Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blackberry Mousse Recipe

I am slowly getting back into the blogging mood. We had two exceptional meals during our French trip, one by Anne-Sophie Pic, the other by Jacques & Régis Marcon. Both meals deserve their own blog post - and let me tell you that I've been daydreaming about their food since we returned :) However, as we're in the middle of jam-making and pickling season here in Estonia, the food at home has been exceptionally low key and simple.

Blackberries do grow wild in Estonia, but they're nowhere as popular - or well known and easily found - as they are in Britain, for instance. I managed to pick up a punnet of blackberries at the Central Market few days ago. As they're quite an infrequent visitor in our kitchen, I decided to divide the berries into three portions and make three different dishes. The first one up - a simple creamy mousse.

If you're wondering about the hat on the picture, then that's the required chapeau I wore at the wedding in France :)

Blackberry Mousse
(Õhuline põldmarjavaht)
Serves 4

150 g ripe blackberries
40 g sugar (about 1/3 cup)
quarter of a lemon (grated zest and juice)
200 ml whipping cream
1 Tbsp brandy (optional)

Place blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl and crush with a back of a wooden spoon.
In another bowl, whish the cream until soft peaks form. Pour over the berries and continue whisking until the mousse is thick and airy. Fold in the brandy.
Spoon the mousse into dessert bowls and garnish with whole blackberries.
Serve at once or chill until ready to serve.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

French holiday

Just a quick note to explain the hiatus on this blog. We were in France for a while to attend a French-Russian wedding of some friends in Sauzet, have delicious lunch/dinner/breakfast at Maison Pic in Valence (and meet the most adorable Anne-Sophie Pic in person), enjoy the exquisite food at Régis & Jacques Marcon's restaurant in Saint Bonnet le Froid, and eat couple of those juicy and oh-so-pretty peche de sanguine.

Normal blogging will resume soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Redcurrant Meringue Pie

What do you usually do with redcurrants? I always make some redcurrant jelly, and redcurrant juice makes excellent cordial. But there aren't too many redcurrant cake recipes in my cake repertoire, I must admit. I had a recipe for a redcurrant meringue pie that I had picked up several years ago from one of the supermarket recipe stands (Selver, in this case). Several readers of my Estonian site had praised it, but I didn't get around to making it until last week. As usual, I changed some quantities and tweaked the procedure, and was very pleased with the resulting meringue pie. The ruby redcurrants add a lovely spark, the sweet meringue and the slightly sour filling are an excellent match as well.

Redcurrant Meringue Pie
(Beseekattega punasesõstrakook)

Serves 6 to 8

130 g plain/all-purpose flour (250 ml/1 cup)
30 g oats (100 ml)
2 Tbsp sugar
125 cold butter, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp cold water

250 g sour cream
3 Tbsp caster sugar
grated zest of half a lemon
150 g redcurrants, cleaned (1 cup)
1 Tbsp potato starch or cornflour

Meringue topping:
2 large egg whites
85 g caster sugar (100 ml)

Pastry: mix the dry ingredients, add cubed butter and pulse couple of times, until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add the water, pulse again briefly. Press the mixture into a dough, then use your fingers and press the dought into a 26 cm pie dish.
Place to rest in a fridge for 30 minutes, then blind bake at 200 C for 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 175 Celsius.
Mix sour cream, sugar and grated lemon zest, spread on pre-baked pie base.
Gently mix potato starch/cornflour with the cleaned redcurrants and sprinkle on top of the cream layer.
Whisk egg whites and sugar until thick and white, then spread over the filling (or, for an even prettier effect, use a piping bag).
Bake at 175 C oven for about 15 minutes, until the meringue is light golden brown.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Carrot and Chantarelle Quiche

Carrot and chantarelle quiche / Porgandi-kukeseenepirukas

Decisions, decisions.

A week or two ago I was staring at a pile of yellow chantarelle mushrooms and a bunch of young orange carrots in my fridge, trying to decide which one should become the centrepiece of our dinner table. Earthy wild mushrooms or succulent sweet carrots? Which one to take, and which one to leave? I couldn't choose (which one would you have chosen?), and combined them both in a quiche instead. The resulting carrot and chantarelle quiche could be my favourite wild mushroom tart of all times.

Here's the recipe. Do try it, if you have a chance.

