The kissel: juice or a meal?Yulia Mulino
Originally, kissel was made of oat flakes and served as a savoury main course. Thanks to the fermentation process the dish had a slightly sour taste. Made dense enough, it would be cut with a knife. Traditional kissel looked like a sort of pudding that went well with meat or mushroom sauces during the main course. Nowadays, hardly anyone knows about kissel in this variation.
In modern Russian cuisine, kissel is mostly a sweet drink cooked with berries. Based on flour or starch, it gains a thick structure but remains a liquid. The gluey texture is quite specific, and sometimes hated by kids. It was especially true in Soviet times when kissel was omnipresent. In my opinion, it is unfairly unappreciated, and I like it precisely for its creamy and fresh berry taste.
In an effort to be creative, I found a way to present this traditional dish to my children. I use it as a dressing for pancakes (or oladyi), waffles or ice cream. It contains less sugar than syrup or jam but remains rich in berry flavors. Moreover, it moistures any dessert, making it juicy. Check out how I cook raspberry kissel.
If you want to make your kissel more liquidy then use only 2 teaspoons of starch.
1. Place berries with 450 ml of water in a pot and bring to boil. Add sugar and let boil for 5 minutes. You will get compote.
2. Remove the berries from the compote.
3. Stir starch in 50 ml of cold water using a whisk until obtaining homogeneous consistency.
4. Slowly pour starch liquid into a berry liquid, continuously stirring the mass with the whisk. Let it boil.
5. Keep on whisking the kissel all the way. When the kissel becomes thicker take it off the burner.
6. Warm kissel has a liquid structure, and becomes denser when cooled.
7. Use this warm kissel as a sauce for your desserts. Enjoy!
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