Scandinavian Almond Cake

Scandinavian Almond Cake

The Scandinavian almond cake pan continues to be the number one selling item at Irma’s Finland House. We usually have cake to sample at the store and the pan and trays make a wonderful gift for any occasion.
Beat well: 1 ¼ cup sugar,  1 egg,  1 ½ tsp. almond extract,  2/3 cup milk
Add: 1 ¼ cup flour,  ½ tsp. baking powder
Add:  1 stick melted butter or margarine

Beat mixture well. Spray pan generously using a baking spray with flour immediately before pouring batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clear.

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville
Pea Soup

Pea Soup

We always serve pea soup for our St. Urho’s Day celebration at the store. If you’d like a sample, stop by Irma’s Finland House on March 16th!

2 cups dried whole Swedish yellow peas
2 quarts water
1 smoked pork shank or hock (about 1½ pounds)
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper

Rinse and pick over the Swedish yellow peas, place them in a large pot,
add the water, and let soak overnight. (You may substitute yellow split peas, which do not need to be soaked, but can be cooked immediately).

Add the pork, onion, thyme, and marjoram. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until both the pork and the peas are tender, 1½ to 2 hours.  Add more water if necessary.

Remove and discard the bones from the pork.  Cut the meat into cubes and return them to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.  6 to 8 servings.

From Scandinavian Feasts by Beatrice Ojakangas.

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville
Roberta’s Popovers That Always Pop

Roberta’s Popovers That Always Pop

Roberta Felegy has worked at Irma’s Finland House for many, many years, and although popovers aren’t necessary Scandinavian, hers are always a tremendous hit at the store.

1 cup all-purpose flour or ¾ cup all purpose flour and ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

Start preheating oven to 425 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. When the oven is preheated, turn it down to 400 degrees. Coat popover pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the empty pan in the oven to preheat. (I will probably preheat the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.) Remove the pan from the oven and add batter to each cup. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Leaving the popovers in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes more. Use a paring knife to poke a hole in the side of each popover. Turn the oven off but leave the popovers in the pan in the oven for 5 more minutes.

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville


There are countless variations of gingersnaps in the Scandinavian countries. We always serve these cookies at the store during Christmas time, especially in the shape of a pig. Piggy cookies are a Finnish holidy tradition around here!

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons soda in 1 tablespoon water
2 eggs

3 ¼ cup flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cloves
1 teaspoon ginger

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs. Combine molasses and soda in water. Add to creamed mixture. Combine dry ingredients and mix until blended. Chill dough overnight. Roll ¼ of dough at a time, leaving rest refrigerated. Roll as thinly as possible and cut in desired shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Watch closely.

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville
Almond Sandbakkels

Almond Sandbakkels

Sandbakkels, cookies that are baked in a tiny fluted tin, are a Scandinavian classic. These small shells are usually served with their pretty bottoms up. Some people might fill them with jam or whipped cream.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup pack light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup blanched almonds, finely ground
2 to 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg, almond extract, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the almonds and flour; mix well. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter small, fancy fluted molds or sandbakkel tins. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a log and cut each log into 12 equal pieces. Press each piece into a sandbakkel tin using your thumbs to make a thin, even shell of dough in each.

Place the shells on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden. Invert the tins onto a wire rack. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then gently tap the bottom of each tin to remove the cookies. Makes about 4 dozen.

From The Great Holiday Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville
Oven Pancake (Pannukakku)

Oven Pancake (Pannukakku)

Another staple at Irma’s Finland House is a good, old Finnish oven pancake! We sell the best pan to make a perfect pancake every time!

¼ cup butter
3 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
¾ cup flour
Powdered sugar

Place butter in Pannukakku pan and put on a rack in the center of the oven, preheat to 425 degrees removing pan once the butter has melted. Whisk the eggs and the salt in a medium bowl. Add the milk, whisk in the flour until smooth. Pour the batter into pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the top starts to turn golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with your favorite syrup or lingonberry.

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville
Fruit Soup and Rice Pudding

Fruit Soup and Rice Pudding

Every year on the first Wednesday of December, we celebrate Pikku Joulu (Little Christmas) at Irma’s Finland House. It’s a Finnish celebration that kicks off the start to the Christmas season. Be sure to stop by the store on this day for a wonderful party. Our lovely Finnish ladies are always dressed in their traditional costumes and we have a fantastic spread of goodies to sample including rice pudding with fruit soup.

Rice Pudding

1 cup uncooked rice
3 cups milk
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sliced unblanched almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 whole blanched almond
Light cream

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Stir in the rice and pour into a well-buttered 2 quart casserole. Combine the sliced almonds and cinnamon and sprinkle over the pudding. Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 1 hour or until the pudding has thickened sufficiently. Press the whole almond into the pudding and cover the mark left. Serve either hot or chilled with the light cream to pour over it. Serves 6 to 8.

At Christmastime, a blanched almond is often pressed into this pudding before it is served, and it is said that the person who gets it will have good luck during the following year.

Fruit Soup

1 pound mixed dried fruits (apricots, prunes, pears, and apples)
2 ½ quarts (10 cups) water
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
2 tablespoons cold water
Whipped cream

Simmer the dried fruits in the water with the cinnamon and sugar until the fruits are tender (about 1 hour). Dissolve the cornstarch or potato starch in the 2 tablespoons of cold water, bring the soup to boiling, and stir in the starch mixture. Cook, covered, until the soup has thickened and is clear. Cool with the cover on to prevent a skin from forming on top. To serve, pour over rice pudding and top with whipped cream. Serves 8 to 10.

From The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville


Sima is the May Day drink of Finland. Finns serve this refreshing lemon drink throughout the summer. Its tangy characteristic taste comes from the yeast that is added in the beginning. Don’t feel like making it? Stop by Irma’s on May Day for a sample!

4 quarts water
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/8 cups (approximately) granulated sugar
2 lemons, washed and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon raisins

Heat the water to boiling and stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup of the granulated sugar. Add the lemon slices. Cool to lukewarm and transfer the liquid to a non-metallic container. Add the yeast and stire (but do not add the yeast until the liquid has cooled, or it will not work. To test for the correct temperature, place a few drops of the liquid on your wrist; if it feels neither warm nor cold, it is the right temperature). Let this water-sugar-lemon-yeast mixture stand overnight or at least 8 to 10 hours in a warm place. There should be tiny bubbles around the edges of the liquid after this length of time.

Sterilize 8 pint bottles, 4 quart bottles, or 1 gallon jug, and place 1 or 2 teaspoons granulated sugar per quart of liquid into each container, as well as 3 or 4 raisins. Strain the liquid and pour into the containers. Cork tightly. Let stand at room temperature until the raisins have risen to the top of the bottle (this indicates that the Sima has fermented enough and is ready to drink). In the winter, this may take 2 days or more; in warm weather, only 8 hours. Chill and store in the refrigerator or a cool place. Makes 1 gallon.

From The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville