Recipe: Finnish Stars aka Prune Tarts aka Joulutortut

Those who live in the Great Lakes area and/or those of Finnish heritage will recognize this Christmas classic.

Prune tarts (yes, prunes) are traditional Yule Tarts. They start with a dough, cut into a pinwheel shape using either a knife and/or a pinwheel cutter. Then a prune (yes, prunes!) filling is placed in the center. The dough is then folded over into the traditional star shape.

This is a vintage recipe that came from the old, metal cutter. And I do mean vintage. The original cutter was purchased by my mom's family sometime in the early 60s. There is a plastic pinwheel cutter out there, but it isn't quite the same. Since the metal one is so hard to find, though, it will work.

I think even prune haters should try this recipe as-is. But you can, of course, substitute any THICK preserves for the filling.

This is a bit of a retro recipe, so it may look a little funky to modern bakers. ;)

Prune Tarts

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs


3/4 lb prunes
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup sugar

Mix butter into dry ingredients with pastry blender. In small bowl,  beat the eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix egg mixture into dry ingredients till a medium soft dough is formed. Set in a cool place for an hour.

Cook the prunes in water until soft. Remove the stones, and add the sugar. (Most prunes these days are already pitted). Beat to a paste.

Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut with tart cutter (sharp knife or pinwheel cutter). Place a teaspoon of filling in the center, fold the strips over to the center and press together.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the over for 20 minutes or until golden brown at a temperature of 400 degrees.

Makes about 4 dozen tarts.

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