The springtime fertility fest of the Northern Hemisphere, May Day, originates from the pre Christian era of pagan tradition. It stood for the day cows were released onto the pasture and bonfires were lit to drive away evil spirits and disease. The etymology of Finnish Vappu is traceable to the German Walpurgisnacht, a night of witchcraft, after Saint Walburga who was canonized on May 1st, possibly in AD 870. It was celebrated with homemade mead and dancing.
Although sima, a fermented drink, is still associated with the festival, the rest of the tradition has turned into a street carnival of students and working class. It is, along with New Years Eve and Midsummer fest, by far the wildest public holiday in Finland. Sobriety is an unknown virtue during Vappu. If civilisation was the reason of Christianisation of paganism, I wonder how successful it has been. Isn’t our modern culture producing another type of tribe, able to build tiny mechanical appliances while being disconnected, more than ever, with nature, ourselves and the Truth?
Sima, munkki (doughnuts) and tippaleipä (funnel cakes) are served on May Day. Although I follow a different, Vedic moon calendar of annual events, and rarely bother with Western holidays, I used the occasion to develop a yeast-free doughnut recipe. It turned out perfect! The doughnuts were crispy and airy. Instead of using milk to thin the batter, try carbonated water. It makes the doughnuts light and less dough-like. Although the batter is more liquid than the one made with yeast, with the help of an ice-cream scoop, it can be spooned into the hot oil. The doughnuts are bite-size and small. Using a piping bag it is easy to impregnate them with chocolate filling. After all, Vappu is a fertility fest!
Serve the sugar infused doughnuts with a refreshing passion fruit juice. It is a combination made in heaven!
Written on obscure pieces of paper, no wonder my recipes get lost half of the time!