Vispipuuro

This fruity and fluffy Finnish porridge is vegan and can be eaten for breakfast, dessert or as a snack!

Preparation time: 20 minutesCooking time: 25 minutes
Cooling time: 60 minutesServes: 3
Difficulty: Moderate

Ingredients

  • 800ml/8dl/1½ pints/3⅓ cups of water
  • 280g/10oz/2 cups of lingonberries, cranberries, redcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries and/or blackberries
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g/3½oz/½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 85g/3oz/½ cup of semolina

Special Equipment

  • A large saucepan
  • A sieve
  • An electric whisk
  • Serving glasses

Method

  1. Pour the water, berries, sugar and salt into a large saucepan. Set the saucepan over a high heat and bring the berry mixture to the boil. Allow it to boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the berries have begun to break down. Stir occasionally while cooking.
  2. Pour the berry mixture through a sieve into a large bowl. Discard the berries and pour the berry infused water back into the pan. Return the pan to the hob and set it over a high heat again.
  3. When the berry water begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium and pour the semolina into the pan. Allow the berry water and semolina to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the liquid is nicely thickened. Stir it regularly while it’s cooking.
  4. Remove the pan from the hob and leave the berry water and semolina mixture to cool down to room temperature.
  5. Use an electric whisk to whip up the berry water and semolina mixture. It’s ready when it’s very fluffy and has become lighter in colour- this will take at least 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the finished Vispipuuro into serving glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. Hyvää ruokahalua!/Smaklig måltid!

Tips

  • You don’t have to remove the berries from the berry water before adding the semolina. If you leave them in the Vispipuuro will be less fluffy but much fruitier!
  • Make sure the Vispipuuro is cold before serving. If you like you can pour milk over it and garnish it with berries.
  • Vispipuuro can be eaten for dessert, breakfast or as a snack.

Background

Pronunciation: (VEES-pee-POUR-ohh)

Home: Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Norway, Latvia

Relatives: Manų Košė (Lithuania), Rødgrød (Denmark, Germany), Tejbegríz (Hungary), Helmipuuro (Finland), Guriev Kasha (Russia), Semolina Pudding (UK), Mousse (France)

History

In Finland, lingonberries are the preferred fruit for making Vispipuuro. The lingonberry shrub is resilient to cold but struggles in warmer temperatures, so it thrives in the Baltoscandian subarctic climate. Finland itself has a low population density and encompasses vast swathes of wilderness, made up of boreal forests, plateaus and hundreds of thousands of large lakes, so the country has plenty of space for wild lingonberry shrubs to grow. As a result many Finnish people are able to handpick wild lingonberries and don’t have to rely on cultivated fruits.

Lingonberries are naturally tart so they are usually sweetened with lots of sugar. They are used in jams, compotes, juices, smoothies, as well as in sauces for elk and reindeer steaks. Particular recipes made using lingonberries include Mors (a Russian drink often taken with vodka), Lingonpäron (a Swedish dessert of pears cooked in lingonberry juice), Kroppkakor (Swedish dumplings garnished with lingonberries) and Poronkäristys (Finnish sautéed reindeer with mashed potatoes and lingonberries.)

Vispipuuro itself (‘whipped porridge’) is eaten in Finland as well as in neighbouring countries. As it’s a widespread dish it’s known by many names: Lappaporru in western Finland, Klappgröt in Sweden, Mannavaht in Estonia, Uzputenis in Latvia and Russedessert in Norway. Its Norwegian name suggests Vispipuuro is of Russian origin, but its history is quite undocumented, so we don’t know for sure! Vispipuuro first made its way into Scandinavian cookbooks in the early 20th century, but is probably much, much older.

Winter in Finland
Guillaume Baviere, IIjärvi from Iivaara in winter, 2012
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IIj%C3%A4rvi_from_Iivaara_in_winter.jpg [accessed 24/09/2020] https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

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