Kissel or Kisiel (Кисель)

Kissel or Kisiel (Кисель)

KisielKissel is a beverage typically based on fruit juice and thickened with starch. Occasionally other ingredients such as milk are used although less commonly.  Depending on the degree of thickness, kissel can be considered a soup or even a liquid meal. The main difference between kissel and other fruit drinks such as juice or compote is that kissel is cooked and thickened (unlike fresh fruit juice), and unlike compote, contains no pieces of fruit. In addition, one can expect kissel to taste sweet and sour (after all, the name of this dish comes from a word that means “sour”). The easiest way to make kissel is to buy dry concentrate at a store and follow instructions on the package. This method is not as much fun, and your kissel won’t taste as good as a freshly made one. Besides, kissel is very easy to make, so it’s better to leave the concentrate option to institutions that produce food in vast quantities and for the undiscerning customer, such as a school cafeteria.

The key to making kissel smooth is dissolving starch in water before adding it to boiling light syrup.  Adding fruit juice at the end helps preserve some of the vitamins, provides a better flavor, and decreases the formation of a film on the top of kissel after it’s served. Kissel is often made from cranberries that are naturally sour although most fruits or fruit mixes are suitable. In Russia, potato starch is more popular and is most often used to make kissel. Corn starch will work as well. Finally, the exact thickness of the final product is a purely personal preference and depends on the amount of starch used. Here is a basic recipe for cranberry kissel made from scratch. You can use cranberry juice from a supermarket but Russian Recipe Book likes to be more traditional. Feel free to experiment, though, particularly with the amount of starch.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 quart + 1 ½ cups boiled or distilled water
  • 3 tablespoons corn or potato starch

Directions

  1. Inspect the cranberries and discard any rotten ones as well as any dirt. Thoroughly rinse them.
  2. Crush or coarsely grind the cranberries to make a paste, add ¼ cup of sugar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for an hour.
  3. After an hour, add ½ cup of cold water, stir, and then strain the mixture through a strainer with metal mesh, gauze or cheese cloth. Make sure all seeds and bits of skin are removed.
  4. Refrigerate the strained juice.
  5. Add 1 quart of water to the cranberries and boil on low heat for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through gauze or, ideally, filter it as well.
  6. Discard the solids.
  7. Transfer the liquid to a clean pot.
  8. Add remaining sugar (1/4 cup) to the filtered liquid obtained from boiling the cranberries and slowly bring to boil.
  9. Simmer on very low heat removing foam that forms until most of it is gone. Now you have light syrup.
  10. Add the starch to a cup of water and stir very well turning the mixture into “milk.”
  11. Turn up the heat under your simmering syrup and when it boils, add the starch “milk” while stirring the syrup rapidly. The mix will start thickening right away.
  12. While stirring, boil for another 20 seconds after adding the starch “milk,” turn off the heat and keep stirring for another 20-30 seconds until the thickening is complete.
  13. Right away, add the saved refrigerated fresh cranberry juice and stir it in thoroughly until your kissel is completely smooth.
  14. Pour into cups.
  15. Sprinkle the surface of kissel in each cup with a pinch of sugar.
  16. Serve immediately while still warm. Be careful – kissel may still be too hot.
  17. Serving kissel at room temperature or even chilled is also acceptable – it’s all a matter of personal taste.

Kissel or Kisiel (Кисель)
Recipe Type: Beverage, Dessert
Author: Russian Recipe Book
Prep time: 1 hour 15 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 1 hour 25 mins
Serves: 3
Kissel (Кисель) – a drink made from fruit juice thickened with starch.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 quart + 1 ½ cups boiled or distilled water
  • 3 tablespoons corn or potato starch
Instructions
  1. Inspect the cranberries and discard any rotten ones as well as any dirt. Thoroughly rinse them.
  2. Crush or coarsely grind the cranberries to make a paste, add 1/4 cup of sugar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for an hour.
  3. After an hour, add 1/2 cup of cold water, stir, and then strain the mixture through a strainer with metal mesh, gauze or cheese cloth. Make sure all seeds and bits of skin are removed.
  4. Refrigerate the strained juice.
  5. Add 1 quart of water to the cranberries and boil on low heat for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through gauze or, ideally, filter it as well.
  6. Discard the solids.
  7. Transfer the liquid to a clean pot.
  8. Add remaining sugar (1/4 cup) to the filtered liquid obtained from boiling the cranberries and slowly bring to boil.
  9. Simmer on very low heat removing foam that forms until most of it is gone. Now you have light syrup.
  10. Add the starch to a cup of water and stir very well turning the mixture into “milk.”
  11. Turn up the heat under your simmering syrup and when it boils, add the starch “milk” while stirring the syrup rapidly. The mix will start thickening right away.
  12. While stirring, boil for another 20 seconds after adding the starch “milk,” turn off the heat and keep stirring for another 20-30 seconds until the thickening is complete.
  13. Right away, add the saved refrigerated fresh cranberry juice and stir it in thoroughly until your kissel is completely smooth.
  14. Pour into cups.
  15. Sprinkle the surface of kissel in each cup with a pinch of sugar.
  16. Serve immediately while still warm. Be careful – kissel may still be too hot.
  17. Serving kissel at room temperature or even chilled is also acceptable – it’s all a matter of personal taste.

Russian name: Кисель

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*