This is mämmi. It’s traditionally served in Finland and Sweden during the Easter holiday, hence why I’m posting about it now. We had some this past weekend along with dessert – a big dollop served with cream and sugar. It isn’t the most attractive-looking holiday dish on its own, no. Taste-wise, it’s balanced between bittersweet and nutty — pretty much what you’d expect of a paste made from rye flour and malt.
Mämmi also happens to be one of those regional dishes that locals like to make you try in the hopes that you’ll make a funny face. Which doesn’t usually work with me because, well, my particular family history has already exposed me to most of the weirder/extreme things that fall under human gastronomy. In fact, I was just remarking to the husband that it reminded me a lot of the smooth sweet bean paste (azuki variety, especially) that’s used in a lot of Asian pastries. It’s partially the texture and partially the sweetened starchy flavor. And really, if you heaped both of them into matching bowls, it’d be really hard to tell the difference by sight or smell alone. I used to eat that stuff straight out of the can with a spoon if my mother let me.
I was told that the homemade stuff is a lot yummier than the mass-produced stuff you see in boxes at the supermarket. This might be something I’ll have to try making next year, just to see. Part of me is also seeing the potential of mixing it into some buttercream frosting to give my Easter cupcakes extra personality next year. Sadly, it will probably seem more palatable to Finnish tastes than my peanut butter frosting from this year. Which is an entirely different tale of food-related cultural disconnect that will come in another post…