Carrot and Chantarelle Quiche
Serves 6 to 8

Carrot and chantarelle quiche / Porgandi-kukeseenepirukas

175 g plain/all-purpose flour
0.25 tsp salt
100 g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg

200 g carrots
300 g fresh chantarelle mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
about 100 ml /half a cup/ of finely chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs
200 ml single cream
freshly ground black pepper

Combine flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse 8-10 times, until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg, pulse again until the mixture begins to come together. Press the mixture into a dough ball, flatten it into a disk. Using your fingers, press the dough to the bottom and sides of a 24 cm pie dish (alternatively, roll out on a lightly floured surface and line the pie form with the pastry.
Place to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pierce the pastry base with fork, then blind bake in a pre-heated 200 C oven for 10-15 minutes, until the base looks dry.

To make the filling, grate the carrots coarsely. Rinse the mushrooms quickly, if necessary, and drain very thoroughly. If the mushrooms are large, then cut them into smaller pieces.
Heat butter on a saucepan, add mushrooms and carrots. Season with a bit of salt and then sauté on a low heat for 5-7 minutes, until the carrots begin to soften. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the parsley.
Whisk eggs with cream, season with a bit of salt and with some black pepper.

Scatter the mushroom and carrot mixture on the pre-baked pastry case, then pour over the egg and cream mixture.
Cook for another 25-30 minutes, until the filling is set and the pie is light golden brown on top.

Carrot and chantarelle quiche / Porgandi-kukeseenepirukas

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grilled Broad Beans (Fava Beans)

Estonians love their fresh fava beans/broad beans simply boiled in well-seasoned water - and it's a great way for showcasing the humble legume. However, when I saw Heidi's post about Grilled Fava Beans, I knew there was a good contender for the best-thing-to-do-with-broad-beans recipe. I was right - this was an excellent smokey-salty fingerfood, ideal for garden parties. I served these alongside the grilled pig's heart last week, and I'll definitely make them again next year, when I'll be growing my own broad beans in my brand new vegetable garden..

Grilled Broad Beans
(Grillitud põldoad)

Wash the beans, drain thoroughly and pat dry. Toss with some olive oil and flaky sea salt. Heat a griddle pan until very hot, then layer the pods on the pan in a single layer. Grill over high heat on both sides, until the beans are blistered and cooked through.
Eat with your fingers - that's the only way you get the flavour into your mouth :P

Other broad bean recipes @ Nami-Nami:
Broad Bean Paté
Salted Broad Beans, Estonian Style

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cherry Marzipan Tart

Photo updated in October 2010

The cherry season is in full swing in Estonia. Every market stall sells both sweet and sour cherries - the latter being more easily available these days. I love using sour cherries in various cakes, much more than sweet cherries which are often too bland in flavour. Here's a nice recipe with sour cherries and sweet marzipan and crunchy flaked almonds. You can substitute sweet cherries, but I'd use some more lemon zest to spike things up a bit.

Cherry Marzipan Tart
Serves 6 to 8

Cherry Marzipan Tart / Kirsi-martsipanikook

175 g plain/AP flour
3 Tbsp caster sugar
0.5 tsp salt
125 g cold butter
1 egg

200 g marzipan, grated
0.5 lemon (grated zest only)
300 g pitted sour cherries
3 large eggs
250 g creme fraiche or sour cream
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 g sliced almonds

For the pastry, cut flour, salt, sugar and butter into fine crumbs (it's easiest when using your food processor). Add the egg and press the pastry into a ball. Pressing with your fingers, line a 25 cm (10 inch) pie form with the pastry. Put into a fridge for 30 minutes to rest, then blind bake at 200 C for 15 minutes.
Spread the grated marzipan and lemon zest onto the pastry base. Top with cherries*
Whisk sour cream, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until combined, then drizzle over the cherries. Top with sliced almonds.
Bake at 200 Celsius for about 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and the almond topping light golden brown.
Cool before cutting into slices.

* If using frozen cherries, then defreeze them first and drain thoroughly.

Cherry Marzipan Tart / Kirsi-martsipanikook

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Story of a Grilled Pig's Heart

Grilled pig's heart / Grillitud seasüda

Last week a kind friend brought us a whole pluck of a wild boar. He had been on a hunting trip to one of the island, that's why. It was late on Wednesday night, and knowing that liver needs to be cooked a.s.a.p, I simmered it with some carrots, onions and seasonings (salt, pepper, bay leaves) until cooked, to be made into a liver paté next day. The heart and the lights* had to wait - I was too tired to do anything with them in the evening.

