Citizens, I write you with great excitement now from 39,000 feet in the air, on a flight from Finland to Norway, to tell you about a magnificent treat I first tried yesterday in far northern Finland!
I was eating at the cafeteria of the University of Oulu, when a beacon of heavenly northern sunlight arced through a window to highlight a humble sugar donut.
Sensing the undeniable hand of divine intervention, I bought it. Tasted it…and fell in love with a fantastic cardamom-scented sugar donut known as munkit that is worthy of TFD’s unmatched palate!
In Finland, donuts are called monks (munkki, in Finnish). They are so named as a reference to tonsures, a hairstyle often worn by monks. It is called so because the tonsure is a hairstyle where hair goes all around the head but is bald on the top, thus referencing the shape of the ring donut.
As noted on Finland.fi:
Doughnuts are another fried food customarily consumed on May Day. The Finnish version is called munkki. The word means “monk,” and legend has it that the name refers to the similarly brown colour of monastic robes or the round shape of the monks themselves, or both. A munkki is slightly more substantial than the product you’d typically find in a North American doughnut shop.
Many varieties exist, both yeast doughnuts and cake doughnuts, sometimes filled with jam or covered in sweet icing. However, the time-honoured May Day munkki is a hearty yeast doughnut rolled in sugar right after frying.
Grocery stores sell doughnuts and smaller doughnut “holes,” but many Finns make them at home. A common practice is to make doughnuts on the morning of May Day so you can bring them with you to an afternoon picnic.
The cardamom flavor of munkit is what makes this donut truly special – I’ve made a few tweaks to the classic recipe by using Finnish birch syrup as a unique sweetener (maple syrup is also effective) and using vanilla sugar instead of regular granulated sugar.
Munkit are a fantastic dessert, Citizens, very worthy indeed of your collective sweet tooth! 🙂 Enjoy this as part of a Finnish meal, I am partial to Finnish pea soup, personally.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
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