Chef Welch's Recipes

Chef Sirpa Welch's presentations were among the most popular FinnFest activities. Here are the recipes for the dishes she prepared at the festival.


Finnish Strawberry Cake

Midsummer time also brings the fresh local strawberries to the market. Long summer days allow the berries to develop intense, sweet flavors. Finnish strawberry cake is a bit more moist and less sugary than its American cousin, the strawberry shortcake.


•4 eggs

•1 cup sugar

•1 tsp of Vanilla sugar or 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

•3/4 cup all-purpose flour

•¼ cup of potato starch*

•1tsp baking powder

To moisten the cake:

•½ cups of milk or apple juice

•1 tsp of Vanilla sugar or 1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Filling and topping:

•2 lbs fresh Strawberries, divided evenly (for filling and topping)

•2 cups heavy cream, divided evenly

•2 tbs sugar

•1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9-Inch springform pan with unflavored breadcrumbs or regular flour. Combine eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture turns white and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Mix both flours and baking powder in a separate bowl. Carefully fold the flour mixture through a sieve into the egg/sugar batter and mix only until smooth. Pour the cake batter into the baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes until the cake starts pulling off the sides of the cake pan and the top is brown.

Let the cake cool down and use a serrated knife to cut into 2 or 3 layers (depending on size). Mix milk/apple juice with vanilla extract. Moisten the cake layers with the mixture, but avoid soaking them.

Whip half of the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla sugar together for until it forms soft peaks for the whipped cream. Cut half of the strawberries in slices. Add a little whipped cream on the bottom layer of the cake and top it with a layer of sliced strawberries. Add the middle layer of the cake and top it with whip cream and strawberries as before. Place the remaining layer on top and wrap the cake in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for couple of hours.

Whip the remaining the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla sugar together. Spread the whipped cream over the top and sides of the cake. Place whole strawberries on top to finish.



Lindstomin pihvit

1 dl bread crumbs

1 dl sour cream or water

100 g pickled beets

1 onion

1 egg

1 tbls capers

½ tsp salt

½  tsp black pepper

1 lb ground beef or pork

-add bread crumbs and egg to your sour cream let it swell for few minutes

-shred the beets and chop the onions

-sauté onions with butter until soft let it cool down

-add beets, onions, capers, ground meat and the spices to bread crumb egg mixture

-mix until well combined                        

-form patties or meat balls

-bake them in the over or fry them using sauté pan

-serve the patties with caramelized onions or gravy



Finnish pancakes

5dl  milk


2 ½ dl  plain flour

2 tbsp oil or melted butter

½ Salt

1-2 tbls Sugar

Butter or oil for frying

150g g spinach or grated  carrots


Pour the milk into a bowl. Add the flour and seasoning. Mix until smooth. Add the eggs and oil or melted butter, slightly cooled. Heat the butter in a frying pan and pour in some batter. Cook the pancake until set and golden-brown. Flip the pancake over and cook the other side. Serve with jam, whipped cream, berries, cinnamon and sugar, honey or maple syrup. For a savoury version you can also add 100 ml of blanched spinach, grated carrot or potato



Salmon tartar

Cold smoked salmon diced

Saaristolaisleipa diced



Sour cream



Lemon zest

Whole grain mustard



New Potatoes

One of the highlights of the Finnish summer is when the new crop of potatoes arrives to the market during midsummer. These small potatoes have a delicate thin skin that washes away when rubbed with hard bristle (or fingers) under water. To keep the nutty, sweet taste and the dense texture of the vegetable, cook the potatoes only to al dente and allow the steam finish the cooking.

•2 lbs of new crop potatoes or baby potatoes

•1 bunch of dill, tops removed, keeping the stems

•1 bunch of green onions (green parts only)

•1 tbsp butter

•1 ½ tsp of coarse salt, divided

Wash the potatoes well with a hard bristle brush, removing the loose skin. Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tsp of salt, dill stems and green onions, and bring to a boil. Let the potatoes boil for about 15 minutes until al dente. Remove the green onion and dill stems. Pour most of the water away leaving about ¼ cup of water in the pot. Add the butter and the rest of the salt to the pot and shake gently to mix. Let stand for a few minutes longer to allow the potatoes to finish cooking. 



