Making Delectable Desserts With Russian Kissel

By Karla Harris

Also referred to as kisiel in Poland or kisel in Russia, the Kissel is actually a sweetened fruit soup made from juice, fruit bits or red wine, and potato starch. Nowadays, the juice is popularly being used to add taste to puddings and pancakes. They are also incorporated in numerous desserts.

The earliest account issued for the fruit soup is dated 997. It was a story of an old man who advised the citizens of a hunger stricken Russian city to make the soup from whatever grain remnants they can find. The mixture was then poured into a fake well on the ground where people approached and got food.

When the Pechenegs, who besieged the city, saw this, they were mystified that they left the city immediately. The nomads thought the residents were fed straight from the earth in that case. Until now, the recipe is being used in some religious affairs and in common desserts.

When preparing the sweet soup, one should have water boiled in a saucepan. Dried or fresh fruits such as cranberries, cherries, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and sometimes, red wine should then be added until they are made soft.

After the fruits are properly blended with the water, the juice should be drained and retained. The fruits will then be crushed into smaller pieces using the sieve itself. Sugar should be added to sweeten the whole mixture before it can be simmered for 5 minutes. Then, potato starch properly mixed in cold water should be added.

Continuous stirring is necessary at this point to avoid the formation of lumps. You can leave the mixture in heat until the first bubbles appear. When the latter does happen, you are ready to have it cooled and served with caster sugar on top. When the mixture is liquid enough, it can also be drunk.

The kissel may be served hot or cold, and it can also be used as basis for some desserts like the apple cranberry kissel with sweet sour cream. For those who want to make things instant though, there are commercial mixtures sold in the market that can already be prepared in a few minutes with lesser hassle.

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