Did You Try Making: Pille Petersoo’s Estonian Crumb Cake
Photo Source: Nami Nami Blog
Pille’s Estonian Crumb cake was featured as one of our summer recipes in Issue 04 of Countlan Magazine. Today, we learn about the significance of the crumb cake, where to dine in Tallinn and which Estonian foods should be on your radar when travelling.
INTERVIEW: Pille Petersoo // Nami Nami blog // Viimsi, Estonia
In a lovely suburb just outside Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is where you’ll find Pille, the sociologist, food writer and blogger behind the food blog, Nami Nami.
01 Why did you start blogging?
In the summer of 2005, I had too much free time on my hands while waiting for my PhD in Edinburgh. I came across two food blogs – Chocolate and Zucchini, written by Clotilde Dusoulier, and The Traveler’s Lunchbox, written by Melissa Kronenthal (Melissa and I both studied in Edinburgh at the time). I loved the concept of writing about food and interacting with readers, so I began writing my own.
02 Why did you choose the Estonian Crumb Cake (Purukook) as a recipe for summer?
Ideally I would have chosen something with curd cheese (kohupiim), which is immensely popular over here and can be described as coarser and richer version of ricotta. As it’s very hard to source outside the region, I chose another popular and simple cake that can be made anywhere, a typical Estonian crumb cake, purukook.
03 In Estonia which three foods should not be missed?
If you visit Estonia, then you should try kama, the curious cooked and roasted and ground mixture of various grains and peas. We are very fond of our naturally leavened dark rye bread. And perhaps some of our cured fish – smoked or marinated Baltic herring (suitsuräimed / marineeritud räimed) or spiced sprats (vürtsikilud). Oh, and our cakes are wonderful!
04 Where do you recommend dining in Tallinn?
Leib Resto serves wonderful Estonian food in a great courtyard in Old Town (Uus 31, Tallinn). Olde Hansa may be kitsch, but has fun medieval atmosphere (Vana Turg 1, Tallinn). There are lots of lovely cafés in Tallinn, but one of my favourite ones is actually in the coastal town of Pärnu, also known as the “summer capital of Estonia”. It’s called Supelsaksad and it has a lovely atmosphere and wonderfully luscious cakes (Nikolai 32, Pärnu).
05 Do you entertain at home?
We entertain a lot at home, and our style is very relaxed and casual. We make big plates of delicious food to share with friends, and definitely dine outdoors during the warmer months. Now that we have small kids (Two girls, 4 years and 6 months old, and a boy who is 2), we often have finger food for those unable to sit still behind the table.
07 Is there a special cultural event or tradition unique to Estonia?
If you happen to be in Estonia the end of June, then try to attend a jaaniõhtu or St John’s Night festivities. There’s lots of food (shashlik or grilled pork, various salads and lots of strawberries), a bonfire and generally a great atmosphere. It hardly gets dark during the night, so lots of people stay up all through the night. (Avoid huge public bonfires; they can be silly drink-ladden events!)
Estonian Crumble Cake (Purukook )Recipe:
400 g (3 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour (1/3 to 1/2 can be spelt or wholemeal flour)
85 grams (3 oz) caster sugar
a pinch of salt
200 g (7 oz or 2 Tbsp less than 2 sticks) cold butter, cubed
500 g thick jam/marmalade
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.
Line a 25×35 cm cake tin or a Swiss roll tin with a parchment paper or butter generously.
Measure the flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and using a knife or your fingers, cut and mix until the mixture reminds you of wet sand. (You can do this in your food processor).
Transfer about a third of the mixture into a small bowl and put aside – this will be your crumb mixture. (Feel free to add a handful of desiccated coconut to this mixture, or perhaps some cinnamon or other spices).
Add the egg to the remaining mixture and combine until wet crumbs form. Scatter into the cake tin, spread evenly and then press down with the palm of your hand. (If your filling is on the soft side, you may want to pre-bake the base for about 15 minutes, until golden.)
Spread the filling evenly over the (partially baked) base. Scatter the crumb mixture evenly on top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes, until the crumb mixture is light golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before cutting into small bars.
More From Pille:
Other Recipes from Estonia Worth Trying:
- Palachinka: Kilu Salad
- Merci Mama: Easter Hot Cross Bun Kingel
- Citrus and Candy: Munavalgekook (Estonian Egg White Cake)