Lingonberry Caramel Dessert – Puolukkainen karamelliherkku

photo (52)I thought I would give you the recipe that is one of my guaranteed desserts when guests arrive! I love to introduce Finnish tastiness particularly the flavours from Finnish forests to anyone visiting our household. Usually this means forest blueberries, lingonberries or cloudberries. Lingonberry is a difficult one as it is so bitter that it needs something extremely sweet to go with it! It is also an interesting berry as it can be stored in its own bitterness for a long time and it does not go off. Lingonberries stay well for weeks in the pot in the fridge!

This lingonberry dessert is easy and quick but very delicious. When we had my dear Aussie husband’s friends over they just ate more and more of this heavenly combination. If you cannot get lingonberries to your hands you can prepare the same kind of dessert with fresh cranberries (or even with sea buckthorn) as they have the same kind of bitterness in them.

The picture above has been taken whenI served this lovely dessert with home made Anzac biscuits but my absolutely favourite combination with it is gingerbread biscuits. The christmas biscuits give a nice winter touch so I recommend to use those instead of oat biscuits.

4-5 portions:

1 can of condensed milk

1 pot ( 2dl =1 cup) of double cream (or soy cream)

1dl (1/2 cup) greek yoghurt (or soy yoghurt). You can use more depending how yoghurty you want the result to be.

1 tsp vanilla sugar

3-4 tbsp sugar

gingerbread biscuits

lingonberries

1. Preparation well beforehand (can be done on the previous day): Boil the sealed can of condensed milk for 2h under the water in a big saucepan. Add water if needed. Open the can carefully, pour the sauce to a bowl and let the caramel cool down.

2. Whip the cream and mix it with greek yoghurt, vanilla sugar and sugar.

3.  Build the desserts: Crush the biscuits and add them to the bottom of the bowl, pour caramel sauce on top, add some lingonberries and cream mix on top and sprinkle some extra biscuits on top. You can also crush some dark chocolate for variation.

Yum! Healthy and good!

Catherine Berwick’s Parsnip and maple syrup cake

I am currently living in a land of ale and fish&chips. Everything that is served has to go with the beer. Sometimes I have been wondering what is the common denominator when a Finn marries an Aussie and lives in England. Well, easy, it has to be the beer. In other words, a good beer. Finns like Aussies are proud of their own beers, the labels no-one else has even heard about and still they call them the real beer. In England I think their love of pints is something the same. A pint or two is always welcome.

This is only an introduction to the quote that came up when I served this heavenly parsnip cake. It is evidently very important that a cake goes with the beer.

One of our friends had a birthday last weekend. I wanted to surprise him so I decided to bake a cake, but I had a big dilemma ahead of me. What to serve so that it would go with a beer? I thought through the recipes in my mind..no chocolate based, that wouldn’t go well, neither a cheesecake -too much dairy product…then I remembered this wonderful cake that won the competition in Good Food magazine last year. Fantastic. I tried it as it was said to be ”the new carrot cake”. I ran to the store early in the morning to get the ingredients and voila the cake was ready in two hours. It was time to serve it for the demanding audience..half of them Aussie men requiring something that goes with a beer, half of them women who are very into good food. I was a bit nervous.  When our friends had eaten their first pieces of cake and were running to get another ones, I realised the cake was a success. Boys absolutely loved it. The legendary comment was ”this is not too sweet and it goes so well with the beer”! Great! So, if you fancy a cake recipe that would go even with a beer whilst you’re having your summer picnic in the park this is it! Try it. The parsnip cake is a brilliant invention, it has a carrot cake texture, but it is not that sweet. It is moist and mouthwatering. Bake it and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 175g butter , plus extra for greasing
  • 250g demerara sugar
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour (or flour mixed with baking powder)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 250g parsnips , peeled and grated
  • 1 medium apple peeled, cored and grated
  • 50g pecans, roughly chopped
  • zest and juice 1 small orange
  • icing sugar , to serve

FOR THE FILLING

  • 250g tub mascarpone
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the base of the 20cm cake dish with baking parchment. Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Bake for 45-55 mins until the tops spring back when pressed lightly.
  2. Cool the cake. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup. Spread over one cake and sandwich with the other. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

ROCKY ROAD –BROWNIES

I have been terribly lazy to add any new recipes. I felt embarrassed to check out my own blog and notice that my last recipe was added in February! Then I looked at my site stats and I realised that you all have been anyway reading my blog all that time probably hoping to get some new delicious recipes!

