As I already wrote, Latvians have some incredibly delicious desserts, a lot of them are made with rye bread, which is an essential part of traditional Latvian cuisine. There’s even rye breadcrumb ice-cream over here and yogurt with rye breadcrumbs – very tasty. Not to mention cream of bread, bread soup, etc etc. Even nowadays, as bread is losing its popularity (a lot of people are on a diet and think it’s too fattening), public opinion polls say an average Latvian eats up to 50 kg bread per year. And coarse rye bread is the sort which remains favourite throughout the years.
The dessert we will be talking about today is originally called Rūpjmaizes kārtojums, which means layers of bread. The most common method is to layer rye breadcrumbs, whipped cream, and cranberry or cowberry jam. Sometimes cream of cottage cheese is used instead. The dessert can be made in small individual ice-cream bowls or in a larger bowl and then cut in portions. We made it in a larger container for four and used mascarpone instead of whipped cream. Mascarpone has a richer taste than whipped cream; the only shortcoming is that it’s thicker and you’ll probably need to let sit your Rūpjmaizes kārtojums for at least 5 hours until the breadcrumbs saturate in jam and mascarpone. At least that’s what we did – and the result was very pleasing! Imagine rye breadcrumbs toasted with sugar and cinnamon, layered with tangy mashed cranberries, and topped with soft, vanilla-flavoured mascarpone; repeat once and top with those crunchy breadcrumbs. Sounds good, uh? And those fresh forest cranberries that Mom pureed with sugar came up really handy here: we store them in refrigerator and use for time-saving baking and dessert-making. Fresh cranberries can be replaced with cranberry jam, if you prefer.
10 slices coarse rye bread (about 350g in total), slightly dried and crust removed
250g mascarpone cheese
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla sugar
6 tbsp mashed cranberries (with sugar)
3 tbsp cream
Grate slices of bread on a hand grater.
In a non-stick pan, mix breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cinnamon, and toast the mix on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Some lumps might appear as the sugar slightly melts. Keep stirring and breaking any lumps with a spatula. Set to cool (as you see, it’s better to cook the breadcrumbs in advance).
Mix mascarpone cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, cream, and vanilla sugar. Cream is used here to make the cheese more elastic.
Divide the breadcrumbs in 3 parts, two of which are equal and one is slightly smaller in size (we’ll use it for topping).
Divide the mascarpone mix in two parts.
Put one part of the breadcrumbs on the bottom of your bowl. With a spatula or spoon, gently spread the mascarpone mix over them. Spread 3 tablespoons of mashed cranberries over the mascarpone mix. Repeat with bread, mascarpone, and cranberries. Top the dessert with a thinner layer of remaining breadcrumbs.
Cover the bowl and set it in the fridge. Chill the dessert for 5 to 10 hours.