When I was a young girl growing up in a small town in northern Finland, there used to be markets held twice a year - in spring and autumn. It used to be the biggest and the most anticipated event, and we'd rush to the markets after school to browse the stalls full of fascinating bric-a-brac, lollies and other not so fascinating things like rugs and brooms (yes, everything was available at the markets).
I would admire the candy stall with a sparkle in my eyes and imagine what goodies I would choose if I'd ever be allowed to buy a whole bag full of treats. My parents were quite strict about eating candy, so instead of getting a full bag full of sweets, I'd be allowed to buy a long string of liquorice instead. Another treat readily available at the markets were bagels - water bagels (plain), vanilla bagels, cinnamon bagels. Mum or dad would always bring home a bag of these, but I didn't find them very exciting back then.
I must admit I had never made Finnish-style bagels prior to this. I've of course changed the original recipe a bit by using whole spelt flour instead of plain white, raw caster sugar instead of normal white one, and olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I also made a cheats queen jam that is literally no effort at all, but makes such a nice addition to these bagels! They may not be the prettiest bagels in the world, but they certainly brought back a lot of memories and I wholeheartedly enjoyed them.
(recipe adapted from Anja Hill)
175 ml warm water
11g dry yeast or 25g fresh yeast
4 tablespoons raw caster sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large free-range eggs, plus a beaten egg to glaze
1 teaspoon salt
450g whole spelt flour
1. Put the water, yeast and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together and leave for about 10 minutes or until bubbly.
2. Add a further tablespoon of the sugar, along with the oil and two eggs in the mixture. Stir until smooth, then add the salt and half the flour. Stir into a smooth paste.
3. Knead in the rest of the flour, then knead for 10 minutes (incorporating more flour or warm water) until the dough is smooth and soft. Leave, covered, for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, then roll the pieces into balls. Roll each ball into a long cigar, then loop into rings. Press the ends together. Place the rings on a baking tray lined with baking paper and leave to rise for a further 15-25 minutes or until soft to touch.
5. Preheat oven to 200C. Bring a large pan of water to boil and add in the rest of the sugar.
6. Drop 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water, boil for one minute, then remove using a slotted spoon. Transfer the boiled rings to a baking tray and brush with a beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then leave to cool on a wire rack.Serve the bagels warm with Queen jam.
Quick and Easy Queen Jam
250g mixed frozen berries
1-2 tablespoon rapadura sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch
1. Put the berries and the sugar in a bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir, then return to the microwave for a further 3-5 minutes.
2. Whisk the potato starch into some cold water to form a smooth, runny paste. Whilst still piping hot, pour the paste slowly into the berry mixture, whisking continuously to form a thick 'jam'. Serve warm.