Well, I have a good excuse (at least I keep on telling that to myself). I have a new job that has taken most of my time lately and second of all I just got married so all the wedding arrangements have taken that other part of my time. Anyway enough of excuses. All I can say is that I guarantee and I promise that I will add more recipes and be more active.

The UK is great, London is great. I feel like I see the whole city with the new eyes as I have a fantastic job that I am excited about. The down side of it is that I have less time to cook, in fact less to do experimental cooking. After a long working day one does not want to try out something new that may not please the taste nerves.

I had the most perfect hen’s night. It was a total surprise. I landed in Helsinki airport, I was supposed to have a quiet BBQ party with a few of my closest friends. At least I thought so until we arrived to her place and we opened the door. There they were, all my best and closest friends together. The table was full of the most tempting looking salads and cakes, and all this was made for me. I was touched. I could tell you all the smallest details about this amazing night, but I guess you would get bored of it in the end. It was a traditional Finnish hen’s night with bridal saunas, spells, beer etc. I feel so thankful that my dearest friends devoted two full days only for me….as  I finally relised if not before that I WAS GETTING MARRIED!

Well, Päivi, one of my dearest friends, my cake master friend was resposible for the sweet side of the dishes for my hen’s night dinner. Here I want to share her Rocky Road Brownie recipe with you. It was mouthwatering! They were the best brownies I have ever eaten and I am saying this as a person who does not even like brownies. They were superb!

BASE:

3 dl            flour

2 tl             baking powder

2 tl            salt

2 dl            coco powder

3,5 dl            caster sugar

2 dl            brown sugar (farin)

2 dl            white chocolate crushed

2 dl            melted butter (200 g)

4            eggs

1 dl            coffee

FILLING:

2 dl           dark chocolate crushed

2 dl            marshmallows (small pieces)

(2 dl            walnuts crushed)

1. Whisk butter, eggs and coffee. Add all the dry ingredients.

2. Pour this base on a baking dish or tray and bake it in 170 degrees for 20-25 minutes or a little bit longer.

3. Mix all the filling ingredients together and pour the filling on the top of the base after taking it out from the oven.

4. Bake the brownies for additional 5-7 minutes so that chocolate melts and the marshmallows turn to brown.

5. Serve either warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with some coffee.

ENJOY!

Päivi’s Brilliant Whisky Cheesecake

I could name my dear friend Päivi as the cheesecake chef of all. Like one of my chocolate cheesecake recipes, I also owe this whisky cheesecake recipe to Päivi. Last August Päivi and her husband invited me and my Aussieman for an amazing three course dinner. As a dessert she served this breathtaking cheesecake. I asked the recipe immediately, but for some reason I forgot to add it on my site.

My Aussieman loved this cake. He adores all the cheesecakes, but what could be better from man’s point of view than a cheesecake combined with some tasty whisky. I baked this cake for our party last autumn and guests ate it all..nothing was left (even though I secretly hoped I could have eaten some for brekkie).

I know that in Finland there have been wondering cheesecake recipes made of Bailey’s liqueur. By chance, a few days later after I tasted this delicous whisky cake for the first time my mum called and said that their family friends served them heavenly Bailey’s cheesecake the other day. I told her to wait a moment and I promised to bake the whisky cheesecake she wouldn’t ever forget. I baked it next time I visited Finland. My mum absolutely loved this cake and so did my dad (who is not that big fan of sweet desserts). The secret and weapon of this whisky cheesecake is that it is not actually very sweet. The taste of the cake is so unbelievably smooth and balanced. This cake suits also for people who do not like whisky as the flavour of whisky is very nicely combined with some cream cheese.

Base:

150 g crushed cookies (Digestive,McVitie’s)

50 g melted butter

Filling:

2 egg yolk
¾ dl whisky
1 tl vanilla sugar
100 g caster sugar
250 g cream cheese
5 leaves gelatine
1 dl hot coffee
2,5 dl whipped cream
2 egg whites
50 g sugar

Crush the biscuits and mix with the melted butter. Shape the base for the cake by using the cake tin with the removable edges. Soak the leaves of gelatin in the cold water (according to the packet’s instructions) and dissolve them into the coffee. Mix the egg yolks, cream cheese, whisky and sugars together. Add the gelatin-coffee mixture and whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Whisk the  two egg whites and 50g of sugar together until the mixture is foamy. Add the foam into the cream cheese mixture.  Pour the filling on the top of the base. Leave it to sit in the fridge for 4-5 hours or overnight. (I found 5 hours enough). If the guests come in the evening the cake is good to make in the morning.

