I am not usually a big maker of puns but even I could not resist. I am going to give you a “recipe” for a strawberry rhubarb fool and my sister and I are traveling in Estonia right now…so traveling fool. Okay I’ll stop…
Last week, I was attending a Nordic-Celtic-Baltic Folklorist’s conference at University of Tartu. I was the only puppeteer who attended, but the folklorists gave me a warm welcome! I found the lectures inspiring and fascinating. If you want to learn how folklore teaches us to safely and successfully collect magical bracken on Midsummer Night, I now have a notebook full of information…and that was just one of the TWENTY EIGHT lectures that I attended. We are on our way to stay on a very rural island (where our grandparents lived until they fled in World War Two) and I feeling confident that I now have the folk information to deal with any fairies, elves, trolls, witches, ghosts or werewolves that we may encounter there.
Before I left town, I made this incredibly delicious rhubarb fool with cardamom cream with Pistachio Brandy Snaps both from the impeccable food blog Lottie and Doof. To make the brandy snaps gluten-free I use the recipe for Jeanne’s gluten-free flour mix from The Art of Gluten-Free Baking. That’s right, I ate even more rhubarb than the numerous rhubarb posts of the last month indicate. I promise to post recipes that involve something other than rhubarb… just as soon as I start eating something other than rhubarb. I also am very interested in this rhubarb fool (also featuring cardamom and pistachios) that uses coconut cream, but I have not tried it yet. If you are at home with all of the resources of your kitchen I recommend trying one of the above recipes…but let’s pretend that you are traveling and your resources are somewhat limited in an exciting and unfamiliar way. Behold the kitchenette….If you, like me, are the kind of traveller who always makes sure to stay somewhere with a little kitchenette, a fool is the sort of dessert that you can make by stewing whatever fruit is in season locally and layering it with the creamy dairy deliciousness that is traditional where you are visiting. You get bonus points if you can find something crunchy and sweet to sprinkle on the top. In truth, if the fruit is very ripe you could even just muddle it up a bit and skip the stewing part. I made this fool in the town of Tartu using ingredients from the local market. It went well with the pink and red colors of the town hall which was right across from our apartment.
We also had a view of the kissing student statue. I love how there is fountain water trickling off of their umbrella as if they are kissing in the rain. So sweet.
For a university town, Tartu actually has a whole lot of sweet, accessible, universal public art on themes like young love…or a father’s awe of his son…or pork…
Where is the art that makes you feel stupid? Not in Tartu. You do not need a degree in theory to appreciate this lovely town. This happy giant sow statue stands outside the Tartu Market, where you can buy all manner of fruits, vegetables, honey, pork, fish, eggs and dairy from old sturdy Estonian women, many of whom look and sound so much mike my grandmother that I can barely control my urge to climb into their lap and kiss them!
At the market right now in Estonia, you can buy sorrel, dill, cucumbers (both pickled and fresh), tomatoes, red currants, strawberries, rhubarb, red currants and lily of the valley.
I overbought strawberries and rhubarb (surprise!) so I made them into a compote. I had some gluten-free cardamom, rose, pistachio shortbread leftover from a batch that I made as a snack for my plane ride. Well, I had some crumbs, but it was enough to garnish a fool. I also had some fresh red currants (which are much tarter than you might expect!). I sent my sister to the market to get some cultured cream called kohu-piim which an Estonian friend recommended. After an encounter with flustered dairy saleswoman my sister returned home with something more like a very creamy tart ricotta. it was delicious!
We are in the larger city of Tallinn now. Tallinn is simultaneously medieval and modern. We are having a ball exploring the old city, the history of Estonian handicrafts and modern art and how the current artists and designers are interpreting it. Our next post will probably be about our food adventures. In the meanwhile, here are my favourite pictures from Tartu!
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