Friday, February 01, 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?


Gracianne said...

It does look lovely in the middle of it's cranberry lake.

Sophie said...

I've never heard of bubert before Pille but you're right, it is a bit reminiscent of floating islands.

Lovely piccy - I like the pink in the flowers next to the pink of the 'soup'

Rosa said...

I've had semolina on the brain lately for some reason, so I can't wait to try this! Thank you.

La Tartine Gourmande said...

Yum Pille, I want to swim in that soup!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh my so it goes with! Pille, both this and the soup before look delightful!!

Bron said...

This is such a vibrant colour and almost festive looking dessert, I'm imagining the Bubert heart shaped for Valentines day!
BTW I've tagged you

Valentina said...

Oh Pille, what a wonderful looking dish. Can't stop looking at the picture. I am going to prepare it.By the way, today i will be making your delicious saffron pancakes again.

S.V. Bristol Rose said...

Yours is the first link added to our new Aussie-flavored blog,
I can taste the food, just looking at the gorgeous photographs. Semolina is a favorite.

Anonymous said...

Yay! I have tons of semolina leftover from the pizza I made (I used it from sprinkling on the pan and my bag was 1 kilo so you can imagine I have a lot leftover...) so I am collecting semolina recipes from everyone and everywhere! :) I am saving this post haste! :) Thanks Pille, it looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Hi again! I just did a search for "semolina" here and found so many fabulous recipes! :) Yay! Quick question: For semolina porridge - mannapuder...what would be your approx ratio of milk to semolina? Thanks Pille!

Pille said...

Gracianne – thank you!

Sophie – thanks! K. is taking most of the photos recently, so he deserves the credit :)

Rosa – what would you usually do with semolina? It’d be interesting to know..

Bea - ??? LOL :)

Tanna – thank you! It’s a lovely combination of colours.

Bron – not sure you’ll be able to shape the bubert into a heart shape – it’s a bit soft for that – but then I’ve never tried to do it myself :) Thanks for tagging me – I will try to find time to complete it, but cannot promise anything..

Valentina – saffron pancakes? Thanks for reminding me about them!!

Trish – I’m very flattered :) It’s interesting to read you like semolina, too!

Joey – are we talking about the same semolina? (The one we use is known as cream of wheat in the us). In any case, there are quite a few recipes on my blog using semolina (as you’ve found). As for the porridge – we prefer 1:10 ratio – i.e. for 1 litre of milk we’d use 100 ml of semolina (just under half a cup). You heat up the milk, then stir in semolina and keep stirring for about 10 minutes until it thickens into a soft, loose porridge. Season with salt and/or sugar and serve. A favourite comfort breakfast of ours..

Rachel Parent-Päärsalu said...

Just stumbled on your blog - looks great! As a bit of a foodie and a second generation Estonian-Canadian, it's neat for me to see this type of blog. We always called this something different though - I'm not sure on the actual spelling (I don't speak Estonian - yet!), but phonetically we used to call it "rosa muna". Ring any bells?

Pille said...

Rachel - so good to see another Estonian-expat discover Nami-Nami :)

Roosamanna is similar, but different - there's a recipe for roosamanna/mannavaht here: (roosamanna = roosa (pink) + manna (semolina/cream of wheat).

Beabew said...

Hi Pille,

My name is Bea, I'm Latvian and I came across your blog randomly while searching for some recipes from back home. :) Will just say that I'm happy to see how much you enjoy cooking and the wonderful meals that come out of your love for Estonian food. I was happily surprised to see how much in common our two cuisines have. :) It might have something to do with the geographical location I suspect...;)

Cooking is my passion and hobby too, but no matter how much I love to create new dishes, experiment and try new cuisines, I always come back to the foods from home because I long for the comfort of flavors that I recall from my childhood. :) I'm currently living in Dublin and have been for the past 4 years so you can probably relate being away from home like me.

As of buberts-this is just what I was looking for! I loved my mom's bubert when I was a kid and, yes, indeed it is an old granny desert recipe that Latvian's are closely familiar with, not only that-we have it with freshly made cranberry ķīselis (soup thickened by potato or cornstarch). :)

This is as popular in Latvia as rye bread fruit soup, sauteed or braised sauerkraut (I made your beer sauerkraut yesterday and it was delightful! So thank you very much indeed for posting it. :)), curd patties, beetroot soup, liver pate, Roosamanna ehk mannavaht that we know as debesmanna and many many more of the dishes that you make. And the apple cakes-apple cakes! :D

Enough of me drooling over this and back to browsing your posts. :) I'm definitely making buberts as soon as I get my next grocery shopping done. (mmmm) :D

All the best in continuing the blog and authentic cooking Pille,


Pille said...

Lovely to "meet" you, Bea! And thank you for all the info. x

Linda said...

Lovely blog. It's true that we Latvians believe that buberts is our food clasics. We make it either from semolina or flour. Our family buberts recipe is more than 150 years old.

Anonymous said...

Hallo friends, Bubbert is an old baltic-german recipe too, Igot it from my mother in-law.
it takes 6 egg yolks beaten with suger +1 cup flour.
Boil 1 l milk, add the egg-yolk and som lemon-cest and some almonds grinted.boil till thiklish, add beaten eggwhite and serve it with fruit-juice.
Semolina is called " Manna " in the old baltish days

Pille said...

Linda, thank you for your comment. You're lucky to be able to use an "ancient" family recipe for buberts - how exciting!!!

Anon. - entirely possible, that both Latvians and Estonians have got the bubert/bubbert/buberts recipe from the Baltic Germans. We should look into that more thoroughly.
And yes, semolina is still called 'manna' in Estonian!

Andrea said...

Ahhh, how wonderful to see a neighbour of ours posting one of our common desserts! I'm a first gen Latvian-Canadian, and remember my grandmothers and mother making buperts, although it was often made with flour, in order to create more difference from debesmanna.☺️
I look forward to pouring into your blog for further recipes that are so close to my 'native' cuisine. It's refreshing to see that our recipes are still available, as I have forgotten so many! Today our grocery stores are so full of preserved, chemically enhanced "fast foods"— I just can't eat that any longer, knowing that it is so full of 'garbage'! Back to my roots, I am introducing more and more ethnic dishes to my Canadian husband and my daughters are thrilled to learn the recipes from the "old days". Thank you so much for keeping your/our Baltic culture alive and introducing the ways of our grandmothers to the children of our Baltic heritage!!
Blessings! And thank you... ☺️❤️

Harro Maydell said...

The term Bubert is of Baltic German derivation.