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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mämmi, a traditional Finnish porridge or pudding


Mämmi is probably one of the most traditional foods eaten at Easter in Finland.  Traditionally it was baked in boxes made of birch bark, but today you can buy it in cardboard boxes in ever grocery store.  There are a lot of mämmi recipes, but the one I used is from The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas.  Mämmi is a type of baked rye porridge, with a very strong molasses or malted flavor.  I have always loved molasses and enjoy this dish a lot.  

My husband has never really cared for the dish as purchased at the stores in Finland, but when I made it for him fresh, he really enjoyed it and asked if I could make it again.  There really is no substitute for homemade!  This dish had mixed results with the kids--I think part of their objection was the color.

The Finnish recipes generally include grated orange peel, or more specifically, grated bitter orange peel (pomeranssi).  After reading some side effects of bitter orange on Wikipedia, I decided not to include it.  I'm sure the small amount generally used in this dish is probably safe, but it sounds poisonous to me.  I left out the orange peel completely, and evidently that is what my husband didn't like about the purchased dish in Finnish grocery stores!  He commented that the flavor was very authentic except for the lack of a bitter aftertaste.  I took this as a compliment!

The ingredients I used were:

4 cups water (1 liter)
1/2 cup sorghum or dark molasses (1 dl plus 3.5 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rye flour (2.5 dl)

Boil the water, molasses, and salt to a slow boil.  Use a whisk to stir in 1/4 of the rye flour.  Whisk vigorously and turn off the heat.  Let the mixture cool for at least 10 minutes, then whisk in the rest of the flour.


Stir in the remaining rye flour (and two tablespoons of bitter orange peel if you are using it, I didn't).  Remove from heat and pour into a 1.5 quart (1.5 liter) casserole dish.  I sprayed the dish with some cooking spray first, the recipe didn't say that it was necessary to grease the dish, but I think it would stick terribly if you didn't.


Bake at 275 F (135 C) for 3 hours.
  
Serve with whole milk or cream and a sprinkling of sugar.

Hope you enjoy this very traditional dish!

11 comments:

  1. I only buy mämmi every few years as I have to eat the whole box myself. I didn't realize that it was so easy to make. I've been wondering if vanilla ice cream might be a nice change instead of cream.

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  2. This recipe was really easy, I've found others that are more complicated. Many of them call for fine-ground rye malt and Finnish dark syrup, which are hard or even impossible to get here in the U.S. I have some rye malt that is not finely ground, and may try making this with another recipe later. I'll keep you posted! The molasses flavor was very authentic. I bet it would be great with a big scoop of Valio vanilla ice cream! Wish I had some, Finland has the best ice cream!

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    1. You can use Rye or Barley Malt syrup for the recipe. Molasses can replace Finnish dark syrup. It's pretty much the same thing, both derived from cane sugar.

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  3. My grandma makes mammi every Easter for us here in Ohio, so glad I just found your blog on Finnish cuisine! can't wait to start looking more into it [hope you have a recipe for carrot casserole!] Anyway, was wondering if you had an idea of how many calories are in the mammi itself! I know it is usually eaten with sugar and cream, but it seems relatively healthy otherwise!

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  4. Hi Alana! Thanks for the comment! According to thecaloriecounter.com, the whole recipe should have about 900 calories. About 500 from molasses and the rest from the rye flour, which is a whole grain.

    I made carrot casserole in December, you can find the recipe here: http://cookingfinland.blogspot.com/2010/12/finnish-carrot-casserole.html

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  5. Hi there. I tried to make the mämmi yesterday, but it didn't set in the oven after 3 hours of cooking. Have you had similar experiences? Perhaps I should've turned up the heat? I otherwise used the exact same ingredients.

    Greetings from Canada!

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    1. I had the same thing. I had the oven on 300 F, but that's because I know our oven isn't quite as hot as it used to be. XD I was thinking there may have been some boiling and/or chilling I missed before baking for 3 hours? (Like where it said to remove from heat and place in oven, I was like... but it's already removed from heat? Oh well...) >w< I'll try again and see. Maybe I'll use a dish that is more shallow to bake in...

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    2. The Mammi mixture should set after cooling in the fridge. It was somewhat watery for me too after it came out of the oven but after a few days in the fridge it has a perfect consistency.

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  6. My mother is Finnish, and when I go to Finland at Easter time, my relatives always buy some mämmi. I don't like the shop-bought mämmi, and was happy to chance upon this site. I'll give it a try :)

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  7. I made mämmi this year - although your recipe is much quicker than mine!

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  8. This is a quick recipe but is somewhat different than the traditional methods that has been used for centuries. The real recipe also calls for Malt syrup and requires that you add ingredients in 2 hour increments with warm water for a total wait time of 10 hours! You then let it sit in the fridge for 3-5 days before eating. This is an important part of letting the mixture mature.
    Use the following recipe if you want an authentic Mammi:
    http://pap-tasters.blogspot.com/2013/03/mammi-recipe.html

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