Lanttusupikkaat are traditional Finnish savory pastries that I grew up eating and deeply loving. Lanttu means swede / rutabaga and supikas (supikas: singular, supikkaat: plural) means both a traditional leather shoe and this filled rye pastry! Lanttusupikkaat (also referred to as “syrjikäs/syrjikkäät”) are made with minimal ingredients, but they definitely have maximum of flavor! It’s just rye dough, filled with swede and pork belly. As the supikkaat slowly bake, the swede softens and the fatty pork literally melts inside the rye casing… One bite of this and I’m in heaven!
Different families likely have their own traditional methods of making lanttusupikkaat. Some prefer to cook the swede slices in advance, or even puree them. In my opinion there’s only one correct way: grandma’s way! She would slice the raw swede paper thin, then season it with salt and sugar. The moisture would draw out and soften the slices, which were then layered on top of each other and topped off with pork belly! It’s almost like a savory pork-rye-swede millefeuille 😀 This blog post explains in detail how my grandma made lanttusupikkaat. I’m currently the only one in our family who still makes these, but maybe you’ll become a part of our culinary tradition? It’s a tedious project, but totally worth the effort!
My mother’s mother was named Kaarina, but we lovingly called her Mamma.She was, and still is, a super important person in my life. I’ve been interested in cooking since I was little, and Mamma influenced my taste as much as my mom did. In my childhood home things like mung bean sprouts, halwa and fried eggplant seasoned with Herbamare were on the menu, and mom taught us to roll “cigarettes” out of fresh new cabbage. I grew up munching on raw veggies whilst watching TV! At grandma’s it was different: we’d eat Karealian dishes like lanttusupikkaat and “ahvenpotti”! (Ahvenpotti is a perch pot pie of sorts. Super delicious recipe that deserves its own blog post!) and Mamma would teach my her recipes to the T. These are two kinds of food memories, and both are extremely dear to me!
Mamma was from the West of Finland, Ostrobothnia, and Ukki (my grandpa) from East, Vyborg (now part of Russia). It makes sense that Mamma’s cooking was a mix of Ostrobothnian and Karelian dishes – things she and Ukki grew up with. But she was also curious to try new recipes from magazines and TV, and whatever she made, we were happy to eat! For instance: the first time I’ve eaten kale was not at a hip and trendy healthy restaurant, but at Mamma’s table back in the 90’s 😀
I was always eager to participate in all food related chores, be it gutting the fish or stirring the pot under Mamma’s supervision. I inherited Mamma’s old cookbooks and handwritten recipe notes, and they are safely stored for reference! Lanttusupikkaat is however a dish I learned 100% by doing. As I already said, I’m the only one in our family who still makes them. But that’s exactly why I’ve wanted to share the recipe with all of you – I want to keep this recipe alive! I originally posted the recipe in Finnish in 2014, as I was making lanttusupikkaat for Mamma’s 88th birthday, and I’ve been thinking of translating the recipe in English ever since. Somehow it took me this long to finally get it done. I really hope this blog post finds even just a few people out there, curious of traditional Finnish recipes!
Lanttusupikkaat on their way to the oven…
…lanttusupikkaat all done!
In my opinion, Mamma’s method is The Only Way to make these tasty pastries. But, as I already mentioned, it really is a labor of love. The process is slow and tedious, especially if you’re making them on your own… Which is probably why I only take on the task every two years or so. I used to make them for my grandparents as they grew old and weren’t up to cooking anymore. Now Mamma and Ukki are both already gone, so I’ve been randomly treating my mother and sisters with lanttusupikkaat instead ♥
…as my mamma made them
The last time I made these was a surprise for mom’s 70th birthday! As I was shaping the supikkaat with Mamma’s old knife and pulikka (rolling pin) I remembered vividly her voice. She’d tell me to round off all the sharp edges, to cut the swede thinner! To make the edges of the dough thinner than the middle. And she would carefully taste the salt and sugar ratio that the paper thin slices of swede were seasoned with… Everything had to be just so.
