MN Masala: Nell’s Finnish Fruit Pudding (Velia)

By Jane and Chux: A few years ago, Chux planted black raspberries in our backyard.  These plants have flourished, and last summer we had a bumper crop of berries.  We had so many, we were able to freeze some of them.

Given our cold and snowy “spring” this April, we wanted to make something with these berries.  A reminder of the summer to come.  These black raspberries taste like sunshine.  They are also extremely complex in flavor with sweet and sour notes.  Since these berries taste good on their own, we decided to make my grandmother Nell’s Finnish berry pudding.

As a kid, I would spend time with my grandparents at their cabin in Michigan.  We would go wild blueberry picking at their top secret place with coffee-can pails in hand, handles made with bent coat hangers.

We would make this fruit pudding as well as pie with these fresh blueberries.  This pudding can be made with any fresh or frozen berry including blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.

Today, I’m copying my grandmother’s recipe as she sent it to me in a letter over 30 years ago. 

For our black raspberry pudding, we used four cups of frozen berries, added ¾ cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of tapioca, and ¼ cup of water.  You can adjust the sugar and thickener in your fruit pudding depending on how many berries you are using and how sweet you like it.  The pudding is delicious on its own, or over pancakes for brunch, or with ice cream for dessert.

Nell’s Blueberry Pudding (Finnish Velia)
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Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Nell
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-6
  • 2-4 cups fresh or frozen berries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons tapioca
  • Sugar to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste
  1. I generally make this when they [blueberries] are available here. You can use strawberries or raspberries too. I put a mess of them in a pot, add water, a stick of cinnamon (if I have it). For thickening you can use cornstarch, or I use tapioca. Before I put the water in, I add a couple tablespoons of tapioca and a little water, so the tapioca has a chance to dissolve or puff. I add a little more water and place over medium heat and stir until clear and thickened. It gets thicker when cold. Don’t use too high heat at first as it may stick. Keep stirring.

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