Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Food from the forest: Wild berry loaf cake with ricotta and lingonberries

Lingonberries, Ger:Preiselbeere, Est: Pohlad

Lingonberries from Estonian forests
The berries in the picture are wild lingonberries. They grow in forests in Estonia and other northern European countries. I haven´t been to the Finnish forests however judging by the amount of lingonberry recipes in Finnish cookbooks I know that the neigbours in the north have the wild berries close to their hearts too.

Lingonberries are Preiselbeere in German. Sometimes they are mistaken for cranberries, indeed both are red, but these are two different species and they grow in different soil.

Lingonberries and cranberries are different spieces.
This year it has been a generous lingonberry year. Recently I described the special berry or mushroom places, a sort of special knowledge passed on from generation to generation or between the enthusiasts sharing the passion for food from the forest. During my latest trip to Estonia I discovered that my sister had recorded a new route, a "Lingonberry Place 2", in the GPS. Evem though it was already rather late in the season, the place was red with lingonberries. Just find the plumpest berries and "rake" them together following the first principle of choose the best of the best, the the best of of the worst and then everything else.

I was driving around in south Estonia and couldn't help but notice how the places had changed because the public government owned forest areas got a clean-up or the privately owned forests get felled and probably became an export article. This is leaving an impact on the foraging places.

Wild lingonberry ricotta loaf cake
3 large eggs, the 73g+ ones or 4 smaller eggs
200g brown sugar
220g ricotta
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
90g butter, melted and cooled
250g flour (half dark weat four is what I used)
20g baking powder
2 handful (ca 2 dl) fresh or frozen lingonberries, or more or less to your taste
Powder sugar (optional)
1. Set the oven to 170 degrees Celsius (340 F)
2. Keep the eggs at room temperature.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar into a thick foam.
4. Add ricotta and vanilla extract and beat again until smooth.
5. Pour the cooled down melted butter into the mixture.
6. Mix the baking powder with the flour and sieve the flour into the dough.
7. Lastly, add the lingonberries, mix briefly.
8. Fit a loaf baking form with baking paper and pour the dough into the form.
9. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the dough does not stick to the knife or match stick when piercing it to check doneness.
10. Take out onto the cooling rack. When the cake has cooled, decorate with powder sugar.

The lingonberries can be replaced by wild or industrially grown blueberries or black currants.

For more wild berry recipes see:
Wild blueberry and ricotta "boats"
Wild blueberry soup with fluffy semolina pudding
Cranberry dessert - pink semolina