I visited Estonia , a country I never knew existed during December 2002. It was a 2 day visit to see the country side over a weekend. I was based out of Finland for some project work. I had the company of one Canadian, one American and one Finnish consultant over the 2 months that I spent in Finland during that trip. Each weekend the 3 folks (2 men and 1 lady) planned to do something other than work. Being junior at work, I usually just acknowledged their plans but never contributed to any. One evening they decided to visit the plant at Tallinn which is the only thing I knew about Estonia. They excluded my name assuming that I would have visa restrictions. That evening (rather late night) I had a strange calling ...it felt weird, as I went back to my room in the hotel, and checked my visa, sent an sms to my travel admin and asked whether I can visit Estonia. I found I could in minutes so I went back the American lady who by now had become a good friend. I told her that I can come along to Estonia. She was thrilled to hear so she said, pack your bags for 2 days as we will do some sight seeing considering we were heading towards a weekend.
We took a chopper ship - that is what they translated to me ...a ship that had a large blade fan that chopped the ice on its way to make way through the river at -15c ice glace. The journey was one anxious trip for us until we reached the port.
From that point it was a magical land. Small lanes covered with snow, tiny long nosed people, wearing furs, walking swiftly across huge glass window shops, behind the glass windows, beautiful souvenir shops selling colorful goodies. This is the picture I have retained almost 12 years later about this place.
The city looks like a chip off the Russian movies I had seen before. The people are intelligent and hard working holding big manufacturing plants for many telcos around the world.
We shopped a lot of goodies mostly chocolates and cheese (moose milk cheese) which was probably imported from other parts of the Europe. Coming to the recipe for today, I picked this because I had to do an ode to both Estonia and Finland. I may not go back to these places again considering these opportunities come seldom, but I have memories to share...
Ingredients 3 cups APF/ Maida2 tspn corn starch1 cup unsalted butter1 cup sugar1 cup full fat milk2 1/4 tspn instant yeast for the filling2 tbsp butter2 tbsp brown sugar1 tspn cinnamon powder/ cocoa powdera pinch of salt
Method 1) Melt the butter in the milk by heating it on low flame. When melted, remove from heat and let it cool down to slightly warm (luke warm) 2) In another large bowl, take the flour, cornstarch, sugar, yeast and mix it well. Add the luke warm milk mixture gradually. 3) Knead well for 5 -10 min until the dough becomes soft. Let it stand for upto an hour or until it doubles 4) When the dough doubles, knead it again and then using a rolling pin roll it out flat in a rectangular shape. Roll it out to about 1/8 inch thickness.
5) In another small bowl, mix the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt to form a paste 6) Spread this mixture on the rolled out dough
7) Now start rolling the dough gently and seal the ends by pressing it
8) Now using a knife, vertically cut the roll
9) Gently separate the two parts. Weave them carefully into a plait.
10) Join the ends to form a circle. Try to press the seams underneath. Let this stand for 30 min before baking
11) Preheat the oven at 220 C for 10 min 12) Place the kringle on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 200C and bake for 30 min 13) It is ready when the top is browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped at the base. Serve with berry jam and sour curds with a cup of coffee
Normally berries are found in abundance in the Nordic region. I came across red currants, so I made a quick jam using the same. Simple sugar and berries reduced on slow flame. Also, I served fresh home made curd mixed with icing sugar to replicate the Viili taste