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or by itself!

Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake

Last time when I visited one of my friends (who is also an excellent cook), she served frozen chocolate cheesecake. I couldn’t resist that cake, after every bite I just wanted to take another one and another one. In Finland this cake is also known as Nina Lincoln’s Frozen Chocolate Cheesecake. It is an amazing invention. Chocolate cheesecakes are sometimes too heavy. Whereas this one whilst being frozen is totally the opposite. It almost feels like eating creamy chocolate ice cream on the top of the biscuit base. This recipe is quite an easy one, although the baking takes some time. The cake has to sit in the freezeer at least 4 hours before serving. In fact, if one wants to make sure that the cake has been nicely freezed before melting it again for serving, one should keep it in the freezer over night. This is my summer version of chocolate cheesecake. On a hot day one can hardly imagine anything so delicious as a cold chocolate cheesecake. It replaces ice cream any time. Give it a try! It is yummy!

Base:

9 Hobnob or Digestive biscuits

35 g butter

Cheescake filling:

200g dark chocolate

200g cream cheese

150g caster sugar (approximately 1 1/2 dl)

1 tsp vanilla sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 dl cream

1. Make the base at first. Crush the biscuits, melt the butter and combine them to make a nice biscuit base.

2. Melt the chocolate. Mix the cream cheese, add 100g of sugar and vanilla sugar.

3. Take the yolks and add then into the cream cheese mixture. Add the melted chocolate into this mixture.

4. Whisk the egg whites so that they turn into a nice fluffy foam. Whisk the rest of the sugar (50g) into this egg white foam. Add the egg white sugar mixture into the cream cheese chocolate mixture.

5. Whip the cream and add that into the mixture.

6. Pour the filling on the top of the biscuit base and place it in the freezer over night.

Serve the cake after it has melted for a while. Half an hour gives enough time so that the cake stays cold but becomes soft.

Mousse au Chocolat

This creamy and absolutely mouthwatering recipe is from the time of my exchange student year in France. French people just happen to know what is delicious and delicate. I think it is due to a fact that they don’t think about calories or low fat products. The flavour seems to be everything to them. Occasionally I thought that French people, particularly men, seemed to boast how much they have eaten at Christmas time and how big their belly has become. It meant that their cooking has been a succes and that they are not bungling amateurs in the kitchen!

I also learnt that the delicious sauce made of light cream doesn’t exist..or if it does, it can’t be good. If I try to put their attitude to words it would be: ”Low fat is cheating”. Be that as it may I learnt a lot of French kitchen during my time in there. In Finland how one advertises a good recipe is dependent on how healthy and low fat it is. You have to think that lentils in tomato sauce with wholegrain pasta is good -of course it must be good for god sake, it is healthy. The pleasure of eating is secondary in this northern country or at least it looks like it if you build up your image of Finnish eating habbits according to the recipes in the magazines and our cooking books. Whereas in France a good recipe is a delicious recipe. I have found the same attitude and appreciation of cooking in many other countries – in Australia too. Maybe it is stemming from the European immigrants -Greek, British, Italian- and their appreciation of kitchen that they brought in the middle of Pacific Ocean.

It has been a new experience for me that my dear Aussie man thinks that the bigger his belly is the happier he is. The belly tells that the food served at home is tasty and irresistable. This is exactly the same attitude I found in France. I wish Finns would discover and adopt that attitude one day too and give up their Winter War frame of mind that admires simple and modest eating and living habbits. Maybe this is wishful thinking but I can start to put it into practice by serving this fantastic but simple chocolate mousse recipe for all my guests.

When I tasted this mousse for the first time I was wondering what is in it -I should have guessed that nothing tastes so creamy as full cream beated with chocolate. This is an excellent and handy recipe because it doesn’t include any eggs. This full cream chocolate mousse doesn’t try to get its fluffiness from beated eggs, but cream makes it soft and pleasant. Try it. One can definitely apply the saying: KISS -”keep it simple stupid” – to this recipe.

Preparation: 20min, Cooking 6min, In the fridge 2 hours. In total 2 1/2 hours.

