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Memma redirects to this page. For the Japanese condiment, see Menma.
A bowl of mämmi
Mämmi with cream and sugar

Mämmi (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈmæmmi]) is a traditional Finnish Easter dessert. The Swedish language name for it is memma.

Mämmi is made from water, rye flour and powdered rye malt, seasoned with dark molasses, salt and dried, powdered Seville orange peel. The mixture is then allowed to go through a slow, natural sweetening process before being baked in an oven until set. Preparation takes many hours, and after baking the mämmi is stored chilled for 3 to 4 days before being ready to eat [1]. Mämmi was traditionally stored in small bowls made of birch bark called tuokkonen. Finnish packaging still prints birch bark-like texture on the carton boxes.

Generally mämmi is eaten cold with either cream and sugar, vanilla sauce or vanilla ice-cream. It is also eaten spread on top of a slice of bread. There is a Finnish society for mämmi[2] founded by Ahmed Ladarsi, the former chef at the Italian Embassy in Helsinki, who claims that there are around fifty recipes containing mämmi [3]. There are a number of websites with recipes using mämmi most of which are in Finnish [4][5]. Mämmi is also used as minor ingredient in a mämmi-beer by Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas.



Mämmi was mentioned the first time during the 16th century, in a dissertation (in Latin) [6]. It is claimed that it has been eaten in the southwestern region of Finland, ever since the 13th century, when Finland was a part of Roman-Catholic Sweden [7]. It is also claimed that it can be traced to medieval Germany[citation needed] and that its use spread with Catholicism[citation needed] to the north, the food fell out of favour in Germany and now remaining only in Finland.

Originally mämmi was eaten during lent. Its laxative properties were associated with purification and purging. As the dish keeps well for several days, it was also a convenient food for Good Friday, when cooking was against religious custom. Nowadays it is a traditional Easter delicacy.

Modern mämmi is mostly mass produced. It is readily available at food shops in Finland all year round. [8]

Interest in mämmi appears to have increased worldwide, probably due to Finns' eager attempts to offer the idiosyncratic foodstuff to visiting foreigners. Some have served it as an exotic specialty; others, a joky test (due to its superficially unappetizing appearance). The growing interest in reviving old recipes and the general enthusiasm for past ages and local things in these international times may also play a part in this.. Mämmi is a somewhat divisive foodstuff even in Finland, and it is not uncommom to find Finnish people with both intense likes and dislikes of the dish.

Professor Hely Tuorila of Helsinki University conducted research in the United States of America as part of a project on the acceptance of ethnic foods. This was carried out in the early 1990s by the US Army Natick RD&E Center [9]. On the Food Neophobia Scale which resulted it found that on the whole: "Finnish foods did not do too well".



Simple recipe

6 quarts (6 L)water
1 lb. (1/2 kg) rye malt (recipe originally had 1 kg as equivalent to 1lb)
3 lbs (1.5 kg) rye flour
molasses to taste
1-2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. chopped orange rind

Method 1 [10] Mix 500 gm of malt with 1 litre of tepid water and put a thick layer of rye flour onto the surface. Cover, and leave it in a warm place for two hours. Sift the remaining malt and flour together. Uncover the pot, mix thoroughly and then add 1 litre of boiling water. Make another layer of malt/flour on the surface, cover the pot and again leave for an hour in a warm place. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. Finally add the salt and bigarade or orange zest and boil for 10 minutes, stirring well. Cool by whisking well and half fill moulds with the cooled mixture. Bake at 150°C (300F) for three hours.

Method 2 [11] Mix the malt and flour. Heat the water until tepid. Put 2 quarts of the water into a pot and gradually add flour/malt mix until it forms a thin soup. Sprinkle a layer of malt and flour onto this soup, cover and put in a warm place for one hour. Mix well and then repeat the process until all the ingredients are used. When using the last of the water, season to taste with molasses, orange rind and salt. Cook for about 10 mins., stirring constantly. Whip till cooled. Place in low pans. Do not fill too full, because mämmi will rise in the oven. Bake in moderate oven for about 1–2 hours.

Quick recipe

for 5 punnets (traditionally made of birch bark):

  • 7 liters (7 quarts) of water
  • 2 kg (4.4 lb.) of rye flour
  • ½ kg (1 lb. and 2 oz) of rye malt
  • 3 tablespoons of syrup
  • 2–3 tablespoons of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of bitter orange peel for spicing

First stage Heat the water to 60 °C (140 °F) and beat in just enough of the rye flour and malt to form a thin porridge. Distribute a thick layer of the remaining flour and malt onto the surface of the porridge. Cover the pot and leave in a warm place for an hour to sweeten.

Second stage Whip the mixture and add 1 liter (4 cups) of hot water. Then, as in Phase One, add a layer of rye flour and malt to the top of the mixture and leave it to sweeten for another hour. Repeat these steps until all water, flour and malt has been used.

After sweetening, cook the mämmi for half an hour, stirring well. Spice during cooking. Whip the cooked mämmi until it cools off and pour it to punnets rinsed with cold water. Sprinkle sugar onto the surface and bake the mämmi in the oven for about three hours at low heat.


  1. ^ Nordic Recipe Archive "Mämmi "
  2. ^ The Finnish Mämmi Association "Suomen Mämmiseura ry"
  3. ^ Helsinki Sanomat, 16.3.2005 "Mämmi Maestro. Ahmed Ladarsi is an expert on a Finnish delicacy"
  4. ^ Suomen Mämmiseura ry "Mämmi Recipes"
  5. ^ Myllynparas Oy "Mämmi ice cream "
  6. ^ The Martha organization "History of Mämmi ", "Homepage"
  7. ^ Nordic Recipe Archive "Origin"
  8. ^ Järvi-Suomen Portti Oy "Easter Recipes"
  9. ^ Helsinki University "Do Finnish specialities appeal to Amrican plate?"
  10. ^ Finfood "Finnish Easter pudding, Mämmi "
  11. ^ Kutri's Korner "Finnish Easter Specialties"

External links


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