1. Baked ham (Kinkku)
The undisputed winner was baked ham, king of the Finnish Christmas dinner. Most Finns could not imagine Christmas without ham. Slowly baking the ham in the oven is one of a Finnish Christmas ritual. Ham tastes best with homemade mustard. Any leftover ham is usually added to pea soup after Christmas. Delicious!
2. Rutabaga casserole (Lanttulaatikko)
Surprisingly, number two was rutabaga casserole. All the Christmas casseroles were popular, but this one topped them all. Casserole dishes, Finnish cuisine at its best, can easily be prepared a few days in advance.
3. Christmas pastries (Joulutorttu)
Who could resist these pastries filled with plum jam? Of all the Christmas desserts, these were the overwhelming winner among our readers. The aroma of freshly baked pastries goes a long way towards getting you in the Christmas spirit. Dust your star-shaped delights with powdered sugar when they have cooled off. Eat, enjoy and repeat!
4. Rice porridge (Riisipuuro)
What could be more comforting than bowl of steaming rice porridge? Usually the porridge is served with sugar and cinnamon on top. Some prefer it with a fruit broth known as “fruit soup.” Traditionally an almond is hidden in the pot of porridge. Whoever finds the almond in her or his serving gets to make a wish. Sometimes rice porridge is served for breakfast.
5. Gingerbread cookies (Piparkakut)
The scent of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg is inseparable from Finnish Christmas. It comes from baking gingerbread cookies. The dough is delicious by itself, especially if you ask your children. How much of it actually makes it to the oven without getting eaten? Many of our Facebook readers mention that they drink warm glögi (mulled wine) with their cookies.
By Tiina Krook, December 2014