June 02, 2013

Kerroskiisseli - Vanilla and Berry Kissel

It took me years of living in Australia to realise something about Finnish desserts: they are generally not very sweet. Take our traditional birthday cake, for instance. It is not covered in sheets of sugary fondant and most of the sweetness actually comes from the fruit the cake is filled and topped with. Even our beloved mocha slice (Finnish equivalent to a brownie) isn't overly sweet and the most well-known Finnish treat of them all, korvapuusti, would probably be classified as bread in some countries.

Then there is kiisseli (kissel, a jelly-like pudding), one of the most versatile every-day desserts served all over Finland. Kiisseli is almost like a sweet soup, but thicker. It has a jelly-like consistency, but it's not as thick as jelly, just somewhere in between. You can use pretty much any fruit or berry (dried, frozen or fresh) you happen to have at hand; frozen berries, apples, oranges, rhubarb, you name it. There is even a chocolate version which is like a light and guilt-free version of chocolate mousse. You can have kissel as a warm soup or a cool dessert, which ever you prefer. This is the dessert to make when you're too lazy to go to the store or bake, and you will most likely have all the ingredients already at home.

This rainy day called for a kerroskiisseli (layered kissel): thick vanilla flavoured milk kissel topped with slightly sour raspberry and blueberry kissel. It was the perfect quick treat to whip up.

(serves 2-4)

Milk Kissel

600ml milk (organic, full cream)
35g potato flour*
2 tablespoons raw caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure ground vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence 

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place on a medium heat. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Berry Kissel

200-300g frozen berries
600ml water
3 tablespoons raw caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure ground vanilla

100ml cold water
2 1/2 tablespoons potato flour*

1. Bring 400ml water, berries, sugar and vanilla to boil. Add rest of the water to cool down the mixture. 

2. Mix water and potato flour in a separate jug. Whisk this mixture with the rest of the ingredients and turn off the heat. Leave to cool before serving. 

3. Layer the cooled down kissel in a glass or a bowl and serve.

* In Australia potato starch is sold as potato flour. It is available at most speciality stores, but also at Coles (look for it at the health foods department).


  1. Mmmm, that looks good.I may give it a go, but with coconut milk instead of dairy. Thank you!
    Janie x

  2. sounds delicious & looks beautiful :)

  3. This is so beautiful! Would make a nice breakfast, too :)


  4. Herkullista ja niin kaunista!

  5. Oh my goodness, this looks so beautiful! I will have to try this with my rhubarb and coconut milk as I am vegan. Wonderful, thank you for sharing. By the way I ADORE that little spoon! So cute!:)


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