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Made from hard-boiled eggs and butter, egg butter is a favorite element in Finnish cuisine. When made, only the yolks from the hard-boiled eggs are combined with whipped butter to form a spread. This spread is commonly served with pastries. In Finland, egg butter is known as munavoi and is rich and creamy. The protein content of the eggs makes it seem a more decadently fulfilling spread than most, as it leaves a satisfied feeling after it is eaten.
Although traditional recipes do not use the egg white, some current recipes do add them. When the whites of the eggs are added, they are finely diced so they will mix as well as possible. The reason that the egg whites are not often added is that they never fully mix with the yolks and the butter, and the spread then appears lumpy and not smooth and creamy. Salt and pepper are also commonly added to this mixture to heighten the flavor. White pepper is more often used than black, as it does not show up in the spread due to its light hue.
Some recipes for egg butter will call for additional flavorings to be added to the egg yolks and the whipped butter. Cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce give the spread a kick. Using egg butter verses a traditional condiment is popular on sandwiches. Ham and Swiss cheese on a croissant with some egg butter spread liberally on it is a delicious flavor combination.
Within traditional Finnish cuisine, the karelian pastry is most commonly served with egg butter. The name karelian comes from the part of Finland where the pastry was first served, Karelia. Made with a wholemeal rye crust, this pastry can be filled with potato, barley, or millet. These ingredients, along with munavoi, are popular in many traditional Finnish recipes. The karelian pastry is served hot, and the egg butter is spread heavily over it and allowed to melt into the pastry, creating a rich topping. Though there are those who tend to think of pastries as a tasty sweet treat, this pastry is a savory one. Much of Finnish food tends toward savory flavors and hearty grains, and for this reason egg butter lends itself as the perfect spread on many native food items.
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