We’re all about fabulous simplicity these days, especially as the holidays approach. What’s more fabulous than traditional Nordic cooking in winter? Just about nothing. We’re obsessed with the Scandinavian lifestyle, especially when it comes to dreams of winter. This recipe for ‘air pudding’ is unlike anything we’ve ever tried and we thought it could be the perfect pick to use up all those extra cranberries in a couple of weeks.
Darra Goldstein, founding editor of Gastronomica and food scholar extraordinaire has written another Scandinavian-inspired cookbook ready to be dogeared to death. It’s called Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking and is filled with as many gorgeous countryside images as intriguing recipes. Here’s one of our favorites…
This beloved Finnish pudding is also known as “air pudding” (ilmapuuro) because it’s so light. It’s a typical after-school snack, now sold ready-made at the supermarket, though the homemade version is far superior. Your guests will have a hard time guessing what’s in this pudding, but the secret is farina, which we know as Cream of Wheat. Just be sure not to use the instant variety, or you’ll have a disaster on your hands.
The Finns make vispipuuro with lingonberry juice, which has the perfect balance of sweet and tart but, sadly, lingonberry juice is hard to find in the States. I substitute cranberry, which turns the pudding an equally beautiful shade of pink. The proportions below are carefully balanced to yield a slightly tart pudding, so you’ll want to check the label of the juice you buy. Brands of cranberry juice vary from 7 to 9 grams in the amount of natural sugar they contain per serving. Seven grams will definitely make you shiver and pucker, so unless that’s an experience you desire, seek out a brand that lists 9 grams of natural sugar per serving. I use Lakewood Pure Cranberry Juice.
Vispipuuro (WHIPPED BERRY PUDDING)
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
6 Tbsp farina (Cream of Wheat, not instant)
3⁄4 cup sugar, or to taste
In a saucepan, heat the cranberry juice over medium-high heat. Gradually pour in the farina, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t clump.
Add the sugar and cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. At this point you can add a little more sugar if the mixture isn’t sweet enough for your taste.
Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
Transfer the farina mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until the pudding has doubled in bulk and turned light in color, about 10 minutes. The texture will be a bit like marshmallow fluff. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.