Potato Salad

8 boiled potatoes
1 apple
1-2 pickled cucumbers
2 tbsp capers
Green onions
200 g sour cream
2 dl mayonnaise
1 garlic glove 
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Cut the peeled potatoes, the apple and the cucumbers into small cubes.  Chop the onion. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients together and combine with the salad. Allow to settle in a cool place before serving.


Saaristolaisleipa, archipelago bread

Preparation time: about 4.5 hrs total
1 liter (4 cups) buttermilk
2 envelopes of  active dry yeast
3 dl ( 1  1/4 cup) dark molasses
3 dl ( 1  1/4 cup) malted barley
3 dl ( 1  1/4 cup) rye bran or ground flax seed
3 dl ( 1  1/4 cup) dark rye flour
1 tbsp salt
10 dl (4  1/4 cup) white flour
Additionally: 1/4 cup molasses mixed with 3/4 cups warm water for basting the bread. Three loaf pans for baking the bread.
1. Heat the buttermilk to about 110 degrees F and mix the yeast in
2. Mix all dry ingredients together well
3. Warm up the molasses slightly and mix in with the buttermilk and the yeast. Be careful if using the microwave. Sugar heats up very hot very easily and you don’t want to kill off your yeast organisms.
4. Mix in the flour mixture. Mix well to make sure all the flour is evenly mixed in. There is no kneading this bread. The consistency at this point is similar, or slightly thicker than zucchini bread or banana nut bread dough.
5. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm draft free place for about 1 ½  hours.
6. Once the dough has risen for the first time mix it gently and divide it into oiled loaf pans (it tends to stick so be sure to oil you pans well) and let rise in the pans an additional 30 minutes.
7. Bake in a 340-350 degree (F) oven for  1  ½  hours.
8. Carefully remove from oven and brush the tops with molasses-water mixture. Return to the oven for an additional 30 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and pans. Cool on a cooling rack covered with a clean cloth.
Once cooled place in plastic bags and store in a refrigerator.  This bread tastes best after settling for 2-3 days. It also tolerates freezing well.

Whipped lingonberry porridge

5 portions


7 dl water

3 dl lingonberries

¼ tsp. salt

1 dl granulated sugar

1 dl semolina


1. Pour water and lingonberries to saucepan. Boil about 20 minutes and sieve if needed. You may also leave berry crusts in the porridge.

2. Bring juice to boil. Add salt, sugar and semolina. Stir and let simmer about 8-10 minutes by stirring occasionally.

3. Chill porridge and whisk porridge until it´s pink and fluffy

4. Extrude to glasses on the top of the vanilla sauce and decorate with herbs or berries.



Sirpa’s rhubarb-almond tart

4 eggs
3 dl sugar
5 dl flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cardamom
1 dl cream
300 g melted butter
1 l diced rhubarb
Almond topping
150 g butter
2 dl sugar
½ dl  flour
4dl sliced almonds
2 tbls cream
Whip eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add flour mixture then cream and last melted butter mix until combined. Pour batter on cookie sheet that has parchment paper. Scatter chopped rhubarb on top. Bake 15 min. 400 f.
Mix all the ingredients for the topping in the pot let it boil for few minutes.
Take the half-baked tart from the oven then spread the topping over the rhubarb. Bake another 20 min .
Let it cool, cute it in squares. Serve with vanilla sauce.  


•2 egg yolks

•2 tbls  sugar

•1 vanilla pod

•1.5 dl  milk

•1.5 dl whipping cream

•½ tbls potato flour

•1.5 dl loosely whipped cream

Measure all the ingredients apart from the whipped cream into a saucepan. Stirring all the time, cook in a bain-marie until done (at 82°C). Cool and fold in the whipped cream.



Strawberry-rhubarb chutney with vanilla ice cream

600g rhubarb

2 dl water

2dl white wine

2 dl sugar

1 vanilla bud

0.75 dl strawberries

1 l vanilla ice cream

Peel and cut rhubarb. Boil water, wine and sugar .Cut and scrape the vanilla seeds and add it to the water mixture. Add cut rhubarb.

Let it simmer for 5-10 min.

Let it cool down

Add sliced strawberries. Remove the vanilla bud.

Serve strawberry-rhubarb with vanilla ice cream 


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