Wednesday, 24 December 2014

christmas desserts from East and North

Every country or even region has its own christmas tradition and many of them are related to food. Even in my close family we have different ideas of a traditional christmas dinner. While in most cases we have a lighter dinner on christmas Eve followed by goose on the other christmas holidays, in Finland there is the traditional ham with different sweet casseroles. When I stayed the first christmas here I introduced my lovely Finns to one dessert, which is a christmas must-have for my family. The recipe can be found all around Poland and especially in Slesia, but also in Eastern Germany and Hungary. But this is my version of the dish which I have adapted according to the recipe my mom has given me. You might know from own experience that mothers cook and bake with feeling and not with strict measures.
Makówki or Mohnklösse

250g ground poppy seeds
approx.1.5l milk
vanilla pod
100g sugar
5 white rolls
50g chopped hazelnuts
100g chopped almonds
100g raisins

1. cut the rolls into mouth size cubes. If you have the same problem as I have hear in Finland that there are no real simple wheat buns, an Italian Ciabatta might also work for example (I can hear my mom already scream "NO!", but one has to be flexible at times). The main thing is that it has a crispy crust and not just the soft white part.
2. bring the milk together with the sugar and the poppy seeds to boil. let it simmer on low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
3. add the nuts, almonds and raisins and boil for another 5-10 minutes, then put it in a nice bowl and let it cool down.

We eat them in small portions during the christmas holidays and add some boiled milk when they get too dry. They should have a moist consistence without being soggy.

On my first christmas in Helsinki I was also introduced to a traditional dessert which is very common in the family of my lovely man. It is based on cooked dried fruits and whipped cream which you can find all around the Baltic Sea.

Klinkkumiiru or Hedelmäkiisseli

400g mixed dried fruit (apple, pears, apricots, etc)
100g dried plums
3dl of acidic juice, such as lingonberry or currant juice
1.5l of water
2-2.5 big spoonfuls of potato starch
2.5dl of whipcream

1. boil the fruit in 1 liter of water on low heat for about an hour, replace evaporated water little by little with the remaining half a liter
2. add the juice and plums and let boil for another 20minutes
3. separate the fruits and the liquid carefully and place the fruits on a serving plate 
4. now mix the starch with a small amount of the liquid until it is solved, add to the rest of the liquid and bring to boil shortly so that the liquid thickens
5. pour the liquid over the fruits and let cool down
6. whip the cream and serve the kissel with some blobs of cream

Probably not many people outside Turku know this dish by the name "Klinkkumiiru", but supposedly the "klinkku" refers to the "lumps" made by the fruit bits. The more common name is Hedelmäkiisseli, fruit kissel, which you can find all around the year made from different fruits. While in winter it is enjoyed with the strong tastes of plums, in summer you might have a lighter version with strawberries for example.

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