For 4-6 persons

200g chocolate

2 1/2 dl cream

1. Melt the chocolate.

2. Mix the cream (non-whipped) and the melted chocolate together.

3. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for 2 hours.

4. Take the mixture out from the fridge and whip it with the electric mixer. It will turn into a beautiful mousse.

5. Serve it and enjoy its smooth and flavoursome taste!

I however have to admit that as much as I admired and enjoyed French kitchen during my exchange year: full cream, butter and amazing treats -yes, lovely -but a paradox of skinny beautiful French women stayed as a mystery for me!

Heavenly Chocolate Cheesecake

For the following recipe I thank my friend Päivi, who is a master chef particularly regarding to desserts! Just before last Christmas we had girls sauna night and she served this heavenly chocolate cheesecake for dessert. After one bite I was already in love and demanding the secret recipe to surprise my Aussie man -who bye the way LOVES cheesecakes -! I also wanted to make it up to him that I blew up the New York cheesecake by baking an eggy omelette instead of smooth sweet cheesecake only a few months before.. Here I want to share for you all this magical recipe with which you can surprise your darling anytime…if any man is reading my blog I warmly recommed you to bake this cake for your sweet heart tonight..The recipe is so easy that even a clumsiest chef manages to prepare it perfectly. To bake this cheesecake requires  zero pre-knowledge of cooking or baking. That’s why there’s not even a chance to be like me with my New York cheesecake and end up eating an omelette!

For base you need:

150g Domino/Oreo biscuits

50g melted butter

For the cheesecake:

400g cream cheese

1 3/4dl caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 dl cream

200g dark chocolate

1. Heat up the oven for 160 degrees. Melt the butter. Crush the biscuits. Mix them and prepare the base. You can use a round baking dish approximately 20cm in diameter.

2.  Whisk the cream cheese before adding any other ingredients. When it is running add the sugar, then the vanilla sugar, then the eggs once at a time and in the end add the cream (non-whipped).

3. Take half of the cream cheese mixture and put it on the top of the base. Add the melted chocolate into the other half of the cream cheese mixture and put this chocolate cream cheese mixture on the top of the white layer in a baking dish. Then mix the white and brown mixture with a spoon so that the surface  starts to look marbled.

4. Put the cheesecake into the oven in 160 degrees for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes turn the heat off and letthe cake stay there another hour or so.

5. Leave the cake rest in the fringe for at least 2-4 hours. It is actually at its best on the following day!

ENJOY with some amazing red wine!

Pia’s Pretty Pavlova

There are certain desserts that I bake when my Aussieman feels homecisk. One is the carrot cake that I have already added on my blog…the other one is Pavlova! This dessert is a sure choice for summer time. It takes for a quite a long time to make but it is worth it and your guests will love it! What is even better,  it also contains a small piece of history.

Pavlova is a a meringue based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. There is still a debate going on where the origins of this amazing dessert are. Russians claim it their own, Australians present it always as their national dessert, but unfortunately all currently available research suggests the recipe originated in New Zealand. Tasty as it is ,it is understandable that everyone wants to claim it his own. Anyway for my Aussieman it is a taste of Australia in the middle of Europe. I think however that nothing beats this cake made of Finnish strawberries. Pavlova may be a fantastic invention, but what makes it even more special is the Finnish strawberries grown in the fresh air of this northern country. Their  sweet, unique and inimitable flavour will finish the taste! Call me patriotic, but if you haven’t taste Pavlova with Finnish strawberries you don’t know what is the real Pavlova like!

4 egg whites

225g golden caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)

vanilla sugar

2tbs caster sugar

2dl  (light 15%) cream

500g strawberries

1 kiwi fruit

1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites with electric beaters until they just form stiff and shiny peaks. Gradually add the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time. Whisk really well between each addition. When all of the sugar is used up continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until the meringue is stiff and glossy and stands up in peaks, then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Spoon the mixture onto the baking. Put in the oven, turn the temperature down to 120C/fan and cook for 11/2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside until completely cold.

2. Whip the cream add sugar and vanilla sugar.

3. Cut the strawberries nicely into thin slices. Slice the kiwi fruit as well. Decorate teh meringue first with the cream and set the strawberries and kiwi fruit slices beautifully on the top of the meringue.

