Today we are going to have a different kind of Old World experience – instead of drawing from my cultural background, we’ll be making a Finnish recipe for a change, as a nod to my American family’s European roots.
Every Christmas, my mother-in-law, Dawn, makes this wonderful, tart raspberry mousse, or “cloud pudding,” or dulevelia, as we call it (whether or not this is truly a modern Finnish word or even dish, I cannot say, but, in any case, it was handed down to us by Dawn’s Finnish ancestors).
I recently thought that it was time for me to learn how to make it, prompted, in part, by the fact that I still had some of last summer’s frozen raspberries left in my freezer, and Dawn generously agreed to make it with me and let me take pictures. Thank you Dawn!
Up to this day, Dawn and I were probably the only women in the world who knew how to make this exact thing in this exact way, but now you will too! I feel like some ancient mystery is about to be made public.
To make cloud pudding, farina (cream of wheat) is cooked with raspberry juice, beaten in a stand mixer (or, back in the olden days, by hand), and whipped cream is then folded into the resulting mixture. Simple, isn’t it? When I watched her do it, I immediately began to wonder what other fruit I could make this with – elderberries and black raspberries (and blackberries) immediately came to mind. I mean, how genius is that?
Note that we like ours on a sour side, tempered somewhat by sweetened whipped cream served as garnish, but feel free to increase the amount of sugar as you see fit. In fact, the original source of this recipe, Dawn’s Aunt Julia, made hers exclusively with tiny wild berries that grew in her native Upper Peninsula Michigan, and frowned upon the use of the “tame” garden variety which she believed to not had been tart enough, and she used to say that she liked her dulevelia “sour enough to cause sweat to form on the upper lip.” I’ll leave you to contemplate this image while I move on with the recipe:
If your berries are frozen, you’re gonna need to thaw them out fully. However, I forgot to thaw my berries in this case, and we just went with the frozen ones, adding a bit of cranberry juice for liquid. It worked!
Put the berries and a bit of lemon juice (about 4 T) into a pot and cook over low to medium heat until the berries have released their juice and individual berries have disintegrated into seedpods.
Strain the berries (not pictured) into a large measuring cup – you want to have 3 C of juice. Supplement with cranberry juice to fill measure. Discard the seeds and the pulp.
Pour the juice into a pot and set it over medium heat.
Next, you’ll need about 1/2 (or a little over) C of farina.
Sprinkle it in slowly while stirring the entire time. We don’t want lumps, that’s what we don’t want. Keep cooking, stirring non-stop and scraping the bottom, until thick and boiling all over (but not so long that it begins to burn).
It will look like this when it is done.
Next, pour it into a bowl of an electric stand mixer. The next step is to beat it, using the paddle attachment (and NOT the whip) – you’ll need the density of the paddle to plow through all that farina – until light in color, fully cooled, and has doubled or tripped in size. My mother-in-law does it by setting her mixer out into her cold mudroom while it beats to help it cool, but you can also do it over an ice-water bath if you can manage to fit a bowl of ice-water under your mixer bowl (which I can do). In this case, the mudroom wasn’t going to be cold enough, so we took the bowl out and stuck it in the snow, stirring the mixture with a spatula until the steam stopped rising.
Add your sugar at this point. Dawn added 1/4 C, but it’s up to you. Somewhere along the line, Dawn took two big bags of frozen corn out of the freezer and held them next to the bottom of the bowl to help the mixture cool faster.
Until it looked like this!
Pour it into a large serving bowl.
Fold in the whipped cream, to which 1/4 sugar has been added before whipping. She whipped 3 C of cream, but then took some whipped cream out to serve as garnish. In general, you want roughly the same amount of cream as you have juice.
By the way, do you know how to fold? Slide your spatula along the wall of the bowl all the way to the bottom, bring it up to the top, and fold into the center, like in the above picture. Give your bowl a quarter turn, and continue until incorporated. Note that it’s better to have some streaks in the finished product than to sacrifice some of the airy texture by over-folding. Ask me how I know this.
See, some streaks. They are OK!
Serve with whipped cream as garnish.
And now for the final touch… Since this is served at Christmas, Dawn always adds a single whole almond (any kind, really) to the mousse. The lucky person to get it in his serving is going to have good luck all year! I can tell you first-hand that this is entirely true! The year before last I got the almond, and what do you know, it was the best year of my life, during which I became a US citizen (my life’s primary goal), popped out a beautiful baby boy in my bed at home, and shot my first deer!
Aunt Julia’s Finnish Cloud Pudding
- about 3.5 qt thawed berries (frozen worked too with the addition of a little juice)
- cranberry juice, to fill measure
- 1/2 C farina (cream of wheat)
- 1/2 C sugar, divided, or more to taste
- 3 C heavy whipping cream
- 3-4 T lemon juice (to boost color and flavor)
Cook the berries with the lemon juice until they release the juice and disintegrate into individual seed pods. Strain. Discard the solids. If needed, add enough cranberry juice to the resulting raspberry liquid to get 3 C. Pour into a pot set over medium heat. Sprinkle in the farina, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring the entire time, until thick and boiling all over.
Pour the farina mixture into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add 1/4 C of sugar, and beat on medium to medium-high until the mixture has cooled, become light in color, and doubled or tripled in size. Transfer into a large bowl.
Whip the cream with the remaining 1/4 C of sugar, and set some aside for garnish. Fold the rest into the whipped farina mixture, being careful not to over-fold. Serve garnished with more whipped cream.