Fighting your temptations

LaskiaispullaToday marks the first day of Lent in the Christian world, and this day is called Ash Wednesday. What better way to mark the start of the fasting period – when you are supposed to fight all kinds of temptations – than by eating loads and loads of delicious stuff the day before! Hence, the day before Ash Wednesday you have a day called Shrove Tuesday. The name derives from the word shrive which means to “confess”.

A logical thing to do before Lent is to enjoy culinary delicacies and every country indeed has their own way of enjoying themselves!

In the Anglo-Saxon world, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Tuesday and logically involves a lot of pancakes. In France, (surprise surprise) pancakes are also a Mardi Gras favourite, whereas in the Netherlands it is a tradition to enjoy herring on the morning of Ash Wednesday.

In Finland and Sweden there is one treat above all others associated with Lent: a sweet bun filled with whipped cream, almond paste and/or jam. Similar treats are also enjoyed in the other Nordic countries as well as the Baltic States.

In Swedish it is called semla, in Finland-Swedish fastlagsbulle and in Finnish laskiaispulla. As the saying goes, a dear child has many names! All you need to do to enjoy this simple yet tasteful creation, is to make a cardamom-flavoured sweet bun, cut the top off, fill the bun with as much good stuff as your heart desires and enjoy it with a cup of tea or coffee!

And what about you? What did you eat as a “preparation” for Lent?


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