I did a little research and decided that the easiest thing for me to make would be a whipped lingonberry (puolukka) porridge–vispipuuro (really, I was sold on the name). With only 5 ingredients and one of them being water, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. But, considering it’s not summer or early fall, and I haven’t just returned from a berry-picking adventure–lingonberries, according to a Scandinavian food website, are the juicier, yet equally tart cousin of the cranberry–in the Finnish countryside, I had to figure out how best to go about this enterprise. I first thought that I would go with frozen lingonberries, but the grocery store I went to didn’t seem to have them. I was momentarily stumped (I had read that juice would be a good substitute on a Finnish cooking blog), but then decided that jam would be a nice alternative since the first step of the recipe was to add berries to water and boil them with sugar and a little salt. All this meant was that I wouldn’t have to add any extra sugar.
And it really couldn’t have been any easier. After a day of working on my R&C class for the fall (“Lost Love and Murky Memories”! I’m so excited I’ll be teaching Nicole Krauss, as well as Karapanou and Petrushevskaia. It’s almost an entirely new syllabus, but, as with the blog background, I figured it was time for change. Being away has that effect on you; it makes it easier to cut the cord) and experiencing gusts of wind that could steal your breath, I needed to unwind–both away from the computer and in front of a warm stove. And, although I’m hardly capable of telling you if this is the real deal or not in terms of Finnish dessert porridge, I liked it. After 6-8 minutes of whipping the semolina-jam mixture with the electric mixer on high speed, not only did little peaks form, but you could also see the air bubbles (the final product is the first picture, while the pre-whipped product is the final one; both have their charm). When I dug the spoon into the bowl, it gave a very satisfying little plopping sound. And the lingonberry jam, which you can apparently buy at IKEA (the recipe is within your reach), was just the right combination of sweet and sour. I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s the kind of dessert you can whip up in minutes–always a plus!–and, in my personal opinion, it could even be eaten for breakfast…As I was savoring my tiny bowl, I was reading Maria Speck’s Ancient Grains for Modern Meals and drooling over the breakfast recipes when it hit me: the porridge is not unlike a breakfast polenta; in fact, I would even say it’s lighter. What’s not to love about something you could have after dinner and then again in the morning?
Whipped Lingonberry Porridge (Vispipuuro)
Yields 2-3 light servings
sugar or cream for serving (optional)