4. Serve this absolutely beautiful and tasty dessert with champagne! My personal recommedation and love is Pol Roger!

HOMESICKNESS KILLER CARROT CAKE

I know Finnish winter can be tough..not just for poor foreigners but also for Finns..especially this winter when it has been snowing over 65 cm in the south and the temperature just keeps on staying under -10 degrees…Well my poor Aussieman was missing home so badly…feeling so homesick that the only comfort he was able to find was a real tasty carrot cake!

This recipe is from Good Food magazine. I tested it and it is unbelievable!!! Its amazing taste won’t let you down. It is moist, carroty and not too sweet! This recipe is devoted for all the women whose boyfriends or husbands are feeling homesick and they want to have something that tastes like home. And for the Finns, this is ”try to love your cold below zero home country” comfort cake!

CARROT CAKE

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml oil
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 200g carrots , finely grated
  • 150g walnuts, chopped, I RECOMMEND ALMONDS, CHOPPED
  • 227g tin pineapple pieces, well drained and chopped (optional)

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 250g cream cheese
  1. Heat the oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Line a 20cm, 10cm deep cake tin. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and stir in the sugar. Beat the eggs with the oil and citrus zests. Stir in the carrots and fold everything into the flour mixture. Fold in the walnuts and pineapple if using. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool.
  2. For the frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar together until soft and then beat in the cream cheese. Chill the mixture until it’s thick but spreadable. Spread a thick layer on top of the cake, making sure the side of the icing is flat and continues upwards from the side of the cake.

Blueberry Pie from the Forests of Finland

Tasty blueberry pie was a trademark of Twin Peaks, the famous TV-series shown on 90s. More and more eccentric people popped in the local coffee bar to enjoy its blueberry pie and coffee. Those scenes are hard to forget.

What can be better than just baked blueberry pie with some vanilla ice cream or sauce? Hardly anything, particulary if one has picked the berries from the forests himself.

Here is my favourite blueberry pie recipe. What makes the pie, and especially its base so nice is a secret Finnish ingredient: VIILI. ”Viili” is a Finnish sour whole milk -product. It is totally different from yoghurt. It is made by leaving a milk to sit in a lidded pot in room temperature over night. WHAT? REALLY? YES.

So if my dear aussieman who comes near the equator is afraid that milk goes off in room temperature, we Finns LOVE the milk which has gone off in room temperature -it is ”VIILI”! It is a delicious and precious dairy product not spoiled milk! To explain about its texture. Viili is a fluffy version of yoghurt and sour in a different way. It is glue-like and that’s why extremely challenging to eat. If you try to eat it with a spoon just when you thought you have caught one spoonful of it, it slips away. That fluffy texture however, makes VIILI an ideal ingredient for cake or pie doughs, it makes dough fluffy and juicy too!!!

So run to the nearest forest, pick some berries and bake a pie -today!

This blueperry will be the size of a baking tray! Have a party and serve it for  a massive group of friends!

8 dl flour

4 dl white sugar

2 tsp baking powder (baking soda)

200 g melted butter

2 eggs

2 dl VIILI, sour whole milk or sour milk

2 packages MAITORAHKA (which is also a Finniah product similar to French ”Fromage Blanc”, a different kind of sour milk product again)

2 eggs

2 dl white sugar

2 tsp vanilla sugar

blueberries

Preheat the oven to 200 c degrees. Combine 8 dl flour, 4dl sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp vanilla sugar and melted butter. It is a crublu at this point. Take 1/3 of it and place it to a plate for wait. Add 2 eggs and 2 dl of VIILI to  2/3 of the dough. Mix well. It turns to  a thick  dough. Press that 2/3 of the dough on a baking tray and form the base 1-2cm thick. Mix 2 packages of MAITORAHKA (fromage blanc, sour milk), 2 eggs, 2 dl sugar, 2 tsp vanilla sugar and blueberries. Pour the filling on the top of the base. Sprinkle 1/3 of the crubly dough on top. Bake for 30 minutes until the top of the pie turns golden brown. Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream or sauce! For me this pie gives a flavour of Finnish forests with its multitude of berries.

PS. I tried this recipe with red berries and I served it for our american friend who visited us last August. Surprisingly our american friend who is more used to doughnuts and cheesecakes, as americans quite often do, loved this combination! I loved it to. I discovered that actually otherwise too strong and maybe a bit too vinegary taste of red berries gives an amazingly piquant flavour for this pie! So be experimental and try different berries! HYVÄÄ RUOKAHALUA (Bon appétit) as we say in Finland!