. Or, if there’s a mum and babies they will normally be together. Visitors are allowed to walk around the outside and look in to see the animals in the outside part, as long as they aren’t hiding inside.
At our local rescue centre here in Lahti, they have five rooms for the cats. Each room is about the size of a cozy living room. They have tables and bunk beds and rugs and scratching posts and all sorts of toys, as well as an opening to an outside area of a similar size, which has more chairs and toys.These rooms have I would guess about ten to fifteen cats in them, all living together.
Unlike in the English rescue centres you are welcome to go in and spend some time with the animals.
That’s assuming you can find them.
Many of the animals are very timid, or very grumpy. Chances are most of them will run away outside where you can’t get them, or they will be hiding under something. However most rooms will have one or two cats that are tolerant of humans. Occasionally there will even be a friendly one.
Yesterday, for example, in one of the rooms was a lovely white and brown tomcat. He rushed to the door the second it was opened to greet us visitors, and insisted on being stroked and petted the whole time we were in there. He wasn’t keen on being picked up though. When we were walking along past the outside area of his room he ran up to greet us, and cried through the mesh to be stroked.
I wish we could have taken him home with us.
I even suggested S put him in his backpack! We were told he hadn’t been there very long, and had come in with another cat who was somewhat less friendly. Judging by his temperament, he will find a forever-home in no time.
But enough rambling. I have a recipe for you. Want to make some pulla?
Traditional Finnish pulla is a slightly sweet bread, typically flavoured with cardamom and served with coffee. Finns love coffee.
This pulla is slightly different.
I first tried Dallaspulla a few months ago; S spotted some when we were doing our food shopping and insisted we buy it. The one we bought was a “loaf”, though it can also be bought in bun form.
Dallaspulla is not flavoured with cardamom. Dallaspulla is yummy gooey vanilla-y bready goodness. From what I remember, the loaf didn’t last long.
We knew fairly quickly that we wanted to try and make our own. After a search of the web we came up with a few different recipes that all looked promising. I don’t remember how we narrowed down the choice, but the one we ended up with was perfect!
This recipe makes buns, but could probably be adapted to a loaf fairly easily. In fact I would quite like to try that next time…
The original recipe is in Finnish. Don’t worry – I translated it, though I’ve put the ingredient names in Finnish and English in case anyone is interested. I also went into a bit more detail with the instructions.
Source – KotiKokki (in Finnish)
Servings – approximately 18 buns
Time – about an hour, including rising time
For the dough:
25g yeast (not the dry kind, the other stuff) / hiiva
3dl milk / maitoa
1dl sugar / sokeria
1tsp salt / suolaa
8dl (approx.) flour / jauhoja
100g butter, room temperature / voita
For the filling:
150g butter, room temperature / voita
200g vanilla flavoured fromage frais / vaniljarahkaa
0.5dl golden syrup / vaaleaa siirappia
1 packet vanilla sauce mix / vaniljakastikeaineksia
1tbsp vanilla sugar / vaniljasokeria
For the egg-wash:
1 egg, beaten
For the dough:
On a clean work surface (or if you like to avoid mess, in a bowl) combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix together with your hands.
Rub in the butter.
Make a nice, deep well in the centre of your floury mixture.
Pour 1dl of milk into the well and carefully draw in the flour mix (trying not to break the walls and cause a flood) until the milk is incorporated. Repeat with the other 2dl of milk. If you’re making it in a bowl you can put it all at once, but on a work surface this is liable to cause a flood.
Once all the milk is incorporated you should have a wonderfully sticky dough that refuses to let go of your hands or the work top. If you made your dough in a bowl, you’ll want to turn it out onto a surface now for kneading.
Knead your dough. Kneading is therapeutic, that’s a fact. (Please note, that may not be a fact, I just decided it was.) Kneading may take some time. When the dough stops sticking to everything and forms a lovely happy ball of doughy goodness, it is now ready.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a teatowel, and leave somewhere warm-ish (but not hot!) to rise, for about half an hour. Whilst you wait, make the filling.
For the filling:
Ensure your butter is nice and soft. If necessary, go ahead and melt it a little.
In a bowl, mix together the butter and vanilla-flavoured fromage frais.
Add the syrup and mix.
Add the vanilla sauce ingredients and vanilla sugar, and mix again until well incorporated.
Pre-heat the oven to 225C/425F/gas mark 7.
Line a baking sheet with greasproof paper.
Once your dough is nicely risen, tip it out of the bowl onto your (newly re-cleaned) work surface.
With a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle. I could tell you that your dallaspulla will be ruined if you cannot achieve a perfect rectangle with non-rounded corners, but that would be mean.
Spoon 3/4 of the filling mixture onto the dough, and spread almost all over. Don’t go right to the edges; you don’t want it to squeeze out when you roll up the dough!
Roll the dough into a sausage shape, lengthways. I made a diagram of how to roll it…
Using a sharp knife (or similar – we used a pizza cutter which worked really well) cut the pulla into approximately 2cm long pieces. Another diagram!
You should, in theory, end up with about 18 pieces.
Note: The pulla may be easier to cut if it is refrigerated for a short while first. I can’t say how long, because we haven’t tried it that way yet, but I think doing so may help prevent the dough squishing and spreading as it is cut.
Place the cut pulla onto the prepared baking sheet, face up.
Brush the beaten egg onto each pulla. Then spread the remaining filling on top of each pulla.
Bake the dallaspulla in the preheated oven for about 13 minutes until golden.
I believe these are normally eaten room temperature, but I think they are delicious warm from the oven.
Traditionally pulla is served with coffee, but feel free to drink whatever you want whilst you eat it!
And, as always, enjoy it!