Use a large, sturdy knife and watch your fingers when cutting up rutabaga, since it is a rather hard-textured vegetable.
It is best to cut it in thick slices, then remove the peel around the slices with a paring knife or a vegetable peeler.
about 2 kg fresh rutabagas
½ tsp salt
100 - 150 ml dark molasses
(2 tbsp flour)
150 ml cream
Top and tail the rutabagas and cut them into thick slices. Remove the peel from the slices and cut the slices in chunky pieces. Cook the pieces in unsalted water until almost tender. Pour out the cooking water. Return the uncovered pan on the warm stove plate, so that the excess moisture will evaporate, and the rutabaga chunks feel a bit drier.
Push the rutabaga through a food mill
to get about 1 kilogram of smooth puree. Let the puree cool a bit, then mix in the salt, molasses, eggs and half of the cream. Add the flour, if the mixture feels very runny or a bit watery.
Whip the rest of the cream and gently fold it in. Pour the runny batter into one or several buttered oven casseroles.
Sprinkle the surface with a thin layer of dry breadcrumbs and decorate it by pressing little bumps on it with the tip of a spoon. Dot the surface generously with pats of butter.
The breadcrumbs and butter may be omitted. For coeliacs, one gluten-free substitute for flour is to use finely ground almonds.
Bake the casserole at 150 - 160 °C for about 1 - 1½ hours, or until the batter is set, slightly puffed and golden brown on top. The baking time may vary, according to the thickness of the batter/depth of the casserole dish. Check the dish from time to time, not letting the mixture dry out. Serve the casserole with baked Christmas ham.
Although rutabaga casserole is always best when prepared, baked and eaten fresh from the scratch, it can be frozen after baking. In that case, omit the breadcrumbs. Let the frozen casserole thaw in refrigerator. If necessary, moisten the casserole by mixing in a bit of cream before warming it up. Cover the casserole and warm at 150 °C.
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.