Rūpjmaizes kārtojums, or layered rye bread dessert (Latvia)

Latvia is a fairly small and sparsely populated ex-Soviet country located in the Baltic region, between Estonia and Lithuania. Lithuanian and Latvian are the only Baltic languages remaining in the world.

Latvian food is similar to that in other Baltic and Northern European countries with some Russian and German influences. Focus is on meat, fish, dairy products, peas, bread, potatoes, onions, cabbage, wheat, rye and barley. Food has traditionally been simple and fairly greasy, spices aren’t used much. Pickled and fermented foods are fairly common. Wild berries and mushrooms are also popular and could be considered the delicacies of the area.

Besides being a staple of their diet, rye bread is a popular ingredient in Latvian desserts and also used in Estonia (in Finland there is also a rye-crumb hazelnut yoghurt available, but I’m not aware of any other contemporary rye-based desserts).

The original recipe instructed to grate the rye bread, but even trying different graters I found it very difficult. I decided to put it in a food processor. The result was very coarse crumbs, probably could have been a bit finer.

The original recipe uses mascarpone cheese, but mentions that whipped cream is the more traditional option. I used a Finnish oat/coconut-based whipped cream substitute which is indistinguishable from dairy whipped cream, but you could also use soy whip or Google for a recipe for coconut/cashew/almond/macadamia whipped cream or tofu/almond/cashew mascarpone. I also used lingonberry jam.

The dessert is layered, but a bit like a trifle, so I built it in a tall glass. As you can see I accidentally forgot the lingonberry jam from the lowermost layer. Nonetheless, it was very tasty, tastier than I expected. Frying the rye bread with the sugar and cinnamon makes it taste more like a sweet cookie.

Rūpjmaizes kārtojums

Rūpjmaizes kārtojums

5 slices slightly stale rye bread, grated/processed into coarse crumbs
a bunch of vegan mascarpone or whipped cream, sweetened as needed
1 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp vanilla sugar (or a little vanilla extract or ground vanilla)
3 tbsp mashed cranberries, lingonberries or a tart cranberry or lingonberry jam

Toast breadcrumbs, cinnamon and sugar on a dry frying pan for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Leave to cool.

Divide the crumbs into three parts, one slightly smaller than the others (for the top). Put one part at the bottom of your container. Spread half of the the cream or mascarpone on top of it and half of the berries/jam on top. Build another similar layer and top with the smallest portion of the rye crumbs.

Chill for 5-10 hours in the fridge and serve. Makes 3-4 portions.

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