Biscuits for Gentlefolk - Finnish raspberry jam filled sandwich biscuits


Raspberry jam sandwich biscuits - traditional Finnish recipe

I was reminded about this recipe by a discussion online. Someone was posting a question trying to find the recipe for these raspberry jam filled sandwich biscuits, a bit like Jammy Dodgers, but softer and lovelier. The person asking had been given the delicious cookies by their professor (my professor never gave me biscuits, which probably was a good thing considering his personal hygiene which was questionable at best), who had Finnish roots and it was his grandmother's secret recipe, which the good professor would not reveal. Only it probably isn't that secret. This is the kind of thing everybody's grandmother would have made. 

Actually I can't remember either of my grandmothers making these. One of them didn't really bake, she was a bit of a posho and didn't excel in the kitchen or other practical things apart from the very useful everyday skill of embroidery. I think she never washed her hair herself but had it done at the salon. But I remember she always bought lovely handmade patisserie, many of it with pink icing which I very much approved of. My maternal grandmother on the other hand had no time for embroidery, washed her hair in a lake and was a great cook and baker. 

I have heard cookery genes are passed from mother to daughter, which would make sense because my mother is a great cook as are my sister and I. The same apparently goes with handicraft genes which are visibly absent from my maternal mitochondrial DNA. When everyone else in the class where crocheting multicoloured pot holders like there was no tomorrow I was given special dispensation and produced several meter long chain stitch erm... chains. With a little bit of creativity I'm sure there are many uses for these things. I might explore that in a separate blog post.

A friend of mine was even more pathetic sewing a skirt shut at the waist. Teacher gave her otherwise good feedback on the effort, but was a bit baffled as to how anyone would get into the skirt.

So these cookies were not handed over to me on a cellular level, but we had a lovely hired auntie, Auntie Mäkelä. She came once a week to clean and bake (mum was a great cook and homemaker, but was also a career woman, hence the hired Auntie). I remember the frantic cleaning every Wednesday to make the house ready for Auntie Mäkelä to clean on Thursdays. And Thursday afternoons when we got home from school the kitchen counters would be covered with tins of Cinnamon buns and biscuits and all kinds of goodies including these traditional raspberry jam biscuits.

We knew not to touch anything. Auntie Mäkelä wanted my mother to see everything she had made, so that she would know we were getting value for money. We were always given a huge plate of the cut-off ends or slightly off coloured ones which we were absolutely happy with and wouldn't dream of touching the end products that had passed Auntie Mäkelä's strict quality control.

One Thursday afternoon Auntie Mäkelä came to my room visibly distressed. "You must come and help. The American is eating all the biscuits." We were hosting an American exchange student who all the teenage girls in the town including me were in love with and who of course turned out to be gay. He had a bit of a sweet tooth and was digging into the biscuits and cakes with both hands and just laughing maniacally in his sugar-high when Auntie Mäkelä tried to slap his fingers or force the lids on the tins.

I don't remember if I managed to shoo him off, but at least I was a witness so I could tell Mum when she got home that it was the greedy Texan who was at fault.

Biscuits for Gentlefolk - Finnish raspberry jam filled sandwich biscuits

Gentlefolk's biscuits with raspberry jam filling (makes about 35)

I'm not sure where the name for these comes from. Maybe they were thought a bit fancy with the raspberry jam and sugar coating. Maybe they were the kind that the kitchen maids were not allowed to eat or serve to the other staff, but were for the family only.

I found this recipe and just translated it. There are other versions online as well, some with a splash of double cream (just add together with the egg), which I imagine might make them even better.

200 g butter
1 1/4 dl sugar
1 egg
1 tl vanilla extract or paste
4 dl all purpose flour
1 tl baking powder
for filling: raspberry jam
decoration: caster sugar

Whisk the room temperature butter and sugar together and keep blending until light and airy. Fold in gently the egg, vanilla and dry ingredients. Form into a ball and refrigerate for a little while so it firms up and is easier to roll.

Dust the work surface and the rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough until 3-4mm thin. Use a round cutter and place pieces on a baking sheet (original recipe says it should make about a 100, but I must have made them thicker or larger - I got 70 out of it) .

Bake in 185C for 8-10 minutes. The biscuits should be done but not change colour. Cool and top half of them with a small spoonful of raspberry jam. Sandwich together with the rest of the biscuits.

Pour caster sugar on a plate and roll each biscuit in the sugar until nicely covered on both sides.

They should be let to rest in a tin at least overnight before serving and they actually improve if you keep them for a couple of days before eating.

Biscuits for Gentlefolk - Finnish raspberry jam filled sandwich biscuits

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