tableofcolors

Simple pleasures

Tag: lingonberries

After dinner Pavlovas

by tableofcolors

Today has been a baking day since the rainy, wet weather did not entice me to go outside. Our road and driveway had turned into a literal skating rink and the kids did go boot-skating and came in very wet. Yesterday when I went on a little stroll for fresh air I had to be extra careful to not fall. The three kilometer little loop went fine but just as I was taking the shortcut to the door across the yard, I stepped on a patch of ice hidden under the snow. Down I went. No broken bones, perhaps a little bruise on my knee. Nothing serious. The picture of the branches below is from a week ago. So quickly the landscape changes.

2013-12-08 14.13.37-2And since the weather was dreary, we baked. We baked gingerbread, and made gingerbread trees, caramel sauce and made these dainty little pavlovas. Holiday dinners are usually so filling. The traditional Finnish dinner that we have on Christmas Eve is no different. It includes a salted ham that is baked on the hearth overnight and casseroles made from root vegetables. I had been flipping through a Pirkka magazine the previous week and found this recipe that served as my inspiration. The servings are intended to just give a little sweet flavor to end the meal since Christmas coffee with its abundance of treats is served later in the evening.

mini pavlovaMeringues

makes about 18  (6 cm/2.5 inch meringues)

4 egg whites

2 dl/0.8 c sugar

Beat your egg whites until a light foam and start adding the sugar in little by little. Continue beating until it is firm enough that it will not fall out of the bowl if you turn it upside down. By the time all of the sugar is added, it will be quite glossy.

2013-12-16 12.17.08

Scoop the meringue into a pastry bag and and make little nests by starting in the center and working your way around creating a round shape. Finish by adding one extra layer on the outer edge to create the nest.

2013-12-16 12.23.50Bake in a preheated oven at 125 C/250 F for about one hour. Allow to cool. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container. Sprinkle the bottom of the container with cornstarch to absorb any moisture.

Filling

Equal parts of whipped cream and marscapone cheese, quark or Greek yoghurt (about 2 dl/1 c of each will probably be sufficient)

Sugar

Red currants, cranberries or lingonberries

First whip the cream. Add in the the desired choice or marscapone cheese, quark or yoghurt. The slight sourness of the cheese, yoghurt or quark gives a nice contrast to the otherwise very sweet dessert. I used a quark flavored with rum and added lingonberries to the filling as well as a garnish. Add sugar to taste and spoon about two heaping tablespoons of filling in each nest. Garnish with a salted caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

little toesNow these little toes are all tucked in for the night, I might just start elfing around a bit. And as our four almost five year-old told me today, “Elves are magical creatures”. I would like to think so too.

2013-12-15 11.29.11-2

In my Kitchen

by tableofcolors

Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts a series every month called “In My Kitchen”. I thought I would participate this month and give you a little peek into my kitchen. Since it is October, it really is the end of the berry season. Lingonberries are the last of the berries, bright red and tart. My husband picked close to fifty liters of the little round berries this year.
lingonberry
Some of them we freeze. We collected empty milk cartons, washed them and dried them and reused them for freezing the berries. The cartons fit neatly in a row and are easy to stack in a chest freezer.
freezing lingonberries
The berries that are not frozen end up in juice. It was the perfect thing to do when the weather was rainy.
2013-09-21 12.38.24
In my kitchen can by found my favorite appliance. It was my graduation gift when I graduated with my Master’s and so it has some sentimental value as well. It is in use nearly everyday. In addition to being a trusty workhorse it is a design classic that never goes out of style. In my opinion.
kitchen aid
In my kitchen I have plenty of fingerprints.
tart crust
Of these little monkeys.
beautiful eyes
little monkeys
As I bake and cook, I can see the living room room from the kitchen since it is an open area, the heart of the house.
tart berries
In my kitchen is a collection of recipes. The following is from my Mother-in-law and it was my husband’s favorite as a child and as he grew up. It is called Pyhäpiirakka. Pyhä in Finnish means holy or in this case sabbath and piirakka could be translated as tart or pie. So this tart could be called “Sunday tart”. Possibly meant to be enjoyed on Sunday afternoon with coffee or tea.

Pyhäpiirakka

Crust:
300 g/10.5 oz softened butter
3 dl/1.3 c sugar
2 eggs
3 dl/1.3 c flour
3 dl/1.3 c whole wheat flour
dash salt

lingonberries, blueberries or berry of choice.

Filling:
6 dl/2.6 c kermaviili(sour milk product) or Greek yoghurt
3 eggs
1.5 dl/0.6 c sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

Place the softened butter and sugar in your stand mixer and use the paddle attachment. Whip until light and fluffy. You may alternatively use an electric hand mixer. Add in one egg at a time, beating vigorously. Fold in the flours and salt. Scrape the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Flouring your hands, pat the batter evenly. Sprinkle the berries over the crust.

