Jumat, 01 Februari 2008

Estonian desserts: Bubert, or a light and fluffy egg and semolina pudding

So many of you liked the look of the cranberry fruit soup the other day, and here's a recipe for a dessert that is traditionally served with fruit soup like this - bubert. I don't know if bubert is unique to Estonia, but I certainly haven't seen it anywhere else (which isn't to say that it's unique, so if you know something similar, let me know*. It's a bit similar to floating islands, just that's everything is mixed up and then served with fruit soup:). For a pudding that's so local, however, it has a very exotic name - you see, no typical Estonian words start with 'b' nor 'd' or 'g' for that matter - these letters are reserved for recently borrowed words such as 'banaan', 'garaaž' and 'diivan'. How come a traditional grandmother pudding (i.e. a pudding that your granny would serve you) bear an exotic name like that, I do not know..

Bubert, a light and fluffy egg and semolina pudding
Serves 4 to 6

500 ml (2 cups) milk
2 Tbsp semolina/cream of wheat
3 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp sugar
vanilla extract or grated lemon zest, to taste

Bring the milk into boil.
Sprinkle in semolina, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until semolina has softened and expanded and the porridge thickened a little (it'll still be very runny).
Mix egg yolks and sugar into a paste, add a ladleful of hot porridge to temper, mix, and pour the egg yolk mixture into the porridge. Simmer on a very low heat until the porridge thickens, but do not let it boil! Season with vanilla or lemon zest.
Whisk the egg whites until semi-hard peaks form, then take the porridge off the heat, gently fold in the egg whites, until combined.
Place the saucepan back to the heat, heat gently through to cook the egg whites, and remove the pot from the heat as soon as the first bubbles appear.
Serve the light and fluffy pudding with a fruit coulis, redcurrant or cranberry fruit soup or stewed fruit.

* A reader called Mara Bradford just emailed me to say that buberts is also popular in Latvia. Anywhere else?