First thing on Thursday morning, I checked with two food-loving friends if they're up for a wild boar supper on Thursday night. Of course they were. I made the liver paté, using my usual recipe (grind twice, season with salt, pepper, some brandy and soften with plenty of butter). I spent some time trying to pick a suitable recipe for the heart and lights, and eventually settled for a traditional stew. However, when I went to pick up the to other elements of the pluck, I realised that they were off. Obviously the summer heat wave we're currently having here in Estonia had quickened any processes that go on in raw meat, and there was no way I could use these for cooking.

I had about 2 hours before my friends were arriving for a feast of liver, hearts and lungs :) Luckily, our local supermarket has a very reasonable meat counter (as far as pork cuts are conserned, that is), and K. quickly brought me three nice pig's hearts. You see, I had promised so-called alternative cuts for dinner, so I decided to stick to it. A quick search in the web gave me an idea for grilled pig's heart, and I must say I haven't been so positively surprised about a dish for a while. The grilled heart was different, tasty and very meaty. I'd definitely make this again, when I see nice pig's hearts on the counter.

* An euphemism for lungs.

Grilled pig's heart
(Grillitud seasüda)
Serves about 6

Pig's heart in marinade / Viilutatud seasüda marinaadis

2-3 pig's hearts
half a cup of dry red wine
5-6 Tbsp olive oil
half a cup of chopped herbs (parsley and/or basil)
2-3 large garlic cloves, slices
freshly ground black pepper

Trim the hearts of any sinew and gristle, if necessary (we bought prepared ones). Cut into 7-8 mm slices, and put into a bowl.
Add other ingredients and stir to combine. Leave to marinate in room temperature, covered, for about an hour.
Heat a griddle until very hot, then grill the sliced meat on both sides until golden brown and cooked.

Serve with a drizzle of good balsamico (we used Belazu).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Gooseberry Tart with Condensed Milk Topping

When browsing the Estonian food blog roll this Monday, I spotted a raspberry and blackcurrant tart that had been topped with the simplest 'custard topping' ever - a can of sweetened condensed milk. As we had also picked a batch of mixed gooseberries when visiting K's mum (that was after we got back with our forest and bog bounty of cloudberries, bog bilberries and assorted wild mushrooms ), I was keen to try out the idea with gooseberries. Condensed milk on its own is utterly sweet, I gathered it would go well with slightly tart gooseberries. And it did - plus we quite liked the creamy texture of the topping.

Gooseberry Tart with Condensed Milk Topping
(Kondsenspiimakattega tikrikook)
Serves 8

100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
100 g plain/all-purpose flour
50 g potato starch*
a pinch of salt
1 large egg**
300-400 g gooseberries
400 g can of sweetened condensed milk

Place butter, flour, potato starch and salt into the food processor and process into fine crumbs. Add egg, process shortly until all ingredients are wet. Take the dough out of the food processor, press into a dough ball and flatten slightly. Wrap in a clingfilm and place to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into a circle on a slightly floured surface and line a buttered 24 cm tart tin with it. Pre-bake (preferably blind-bake) at 200 C/400 F for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, top and tail the gooseberries (or is it 'tip and tail'?). Scatter on top of the tart base. Drizzle condensed milk on top, making sure that majority of berries are covered.
Bake for another 20 minutes or so, until the gooseberries are soft and tart lovely golden brown on edges.
Cool before serving.

* Replacing some of the flour with potato starch makes a crispier tart crust. If unavaiable, just take 150 g all-purpose flour instead.
** For an eggless crust, use 2-3 Tbsp cold water.

Monday, August 03, 2009


We spent couple of hours in our favourite forest and bog yesterday, taking home:

Two litres of beautiful cloudberries (1.2 kg of berries after cleaning!!). That's going to make plenty of delicious cloudberry jam:
2 litres of cloudberries / 2 liitrit murakaid

Enough chantarelle mushrooms for 2, perhaps even three pies and quiches:
Chantarelles / Kukeseened

... and enough other wild mushrooms (edible Russula mushrooms) for today's mushroom sauce:
Selection of edible wild mushrooms / Valik pilvikuid

We're pleased :)