One summer visiting Finland we retired to the family’s lakeside summer house for sauna, swimming under the midnight sun and hunting for early mushrooms and signs of bears.
The Finn’s lovely aunt was preparing a seriously traditional summerhouse style lunch of cheese, dark rye bread and pea soup followed by a bowl of Vispipuuro. The Finn’s eyes lit up – this was going to be a treat. After the main fare she presented the table with bowlfuls of blindingly-magenta wobbling whipped pudding – a sight to behold.
This is a super-easy, if not a little peculiar, desert that everyone will love and can be whipped up (pun intended) in a matter of minutes.
Made on fresh lingonberries and semolina this is a summer classic for summerhouse sojourns.
Fresh or frozen lingonberries are not an ingredient I can easily put my hands on, so necessity is the mother of invention and I took my lead from the Finn’s mother and used her home-grown rosellas.
She adapted the recipe many years ago when they lived in the sun-baked desert in far north western Queensland and berries were impossible to come by but rosellas thrived. There was no nipping down to the local supermarket even for frozen ones back then.
Rosellas make for a fantastic variation on the original. Their flavour is sour and slightly astringent, made deeper by the essential addition of sugar – and not dissimilar to lingonberries.
1 litre of cold water
300 grams of fresh rosellas (seed removed)
½ a cup of golden caster sugar
1 cup of semolina
Place the rosellas, and water in to a large saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the fruit to soften and release its deep red colour. Remove from the heat and strain the liquid in to a heat proof jug.
While the rosellas have given up some of their flavour and colour the remaining fruit is still rich and ready for another transformation. Reserve the flesh in a smaller saucepan for later to make into super quick jam.
Return the liquid to the pan and add the sugar, stir to dissolve and add the semolina. Return to the heat and bring the mixture to the boil stirring constantly. If the semolina begins to clump a balloon whisk will help smooth it all out.
Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the semolina is cooked and no longer grainy to the touch. Stirring, always stirring.
Here comes the magic.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and using a stand or hand mixer, beat the pudding with a whisk attachment for at least 5 minutes on high speed. The dark magenta mixture will begin to transform to a paler, lighter and much larger version of itself right before your eyes. The Vispipuuro is born.
It’s best served a room temperature, so allow to cool before devouring. Milk and sugar or cream make for a great accompaniment.
Meanwhile, don’t forget about the rosellas. These are quickly transformed into jam with the addition of half a cup of caster sugar and the juice and seeds of a small lemon. Bring this all to the boil and cook for 10 minutes on a steady heat. Once ready fish out the lemon seeds and transfer into a sterilised jar.
Dollop jam on top of the Vispipuuro for a delightful rosella infused twist on a Scandinavian summer favourite. Then pop down to the lake for a dip!