Monday, March 06, 2006

Estonian milk curd dessert with berries (kohupiimakreem)

I'm still all excited like a kid about discovering a Polish shop* nearby here in Edinburgh. Amongst other things that leave me cold (dried packet soups and ubiquous biscuits with a best before date in January 2048), they stock rather decent rye bread, vacuum-packed sauerkraut and salted cucumbers, plain and flavoured kefir, stuffed dumplings of various types, and the best sour cream in town. Though I have a nagging feeling that I'm one of the very few foodbloggers who gets all excited about a place that sells fermented milk, fermented shredded cabbage and fermented salty cucumbers:)

It also sells proper milk curd, so I can make typical Estonian desserts without having to recreate the creamy yet grainy texture with a mixture of quark and ricotta instead. Not that it'd be difficult of course, and during my seven or so years in Edinburgh I've successfully settled for the 'fake milk curd' instead. But there is something more satisfying about using the real thing, and I've already tried some familiar dishes using milk curd.

Milk curd on its own can be topped or mixed with jam and eaten as a humble weekday dessert, but when mixed with whipped cream it becomes a much more luscious pudding. Here it is served simply with berries, but it would also be a delicious filling for a simple sponge cake. One of my favourite 5-minute party cakes is a sponge layered and topped with coffee-flavoured milk curd cream, and topped with toasted flaked almonds.

Estonian farmer's cheese cream with berries
(Lihtne kohupiimakreem)

250 grams (low-fat) milk curd
250 ml whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-5 tsp sugar

Press the milk curd through a sieve, if it's too coarse and grainy.
Add the sugar to the cream and whip until soft peaks form.
Add the vanilla extract and curd cheese. Mix gently until combined.
Spoon into glasses (tap on the work surface couple of times to smooth the top).
Top with berries of your choice and put into the fridge until serving.

Can be made up to a day in advance.

* Bona Deli, 86 South Clerk Street, Edinburgh


Ilva said...

It so much easier for me as a Swede, there is always an IKEA store somewhere close nowadays. But I have to confess that I been to Ikea in Italy only thrice in 12 years, I suppose that means that I don't miss Swedish food that much or what?

neil said...

You are definitely not on your own in liking milk curd, fermented cabbage and fermented cucumbers. We are fortunate in having several Polish shops around, but far and away our favourite is the Polish Shop at Victoria Market, close to the city of Melbourne. Not just our favourite either. We get there early and there are always a lot of people there, later in the morning it's impossible to get close. We like to buy lux ham (raw, smoked) and it is always fun to see the women having a giggle when they buy wedding sausage.

Pille said...

Ilva - maybe it's because in Italy you live amongst the abundance of tantalising food anyway, so you don't even notice that there's no Swedish food around. Scotland, although it has lots of delicious food, isn't exactly a culinary hotspot and fresh fruit and veg aren't as varied and flavoursome as in Italy. So I end up thinking "mmh, what to cook" more often and then food from home pops into my mind..

Paz - it's slightly tarter and creamier than ricotta, so worth trying.

Tankeduptaco - thanks for telling me, I feel much less of an culinary weirdo now:) Re: the wedding sausage?? Have no clue what you're talking about, but if women are having a giggle when buying it, I better go and try to get a sneak peek at my local Polish then;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Pille, as you have found out already I share your love for milk curd. I also have my own "humble weekday dessert" based on it. Whisk two egg yolks (if you do not mind using raw ones, I believe in relying on good quality eggs and do not worry...) and 2 heaped tbsp of sugar and a spoon full of finely grated lemon or orange zest until pale, add 250 g milk curd; whisk the remaining egg whites with some more caster sugar and fold into the curd. Best in summer when I have some orange ment or lemon melissa to add, and some fresh wood strawberries.... And not to forget: I understand your enthusiasm about the Polish shop. The farer you are from home the more cravings for foodie childhood revivals you get... Best from still snowy and chilly Vienna, angelika

Gustad said...

i love blueberries. i am going to try this out.
what is wedding sausage by the way?

Pille said...

Angelika - indeed:) But it's definitely a regional thing. Your dessert sounds delicious as well, especially as I love melissa/lemon balm a lot - my mum grows some in the garden, and I include it in my herbal infusion.

Gustad - any berries are good with this cream, but I am partial to blueberries as well.
Re: wedding sausage - I honestly have no clue. I need to go and ask the Poles in the shop:)

Karin said...

Hei :)
Love the blog :) Do you think i could add it as a link to mine, i'm sure my friends abroad would like to see your entries?

tervisi, Karin

Stephanie said...

Milk curd ... ooohhh, milk curd ...

Is that what it tastes like? Quark und ricotta? Yums! That's what I used to make all the time. Milk curd & blueberries - fabulous combo. I think I hate you. I am sure I cannot get milk curd here and now I will be craving for it for weeks after reading this post.

Pille said...

Karin - of course you can, I'd be honoured!

MM - oh, please don't hate me! You can just try quark or ricotta instead, I'm sure it'd be just as nice:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Pille,

I've been quite busy so I havn't read your blog during the last days. Your Polish shop sounds just great! I'm in Gothenburg visiting my parents this weekend and today we went to an outdoor market where they sell a lot of Polish food. These Poles actually come from Poland every weekend just to sell food here at the market. I bought a lot of nice things to take home to Stockholm.

Pille said...

Dagmar - I'm glad to hear that you've found some nice Polish produce in Göteborg - too bad it's _after_ you moved to Stockholm though:)
Have you found a good Polish shop in Stockholm yet?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's really too bad. But my mother will do some shopping for me when she'll visit me here in Stockholm :-)

There's a Polish shop near Fredrik's job, but I havn't been there for the last 1.5 year. I'll probably go there next week to do some shopping.