Last May I published my first Finnish “laatikko” aka casserole recipe with cabbage as the leading star. This time, this second casserole, features rutabaga, a very strange vegetable for me as I had never eaten before I moved to Finland. And I specifically chose this one because it is one of the most loved Christmas dishes in Finnish cuisine.
To be honest, as a person who doesn’t believe in any religions, I do not personally care about any religious day / holiday / celebration. However, I see some of them as special times when families come together around a table and just have a nice, cosy get together. That’s why I like publishing Christmas recipes in December for example. Just like I always liked the big dinner table in my family in Ramadan, when I was a kid.
Anyway, back to rutabaga, or lanttu as they call in Finnish. I have been planning to make this casserole for such a long time that I forgot the first time I decided to try it. I ate it first and only time a few years ago when I was invited to an international potluck Christmas dinner and the Finnish friend brought this casserole. After that a few times I planned to do it myself but every time something else came up and I couldn’t.
This is a very easy recipe. It just takes a bit long to bake in the oven. It is also a bit sweet because of the syrup and all, so it is slightly strange to eat at first but you get the delicious aftertaste and you get to like it more and more.
So if you want to try something new for your Christmas table with family / friends, a dish all the way from Finland, or if you are in Finland but trying to understand the language for a traditional dish in this land, here is lanttulaatikko, enjoy your new recipe!
Difficulty: ★☆☆ (Easy)
(makes 1 casserole in a 20x30cm oven dish)
Printable PDF-recipe (no photos)
1 kg rutabaga (in Finnish, lanttu), peeled, washed and diced (try to chop them as similar size as possible for even cooking)
1 tsp salt
soft butter to grease the oven dish
1 dl / 6 tbsp + 2 tsp dark syrup (in Finnish, tumma siirappi, or you can use treacle or molasses)
2 dl / 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
a generous pinch of ground white pepper and salt to taste
To put on top:
1/2 dl / 3 tbsp + 1 tsp breadcrumbs (use gluten free if you need)
a few (3-4) mini cubes of butter
1. Put diced rutabaga in a big enough pan. Put enough water to cover them all and add 1 tsp salt. Put on medium high heat. Cook the rutabaga until it is very soft so that you can mash, for about 30 minutes. When cooked, drain the water and transfer to a big bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 20x30cm oven dish and put aside.
3. Mash the cooked rutabaga.
4. Add syrup, cream, spices and egg. Mix well.
5. Add white pepper and salt and mix again. Taste to see if you have enough salt and adjust the taste accordingly.
6. Transfer the mashed mixture to greased oven dish. First smoothen the surface of the mash and then make patterns using a spoon or a spatula.
7. Cover the entire surface of the mash with breadcrumbs. You might want to highlight the patterns one more time after that. Put a few butter cubes on top as well. Put in the oven, in medium rack and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the surface is nicely browned. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Thanks for the tip of cinnamon and ginger, never heard but should try. This is probably my favourite food, and in my original region (Satakunta), this is not only a Christmas dish but a regular Sunday dish, too.
Yes i think lanttulaatikko should be eaten regularly and not only in Christmas everywhere! ☺️
Can this dish be prepared the night before, leaving the baking until the following day? My husband is a huge fan of mashed rutabaga. I am not. However, I do love other cruciferous vegetables, and I suspect your dish will soften the taste. Making for Canadian Thanksgiving 2018.
Hmm I’m not sure, never tried. The addition of heavy cream gives me a question mark. But maybe instead preparing the whole dish to be baked next day, you can just prepared the mashed rutabaga part which is the most time consuming part in the recipe. Then next morning you can just add the rest, give it a mix and bake?
I am a first generation Canadian Finn who has made this dish countless times. First, cream is expensive here. Just melt two tbsp buttter and add it when cream is called for. Cream in baking is nothin more than extra butter. I have had great success with freezing the rutabaga mash, with or without dry ingredients, in an empty bread bag, until I want to make it.
If you are going the frozen route, thaw the mash, add whatever you need to and bake away. I usually broil for a minute or so just to get that crusty taste.
I add a little brown sugar to mine.
I love rutabagas and use them often. My favorite way is just to peel and dice the into small approx 3/4″ cubes then I use the steamer rack in my large sauce pot. They seem to cook a lot quicker and don’t absorb so much water and get mushy. I cook until tender, transfer to a bowl, mash to the consistency that I like..(a few lumps) and butter about 3-6 table spoons, (also depending on how large or much rutabaga I use. I then add salt, a little pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg. I serve this instead of mashed potatoes often. If you haven’t tried steaming them…it’s a great way of cooking and faster than boiling them.
Thanks! And yes, i steam vegetables too sometimes.
Hi, after baking, do you think I can freeze it to be warmed up when i need it? Thanks!
Hi, I think you can, I don’t see why not. But I never did it myself, so take my opinion with a grain of salt! :)
You can eat it cold as well. You can freeze it. You can re-heat it. You can put it in a sandwich. You can eat it any old time.
From Sudbury Ontario. Our version of this casserole would insist on boiling the rutabaga, not steaming. Yes to butter instead of cream; we used can milk. We used allspice, not nutmeg & yes to the cinnamon. Brown sugar, or possibly maple syrup. Yes to the egg. To firm up the casserole a bit we would add Cream of Wheat, as fine as you can get it, or grind a bit more. About 1/2 cup to a large turnip. So delicious. Actually very easy to make.
Sounds good. :)
Thanks for sharing the tip of using All Spice instead of Nutmeg only. Plus using The Cream of Wheat as an alternative to the basic flour as thickener. I will try it next time.😘
I like the combo of spices but you got the pepper wrong. It’s white pepper that you use in lanttilattiko
Thanks for the comment but if you check the ingredients, I used white pepper as you wrote. :)
Pingback: 10 Finnish Foods to Stimulate The Foodie in You - Flavorverse
Hello! How many people will this recipe serve?
Hi! I’d say 4 to 6 as a main dish. But if there are many other dishes, then you can go up to 6 to 8.