Menu: Estonia

Winters in Estonia are decidedly predictable. The weather is cold and snowy, and it stays that way for a long while. Not so much here, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This February we had 14 inches of snow followed – less than a week later – by 83F. Since Tulsa can’t seem to decide whether to cling to winter or jump forward to spring, our Estonian Global Table celebrates three desserts – one wintery, one that hearkens spring, and one somewhere in the middle. Help me. My pants no longer fit.

Which dish would you try?

Smoked Herring Dip [Recipe]
Herring is Estonia’s national fish. Enjoy smoked herring swimming in a sea of sour cream, lemon juice, crunchy red onion, and dill. Use rye crackers for dipping.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart [Recipe]
Welcome spring with the sweet-tart combination of strawberry rhubarb. A splash of cream and egg yolks make this dessert especially luscious.

Gingerbread (for cookies & more) [Recipe]
Our Estonian inspired gingerbread will have bite if you use good, fresh spices. The pepper and ginger really bring this traditional winter cookie to life.

Gingerbread Ricotta Tart [Recipe]
A cheesecake of sorts, this Estonian treat  has a mild hit of sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. The gingerbread crust spells winter, while the fresh cheese filling feels like spring.

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  1. Everything except the smoked herring…

    • I’m with you, Mom!

      • Jessica Bennett says:

        I like herring but not sour cream or overpowering onion. Not a big fan of ricotta either, but perhaps I just haven’t had good ricotta or had with it a combination of ingredients I would prefer. In other words, your ricotta tart definitely sounds like something I’d want to try.

  2. You’re missing the best Estonian dish of all – Piruka! They’re small buns with a filling – I’ve seen carrot or cabbage ones, but the best of all are filled with delicious bacon. When I visited family there a few years back, my cousins and I polished off each batch (of 2 dozen) before the next batch came out of the oven.

    One of the scariest Eesti dishes I’ve seen is Rosolje – it’s a chilled salad of beets, beef, pickles, potato, onion, and apples, in a sour cream dressing (with a bit of herring for depth). It’s neon pink, and sounds bizarre, but it’s delicious.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Keith would have been all over the bacon piruka… I saw recipes for the Rosolje – it was tempting (strange to say), but in the end the lure of those wonderful desserts was too strong.

  3. Hi Sasha:

    Looking forward to your review of the strawberry-rhubarb tart – one of my favorites. Well, really anything with rhubarb is up there. A great crop from Central Asia – still underapprciated in world cuisine, despite the craze about it a few years back.

    Interesting, the piruka described by Em sound a lot like Russian pirozhki – with fish or meat. If the dishes are alike, they are delicious and it is easy to polish off a lot of them – often with a swipe of sour cream (at least that’s how the Russian’s eat it.)

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thanks! My mom made rhubarb pies a lot when I was little – it’s something that I crave regularly. :) I’ve really not seen it in much besides tarts and pies – I’m curious about how else it is used… perhaps in savory applications?

  4. OMG…I totally missed out ( I was happily just there visitng)!! So did you slip in a fluff of whip cream with the gingerbread, delicious!!!…?
    I am excited to see the receipes….go with the flow…

  5. I have a nice recipe for Lamb and rhubarb stew from the northeast of Iran-Turkmenistan area that is delicious, and then a few other Central Asian recipes as well. It works well with meat much as sour cherries or sour plums are used. The link for the stew recipe is:

    The secret is to put the rhubarb in at the very end of cooking, sometimes just: add, stir, cover and remove from heat and let rest. As the stew rests, the rhubarb cooks in the dissapating heat.


    P.S The tart looks amazing!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Laura, that recipe looks incredible. I can’t begin to imagine the flavor – the mint and cilantro, combined with heat from the chili peppers.. all with lamb and rhubarb. Wonderful… I’ll have to try it.

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