Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wild Blueberry Soup with Fluffy Semolina Dessert

Estonian wild blueberries - in season in July

"Go to the forest!" or "Mine metsa!" is one of the expressions in Estonian language that is used to show annoyanceˇwith someone or to say "what nonsense!" or "stop bothering me!", an easier version of "go to hell". A colleague from Turkey recently reminded me of that. An Estonian friend had taught her that, among some other things that I will not repeat here. I am yet to find another nation who has a similar saying.

There is lots of forest in Estonia and a lot of people actually do go to the forest for more practical reasons to forage for wild berries and mushrooms or go for a run or a round of nordic walking on a foot friendly soft forest path.
There are sea/ocean people or mountain people or forest people - a main force of nature that draws certain people to itself . I belong to the latter. Every year during holidays I go and walk around the familiar forests and if the year is good, I might be picking wild blueberries, lingonberries or mushrooms.

Wild blueberries and chanterelles from the forest

Now is wild blueberry time and as I was reaching out for more I remembered two recipes from the past that I am sharing here today.
Wild blueberry soup has been around in the Estonian kitchens for centuries. It is popular and also served at Tartu ski marathon as a source of energy to those on the way to finish the 63 kilometer track. The first recipe of the fluffy semolina dessert that I have seen was published in 1965 in a recipe book that could be found in most Estonian homes. I don´t know where the name comes from, but my guess is that it has some links to German or Russian.

Wild blueberry soup with fluffy semolina pudding

Wild blueberry soup

Ingredients for 6
3.5-4 liters of water
ca. 1 liter of wild blueberries, slightly crushed
3 tbsp starch and 3-4 tbsp cold water

100g  sugar or to taste
Bring the water to boil. Crush the blueberries with a wooden spoon a bit and add the berries to the hot water. Cook for 15 minutes till all the berries break and let out the juice. Add sugar to your taste and mix. The blueberries are much sweeter than many other berries and therefore can be cooked with rather little sugar.
Mix the starch with cold water until smooth. When the berry juice seems ready add the starch slowly and stir until the "soup" thickens. If you like a thicker consistency, mix some more starch with water and add. Bring to boil and quickly take off the heat.
Set aside to cool.

Bubert, fluffy semolina dessert

(Serves 6)

1.5l milk
7-8 tbsp fine wheat semolina
5-6 eggs, whites and yolks separated
7-8 tbsp sugar
Vanilla (optional)

Bring the milk to boil and slowly add the semolina. Stir and cook until the semolina has softened and the milk thickened.
Combine the egg yolks with sugar and beat with a handmixer till foamy.  Take some milk-semolina mixture and stir into the egg-sugar mixture, then pour everything back to the pot. Stir till well combined and thickened. 
Beat the egg whites till stiff and slowly fold in the egg whites. Keep the pudding on the heat for one or two more minutes and then let cool.
Serve the blueberry soup with Bubert on a tender summer night in the garden. No words needed. The birds and grasshoppers and the dessert will tell the story.

A summer dessert from Estonia

For more Food from the forest see also:
Wild mushrooms
Wild Blueberry Ricotta Cake