Traditionally lanttusupikkaat are filled with swede and porkbelly, but I’ve often made also a vegetarian/vegan version. You can simply leave out the pork, but in my opinion it’s best to substitute it with a slice of (vegan) butter! Fat gives the filling flavor and richness, don’t skimp on it! The recipe I’ve written here is long and detailed, because I want to explain Mamma’s process as true to life as possible. After all, lanttusupikkaat are more than just food to me. The recipe is a living memory of Mamma, Ukki and a cherished time that has long past. I want to do it justice ♥
My grandmother's lanttusupikkaat
- Rolling Pin
- 400 g swede/rutabaga (choose small and round swedes)
- 150-200 g pork belly
- 2-3 tsp salt
- 1-2 tbsp sugar
- 5 dl rye flour
- 1 dl wheat flour
- 3 dl cold water (approximately)
- 1 tsp salt
- 0,5 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 dl rye flour (to help with the rolling)
- 1 dl swede juice + melted butter
- Peel the swede and cut it in half. Cut paper thin half moons out of each piece, you should see the blade through the slices! A mandolin will make this part of the job a lot easier.
- The slices of swede need to be very thin, but they also should not have any sharp corners. The sharp edges may break the dough later on, resulting in dry lanttusupikas! I usually have a pair of scissors at hand, so I can reshape any dangerously sharp pieces.
- As the slices are ready, layer them in a bowl, sprinkling some salt and sugar between the layers. Once you've sliced the whole swede, cover the bowl and put the swedes in the fridge to soften and release their juices. Whilst this happens, you'll have time to make the dough!
- Mix the rye and wheat flour, salt and baking powder. Mix the oil with 2 dl of cold water, adding this to the flour mixture. Keep adding more water until the dough comes together to a smooth ball. It should not be sticky but not too dry either! Wrap the dough ball to cling film and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
- After about an hour of swede resting time, it's time to start baking! Collect all the liquid that came out of the swede slices into a separate bowl. Cut the pork belly to strips of about 10 cm long and 5mm thick. You'll need as many pieces as there will be lanttusupikkaat.
- Organize your work space so, that you have the swede, the dough, the pork and the swede liquid at hand.
Shaping and baking:
- Divide the dough in two, and roll the pieces to logs of about Ø3 cm. Cut the logs in two, and again in two, and again in 2-3 pieces, so you'll end up with 16-24 pieces, depending if you want your supikkaat bigger or smaller. Roll each piece to a small ball, and cover with cling film so that the dough will not dry out.
- Then you're ready to start shaping your lanttusupikkaat! Take a ball of dough and roll it out to an oval of about 2-3 mm thickness. Sprinkle the dough with some rye flour to prevent sticking! The oval should be thicker in the middle and thinner on the edges, since the edges will be folded over each other. (Mine are usually about 12 cm wide and 18 cm long.)
- Fill up one half of the oval, leaving about 2 cm empty space in the edges. You'll need about 1 cm layer swede slices, topped off with a piece of pork belly. My grandmother always added first a few perfect half moon swede slices, then lots of odd bits and broken pieces, and finally a layer of perfect half moons again, making sure that there are no sharp edges peaking through anywhere.
- Once you've filled the supikas, brush a little swede liquid to the empty edge. Fold the other side of the oval over the filling and gently press it down to the wet surface to seal the supikas. Try not to have much air left inside the pastry. Fold the sealed edge over itself to double seal the pastries. You can add a little water to "glue" the dough to itself. (Check out the process pics from below!)
- Leave the filled up lanttusupikas covered, while you repeat the rolling and filling, until you run out of dough and/or swede.
- Bake the lanttusupikkaat in 200°C oven (upper level) for about 15 minutes, to harden the pastry. Then lower the heat to 160°C and keep baking for about 1,5 hours (middle level). Take the tray out every half an hour and baste the lanttusupikkaat with a mixture of the remaining swede liquid and melted butter.
- After the baking time is over, the swede is fully soft and the lanttusupikkaat are almost done! You still need to do one step though. My grandmother always said this step was super important: you should wrap up the hot lanttusupikkaat in parchment paper and blankets and leave them to cool off slowly. This way the moist filling sort of steams the now hard pastry shell and the supikas becomes softer to eat!
- My grandmother sometimes even tugged the lanttusupikkaat "to bed" over night (they went to sleep under the sofa cushions 😀 ) and we just had to wait. I usually wrap the supikkaat in parchment and some kitchen towels, and leave them on the table top for a few hours. I have no patience for a longer rest...
Last piece of advice is: eat the lanttusupikkaat while they are still a little warm, and eat them in good company! If you went through all this trouble, might as well share the results with your loved ones! That’s what my dear Mamma did too.
Fold the dough over the filing and seal out most of the air. Press gently, avoid tearing and holes! If something breaks, use a tiny piece of dough and water to fix the hole.
Fold the sealed edge over itself to create a second seal! A bit of water will glue the dough to itself.
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