Using a whisk, mix the ingredient for the filling just until it is smooth and pour over the berries. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 200 C/390 F. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

scenic fall2

From my kitchen I am able to observe the passing of seasons of the birch forest across the road.

Lingonberry tart

Tulips of Spring

by tableofcolors

tulips
Just a little over a month ago, the mornings were pitch black and I would have lanterns outside burning throughout the day and night. The hours of actual daylight were quite short and it sometimes seemed like it was challenging to take pictures. By the time everything was ready the light would be gone!

Although we have crisp and cold wintery weather, spring is clearly coming. The night has become shorter and when I awake each morning the sun is shining brightly. We have to actually close our miniblinds for the night to get some sleep, this was not the case a few months ago. As I walk downstairs, the light from the large windows softly highlight the tulips on the table. For me they are a symbol of spring and the promise of lengthening days.
cafe latte
Enjoying a latté in the quiet of the house is the perfect way to start a weekend morning. Everything is still and serene. Step outside to get the newspaper and the birds are singing. They have been quiet all winter. And if we got our weekly clean-up done, everything might be neat and tidy for a few hours. It pays to wake up early and enjoy the clean house while it lasts.
cheerio
One by one they awake and make their way downstairs to find breakfast and a morning hug.
smoothies

Smoothies (for two)

Gluten free

1 banana
3 dl/1.3 c plain yoghurt
2 dl/0.8 c berries of your choice (raspberries, blueberries, lingonberries, blackberries or strawberries)
a little honey

If you prefer add a handful of spinach, or a tablespoon or ground flax seed or wheat germ to the mix.

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Fruitie (for two)

This recipe is both gluten and dairy free.

1 banana
1,5 dl/0.6 c orange juice
fruit (choose one of the following: 1 pealed and sliced pear, 10 slices of canned mango, 1 peach pealed and sliced, 6 large pieces of pineapple or 10 balls of honey dew or cantaloupe melon)
Blend until smooth and enjoy immediately. Canned fruit can be substituted if fresh is not on hand.

smoothies2

A holiday dessert

by tableofcolors

Gifts
Today was a bit busy! A few errands in the morning and gift wrapping and the last bunch of cards and packages made it to the post office. Our school girls had “evening school” which is a tradition at their school on the day they have their Christmas program. They also have a bake sale and a café to raise funds for field trips and school equipment. Parents are welcomed to bake and I had promised to do so. Our little snowflake princess just happens to be so quick! I had cookies cooling on racks when one of the girls came and informed that she had taken a stack of cookies and had taken one bite out of each! Back to baking! Fortunately I hadn’t used up all of the dough, so round two was quite quick!

After getting the cookies made and packaged and girls sent to school (we joined them later in the evening) I had a few minutes of down time since the rest of the bunch entertained themselves. I decided to make our holiday dessert which is so easy that it only takes a few minutes if you have all the ingredients on hand. The freezer does the rest of the work and they are ready to go when the holidays arrive. These would also be perfect for a holiday party. In Finnish they are called jäädyke and the closest word to it that I could find is sorbet. But sorbet does not quite describe them accurately. These individual jäädyke desserts which I made with gingerbread and lingonberries, (may substituted with another type of tart berry) work well after a heavy meal because they are intended to be fairly small in size.

Joulujäädyke or Christmas sorbet

Joulujäädyke or Christmas sorbet

Joulujäädyke or Christmas sorbet, serves 10

0,5 l/generous 2 cups heavy cream
350 g/12.3 oz Turkish or Greek yoghurt
5 gingerbread cookies, crushed (If your cookies are very thin, you may want to use 7 cookies)
150 g/5.3 oz lingonberries or other tart berries(preferably frozen)
0.8 dl/ 1/3 c sugar
paper cups

Lingonberries and gingerbread

Lingonberries and gingerbread

Crush the gingerbread and set aside. Place the berries and sugar into a bowl. Using a wand mixer or food processor pulse a few times so that they are partially crushed. Whip the cream. Fold in the yoghurt and divide mixture by placing half into another bowl. Fold the gingerbread crumbs into 1/2 of the cream-yoghurt mixture. Add sugar to achieve the preferred sweetness.
gingerbread cream
Into the other half, fold in the lingonberries.
lingonberry cream
Fill each paper cup with a large spoonful of gingerbread mixture and with an equal amount of the lingonberry mixture. My paper cups were about two-thirds full.

cups

Place filled cups into the freezer. Take out of the freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving. Run the cups upside down quickly under hot water and press the bottom of the cup to release the sorbet. Drizzle with caramel sauce. (caramel recipe here) Enjoy!

Happy Birthday to my Grampa! (see previous posts by my Grampa here and here)