Rahkapulla (Finnish Cheese-Filled Buns)

In my Finnish cookbook (published in 1964) I wrote about popular Finnish bakery items. Sometimes people write and ask me about a Finnish pastry and I have to be like a spy and try to figure out what the object of the question really is. Recently, a person asked about a Finnish bun called “Rahapulla.” When translated, that would mean “money pulla.”  Hmmm. I knew that it was a misspelling, and she must have been referring to “Rahkapulla” or “cheese pulla.”  In my Finnish cookbook, it is called “Rahkapiirakat,” a great example of how popular recipe names can change from one area to another, or even one household to another.

Rahkapulla (Finnish Cheese-Filled Buns)

Recipe by Beatrice OjakangasCourse: Breads, BakingCuisine: Finnish


Prep time


Rising Time


Baking Time



These traditional Finnish buns are soft and have a creamy dollop of filling baked into an indentation in the middle. They are just the right amount of sweet, are fabulous served warm, and freeze really well for a coffee time treat.


  • Pastry
  • 1 package active dry yeast

  • ¼ cup warm water, 105 to 110°F.

  • 1 cup milk 1%, 2% or whole, scalded and cooled to 105°F.

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds, optional

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 ½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

  • Filling
  • 1 ½ cups creamed ricotta cheese

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

  • ½ cup raisins

  • Additional egg, beaten, for glaze.


  • Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add the milk, sugar, cardamom, salt and half of the flour. Beat vigorously for 1 minute. Stir in the butter until well combined and add enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff but still soft dough.
  • Turn out onto a board and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
  • Wash the bowl, lightly oil it, and place the dough into the oiled bowl, turn it to grease the top, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled. This may take as much as 2 to 3 hours when the weather is cool.
  • Prepare the filling: Mix the ricotta cheese, sugar, lemon zest, egg and raisins.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Divide the risen dough into 12 equal parts. Shape each part into a smooth round ball. Let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
  • With a greased tumbler (about 3 inch diameter) press down on each risen ball of dough firmly to make an indentation to hold the filling. (See Video) This will result in a rounded edge that will hold the filling in. Spoon the filling into the indentations.
  • Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place 6 of the filled buns onto each of the parchment covered cookie sheets. Brush with additional beaten egg. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Makes 12 Rahkapulla.

Recipe Video

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Beatrice Ojakangas

Food writer Beatrice Ojakangas grew up as the oldest of ten on a farm in Floodwood, Minnesota and learned to cook and bake on a woodstove. Author of 31 cookbooks, Beatrice has a degree in home economics, has been inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota, has written for magazines such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Woman's Day, and appeared on the television shows of both Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Her specialties include baking, Finnish and Scandinavian cooking, and writing well-tested, simple recipes that use wholesome ingredients. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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