Winterfest - Finnish Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

We are approaching the end of winter now and this is a dish that helps the Finns embrace winter. It's a delicious spiced mixed dried fruit "soup" served with delicious, creamy rice pudding or riisipuuro. It's also a staple at Finnish Christmas dinners!

This mixed fruit soup is one of my favourite Finnish foods and we always seem to have it at Mr NQN's aunt and uncle's house for the annual Christmas lunch or Joulupöytä aka yule table (and we know Santa is from Finland too right?). I actually found myself craving it one day. Perhaps I've become Finnish by association.

Both the fruit and Riisipuuro rice pudding are easily made and all you need is half an hour for the dried fruits to simmer in the spices and the rice pudding to swell, thicken and become creamy. If you are serving this at Christmas, you can add one almond into the pudding and whomever gets the almond in their bowl is said to receive good luck the next year.

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

The soup can be either hot or cold and because our Christmases are so hot we eat it cold although during cold weather it is great served warm. While I love rice pudding I actually prefer this with a scoop of really good quality vanilla ice cream with it especially if the fruit is hot but the ice cream is cold.

I used to eschew vanilla ice cream in favour of crazy flavours but lately I'm growing to like it. At Mapo in Newtown the fior de latte was my favourite.

Recently we were at another gelato place and Laura ordered a vanilla gelato. She must have sensed my surprise at her flavour selection because she said to me, "That is the only time I am vanilla." We are friends because we both share a similar sense of humour and it is on the saucy side (if you hadn't guessed) and are generally not very vanilla or bland/basic people (or at least we don't think so).

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

In fact a few months ago we discussed starting an erotic book club. That didn't really go anywhere, we didn't end up buying the book because it actually didn't look that well written (that would have irritated us) and nobody else wanted to join us!

So tell me Dear Reader, would you join an erotic book club? And do you like vanilla ice cream? Are you vanilla?

Finnish Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding {Riisipuuro}

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes (concurrently)

  • 3 cups mixed dried fruit (I used prunes, figs, apricots and currants)
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 pieces orange zest
  • 1 vanilla bean, split down the centre
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch mixed with 4 tablespoons of water (enough to make a slurry)

Rice Pudding or Riisipuuro

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 whole almond (optional)

Buyer's tip: you can buy potato starch at Asian grocery stores

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

Step 1 - Place the fruit, water, cinnamon, cardamom, orange zest and vanilla bean in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the sugar and sweeten to taste. Remove from heat and add the potato starch and thicken.

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

Step 2 - While it is cooking make the rice pudding. Add the rice (do not rinse), milk, cream, vanilla and cardamom to a saucepan and bring to a boil and simmer gently until the rice is cooked. Add in the sugar to taste and the almond if using.

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

Finnish Christmas Mixed Fruit Soup & Rice Pudding

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