In Finland and Sweden, joulutorttu (also known as Finnish Christmas tarts) are a very popular treat for the holiday season. And once you try one, you'll know exactly why.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, these delicious pastries are a must-have. It is a traditional recipe that has been around for generations, with origins from the 18th century. In the months of November and December, colleagues, friends, and families gather to have Little Christmas or Pikkujoulu parties where they share stories and chat over food, fresh baked tarts, and a glass of wine.
“Christmas calories don’t count.”
Are you short on time in the kitchen? This recipe is every busy bee's best friend. I think we can all agree that the holiday season is an overwhelming time as it is, but that shouldn’t stop us from making the most out of it. So, give these Christmas tarts a chance to brighten your day this holiday season when you have guests coming over on a busy Friday night or when you've been asked to deliver baked goods during a week that is already over-crowded.
What are Joulutorttu?
Joulutorttu is a Finnish Christmas dessert that is traditionally made with puff pastry and a jam filling. And while traditionally the tarts are made with plum jam, we wanted to experiment with other flavours as well to compare what we love most. We made our tarts using plum jam and green marmalade candy (vihreät kuulat) – and while one of us preferred the green marmalade candy, the other chose the plum jam, making it a tie. In the past, we've also made tarts with Nutella and raspberry jam, and those turned out just as good. And one of the best things about Christmas tarts is that you can use any ingredient that is already on your kitchen shelf.
In addition, the tarts can also be made in different shapes and sizes, with the star tarts being the most popular. Although the star tarts seem to be the easiest, feel free to experiment with your puff pastry and brush up your pastry art skills.
What to pair with Finnish Christmas tarts?
The best way to enjoy Christmas tarts is hot out of the oven with a warm glass of glögi (or Finnish mulled wine). Naturally, Finland experiences a significant drop in temperature in the months of November and December. And there is nothing more comforting than a few warm glasses of glögi with a batch of freshly baked cookies or pastries. The combination of joulutorttu and glögi seldom needs anything else, but another thing one might want to pair it with are gingerbread cookies or a slice of pie.
Can the tarts be pre-made?
Joulutorttu is best straight out of the oven. And considering the simplicity of the recipe and the lack of any time-consuming steps, they should be straight-forward to prepare when you need them. Since puff pastry doesn't do well in the refrigerator, we advise against refrigerating them. If tarts do happen to go cold, feel free to reheat them in the microwave or oven for a minute or two to keep them warm and crunchy.
Couple of Expats Christmas tarts in a nutshell:
Traditional Finnish dessert recipe
Joulutorttu recipe in English
Simple and easy
Child friendly – feel free to involve kids in the fun