Early season treats à la Eesti Estonian Life
Its colour palate might not impress, but warm rabarberi KISSELL (thickened juice aka thickened stewed berries), in this case made out of one of the first yields of the land – fresh rhubarb, and including slices of dried apple, is the nostalgic childhood favourite treat of many. Into the warm kissell, room temperature or cold islands or dumplings if you will, of manna (wheat semolina, cream of wheat) is added. The thickened juice of any berries or fruits and lily-white semolina are a perfect match and have been enjoyed for generations.
I apologise for the dreamy quality of this photo; perhaps it deserves to be interpreted as such: it's rabarberi plaadi-puru/kook. Plaadi/kook – "(cookie) sheet cake" is any cake made on a cookie sheet and then cut into squares, the classics being õuna, apple and kohu/piima (curd cheese, quark). Puru/kook is any cake with puru or crumble (butter, flour, sugar) on top. This cake is both, starring rhubarb. The tea on the side is a bright yellow colour. It's made of dried nurme/nukk (Primula veris, cowslip) flowers, one of the first flowers collected in the spring for culinary and medicinal use which is widely collected since it blooms all over the countryside in early spring. The next comparably widespread gathering of blossoms for drying is coming up soon when the pärnad (linden trees) begin to bloom in order to brew pärna/õie/tee, linden blossom tea for the entire upcoming year.
Photos and text: Riina Kindlam, Tallinn