Thousands of stars are being born in thousands and thousands of Finnish homes this time of the year, and no, I am not talking about the "fifteen minutes of fame" kind of stars, but more like "the fifteen minutes in the making" kind. What I am talking about is Christmas stars, the edible kind. There are really two kinds of baked goods that are essential parts of Finnish Christmas time: gingerbread cookies and Christmas stars. I'll try and post more about gingerbread later, but let's talk about Christmas stars this time!
Christmas stars, which actually can also be made into a half-moon shape, if so desired, are made of puff pastry and plum jam. You can also use soft prunes instead of jam, like my Mom used to do, but most people use plum jam. This time of the year both plum jam and special frozen Christmas star puff pastry are in good supply in every food store around here! Most people use forzen puff pastry as it comes in packets of five small sheets that you only have to cut in two to make two Christmas stars from each sheet. Of course those with an extra amount of Christmas spirit may opt for making their own puff pastry, and I guess some with all year round Christmas spirit might even have their home-made plum jam stored in the basement waiting for Chrismas star baking...
I do not admit of having any less Christmas spirit than Santa Claus himself (and he does live in Finland, you know that, don't you?) and Rudolf combined, but I am a busy, professional lady with only 24 hours in every day (and night) and I should also get my beauty sleep, otherwise I will most surely scare away both Santa C and Rudolf when they come to visit me on Christmas Eve. And I am very positive they will call on the evening of the 24th as I have been very, very, very good this whole year, really, truly, I promise, scout's honour. Hmm, ups, I never was s scout...
Anyways, feel free to use any puff pastry recipe you like. My stars are proud to admit that they are made of ready-made puff pastry!
Finnish Christmas Stars
For 10 stars you will need:
500 g puff pastry
ca. 100-150 g plum jam
1 egg for brushing
1. If using ready-made frozen puff pastry, let the pastry thaw in room temperature. If your pastry is not pre-made into sheets, roll it out into a thickness of ca. 0,5 cm or little less.
2. Using a pastry wheel cut the pastry into 10x10 cm squares.
3. From each corner of each square cut a diagonal line about 2/3 way towards the centre.
4. Using a teaspoon put a spoonful of plum jam into the centre of each square.
5. After you have cut the diagonal lines each square now has 8 "points" or we might perhaps call them corners. Turn every other corner towards the middle of the square. Wet the corners a little, and press well, so that they will stay together also in the oven. And see, there is your little star! Twinkle, twinkle!
6. To make the stars even prettier, brush them with some egg.
7. And into the oven they go! 225 Centigrade for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is beautifully golden.
8. Remove the stars from the oven, take a deep breath and inhale the sweet smell of Christmas time!
9. If you like, you may sprinkle the stars with some icing (confectioners') sugar. I prefer mine without.
10 Enjoy warm or cold. They taste so good either way!
I have nine little stars cooling down in the kitchen this very minute and one in the tummy! :) I will save the rest for later and will give half of them to my Dad. I will not eat another one tonight, I promise, scout's honour...