Perunalaatikko, Potato Casserole, Finnish Christmas Food

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Christmas Box Dishes

The traditional Finnish Christmas dish is the boxed meal. They are casseroles made in Laatikko (box) and baked slowly in the oven.
There are many kinds of casseroles such as carrot, potato, and rutabaga. They are all slightly sweet, and the spices go well with the flavors. Sweet for a dish? My image of it is that of the New Year’s bean curd, Kinton in Japanese.
Rutabaga Casserole, Lanttulaatikko, Finnish Christmas Food
Laatikko = boxed dishes, a staple of Finnish Christmas. One of them is a slightly sweet rutabaga casserole. Rutabaga is a kind of turnip.
Carrot Casserole, Porkkanalaatikko, Finnish Christmas Food
Laatikko = boxed meal, a Finnish Christmas staple. This is one of them, a slightly sweet carrot casserole. This is made with carrots and rice. It is a nostalgic taste.

Sugarification of Potato

This potato casserole is sweet. It is much sweeter than other casseroles. The reason for this is that the starch in the potatoes is sugarificated by putting them in the oven slowly.

Starch is called a polysaccharide. This is because it is made up of many sugars attached to each other. When we chew rice, it feels sweet. It is because an enzyme called amylase, which is found in our saliva, cleaves the rice starch to form sugar.

Of course, we don’t use saliva to make casseroles. In fact, wheat flour also contains amylase. By mixing the flour and keeping it at a temperature where the amylase can easily work, the starch in the potato is cleaved and sugar is formed, making it sweet.

Using this sugarification, sweet potatoes from abroad, which are not sweet at all, can be made sweet as Japanese one.
How to Bake Sweet and Delicious sweet Potato
Japanese sweet potatoes are sweet and become soft and flaky when baked. This is a recipe to make sweet potatoes from other countries as well.

Sweet potatoes contain amylase in the potato, so all you have to do is heat the whole potato.

Funawa’s Imo Yokan?

Potato casserole is made by saccharifying potatoes. So compared to other casseroles, it is sweet. And it tastes like Funawa’s Imo Yokan, a famous sweets in Japan. Potatoes, but Funawa sweet potato Yokan. I was very surprised, but no matter how many bites I took, it was still Funawa’s Imo Yokan.
It takes too much time and effort to call it as a recreate recipe of Yokan, but please give it a try when you have time.

Recipe

Perunalaatikko, Potato Casserole, Finnish Traditional Christmas Food

Laatikko is a Finnish Christmas staple. One of them is a sweet and tasty potato casserole. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the taste is excellent. The taste reminds me of Japanese Imo Yokan.
Prep Time2 hrs
Rest Before Cook3 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Servings4 people
INGREDIENTS
  • potatoes 500 g
  • flour 20 g
  • fresh cream 50 g
  • molasses 15 g
  • salt 1/2 tsp
For baking
  • butter 5 g
  • butter
EQUIPMENT
  • Electronic scales
  • Measuring spoon
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • pot
  • aluminum foil
  • Thermometer
  • colander
  • Hand mixer (or potato masher)
  • Oven dish (1L)
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Put the potatoes and water in a pot and heat over medium heat.
  • Boil until a bamboo skewer comes through easily.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 60°C.
  • Remove the potatoes from the pot. Save the boiling water for later use.
  • Using a hand blender or a masher, blend the potatoes into a paste. Add the boiled water little by little until the paste is slightly firmer than porridge.
  • Add half of the flour and mix well.
  • Cover the pot with aluminum foil and stick a thermometer into the potatoes.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. Be careful to keep the temperature of the potatoes at 60-70 degrees.
  • Remove from the oven and mix in the remaining flour.
  • Cover the pot with aluminum foil again and stick a thermometer in the potatoes.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 3 to 5 hours. Be careful to keep the temperature of the potatoes at 60-70 degrees. This process will make the potatoes sweeter.
  • Remove from oven and mix well with milk, cream and seasonings.
  • Place in a heatproof container grease with butter. Smooth the surface and place the 5g of butter for baking on it.
  • Bake in the oven at 175 degrees for 2 hours.
NOTES
This is a very traditional Christmas food. Not everybody likes it, but I definitely do.
Making Potato Casserole is time consuming but well worth the effort. The sweet taste and smooth structure are nice. This is definitely a must-have side dish for a traditional Christmas table.
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