Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Whipped Porridge

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

It's interesting to explore traditional foods from other countries. Dishes or ingredients commonly used for a certain meal or dish in one country may have an entirely different use in another country. What's considered non-traditional in one place may be be tradition in another.

Vispipuuro is a whipped porridge often served for dessert in Finland.  When I think of porridge I think of a gluey oatmeal served for breakfast.  In this dish porridge consists of an ingredient that goes by several names.  Some call it semolina and others use the term farina.  In the U.S. it's more commonly know as Cream of Wheat.  I've always considered Cream of Wheat to be a breakfast food and was intrigued by the idea of using it in a dessert.  The thought of whipping it to a mousse-like consistency was just too much for my curiosity to handle.

When making something unfamiliar, I typically compare 4 or 5 plus recipes to get a good idea of the standard.  This dessert is traditionally made with lingonberries but can also be made with other fruit. Cranberries seem to be the closest substitute here in the U.S.  Most of the recipes boiled down a fruit and sugar mixture before adding the semolina, but a few recipes started with fruit juice.  Cranberry orange is a nice combination so I decided to try using orange juice. Of course the decision to use orange juice had nothing to do with the fact that we have 5 half-gallon jugs of orange juice in our fridge.  But that's another story.

The sort version of this story involves using what I had on hand; orange juice and a package of instant Cream of Wheat.  I'm guessing the instant Cream of Wheat is what gave me problems.  Ingredients can vary from country to country, and I doubt the Cream of Wheat we have here is exactly like the semolina in Finland. Using the instant variety was pushing it too far, not to mention the orange juice.

In the end, my whipped porridge was smooth ans silky but never turned to a whipped, mousse-like consistency.  Some recipes called for a beating time of 4-5 minutes and others suggested whipping it a good 20 minutes.  I whipped and whipped, but never achieved what I was hoping for.  Eventually I'll go back and follow an authentic recipe using more traditional ingredients.  I found a few variations that use rye flour in place of the semolina and may try that as well.  My curiosity isn't satisfied on this one, but it's at least toned down enough I can move on to the next project.  Only time will tell what crazy kitchen mischief I'll get into today.

Food for Thought: "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstien

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