Paasiainen is approaching. How about some Mämmiä this year?
This is one of those suspicious-looking Finnish "kansanomaisia jälkiruokia" that have to be taken trustingly. It's really good once you get over the appearance. (Truuust me!)
6 quarts water
1 lb. malt
3 lbs. rye flour
molasses to taste
1-2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. chopped orange rind
Mix the malt and flour. In a large cooking pan (with a heavy bottom if available), heat about 2 quarts of the water and add enough of the flour/malt mix to form a thin mixture (like velli). Sprinkle with a layer of malt and flour. Cover the pan and place in a warm place to sweeten, about one hour. Now mix the sprinkled flour and malt into the mixture. Add more hot water and again a layer of flour and malt. Leave to sweeten. Repeat as often as needed to include all remaining water, flour and malt. With the last addition, season the mämmi to taste with molasses and orange rind. Cook for about 10 mins., stirring constantly. Whip till cooled. Place in low pans (ah, to have those birch bark mämmituokkoset available!) Do not fill too full, because mämmi will raise in the oven. Bake in moderate oven for about 1-2 hours. Temperatures that are too low during cooking and baking tend to make the mämmi bitter. Baked mämmi will be cooled quickly and served with cold cream and sugar. Hyvää ruokahalua!
***To bring Finnish paasiainen to your table, grow some rye grass in a large pan (start about 2-3 weeks before Easter, inside, of course) and place feathery little toy chickies in it. Don't forget to look for pussy willows to include in your arrangements of tulips, narcissi, crocuses and lilies, or let them go solo! Yellow is the color for paasiainen, so go for it!***
Contributed by Liisa Berg
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