Fruit Soup and Rice Pudding

Every year on the first Wednesday of December, we celebrate Pikku Joulu (Little Christmas) at Irma’s Finland House. It’s a Finnish celebration that kicks off the start to the Christmas season. Be sure to stop by the store on this day for a wonderful party. Our lovely Finnish ladies are always dressed in their traditional costumes and we have a fantastic spread of goodies to sample including rice pudding with fruit soup.

Rice Pudding

1 cup uncooked rice
3 cups milk
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup sugar
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sliced unblanched almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 whole blanched almond
Light cream

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Combine the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Stir in the rice and pour into a well-buttered 2 quart casserole. Combine the sliced almonds and cinnamon and sprinkle over the pudding. Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 1 hour or until the pudding has thickened sufficiently. Press the whole almond into the pudding and cover the mark left. Serve either hot or chilled with the light cream to pour over it. Serves 6 to 8.

At Christmastime, a blanched almond is often pressed into this pudding before it is served, and it is said that the person who gets it will have good luck during the following year.

Fruit Soup

1 pound mixed dried fruits (apricots, prunes, pears, and apples)
2 ½ quarts (10 cups) water
1 stick cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
2 tablespoons cold water
Whipped cream

Simmer the dried fruits in the water with the cinnamon and sugar until the fruits are tender (about 1 hour). Dissolve the cornstarch or potato starch in the 2 tablespoons of cold water, bring the soup to boiling, and stir in the starch mixture. Cook, covered, until the soup has thickened and is clear. Cool with the cover on to prevent a skin from forming on top. To serve, pour over rice pudding and top with whipped cream. Serves 8 to 10.

From The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas

May 20, 2019 — Catherine Branville