17 Popular Estonian Desserts & Sweets
Estonian cuisine is most known for its unusual full-flavored main dishes such as blood sausage and sour cabbage.
But there are also a lot of interesting choices in their desserts section. A colorful mix of dairy and grain that was greatly influenced by Russian cuisine during early 1990s. Estonian desserts will surprise you with tastes and ingredients that you may not have heard of before.
1. Kama Mousse
Kama is by far the most Estonian ingredient you will find. Kama is a powder of toasted and ground grains (usually peas, barley, rye, and wheat) that Estonians mix up with kefir – sour milk.
Often a few fresh berries are mixed in but the most popular version is as a mousse – rich and creamy whipped cream with sugar and kama, usually topped with a few buckthorn or blueberries.
2. Curd Cheese Snacks
Traditional curd cheese snacks covered in a thin layer of chocolate are a popular choice in Estonia. Most Estonians will have known and loved them since childhood, and they are the most popular sweet snack grabbed from the local grocery store.
They are not usually made at home even though they are simple to make. But in the store, you can find a huge variety of choice, for example, with thin caramel or jam inside, and they are quite cheap too.
3. Rhubarb Pie
Rhubarb is a spring vegetable that is very common in Estonian gardens. Its vibrant pink edible stalk has an extremely unique, sour taste and has been a long-time favorite in Estonian desserts.
The most popular way of presenting this pink beauty is in a pie. It’s a simple mix of flour, eggs, butter, and sour cream filled with delicious pieces of rhubarb. Since it is a very sour, it also needs a good handful of sugar.
4. Creamy Curd Paste with Kissel
Creamy curd paste and kissel are delicious by themselves but it is also common to eat the two is together. There are a large variety of creamy curd pastes available in stores and making kissel is common knowledge in every kitchen in Estonia. An easy and inexpensive way to treat your taste buds.
This dessert is so popular that local stores sell it in lots of different flavors.
5. Bread Soup
This is a common dessert in countries influenced by Russian cuisine. It’s made of old black bread, raisins and fruit kissel. It may sound strange and it might not look that appealing at first glance, but the taste is something that you won’t forget – a mix of bread, root beer, fruit, and the joy of small things.
For most Estonians, this is the number one dessert that reminds them of their childhood.
6. Milk Kissel and Caramel Kissel
Another simple yet delicious dessert this country loves a lot is milk and caramel kissel. So popular is it, stores sell it like milk in 1 litre packs. It is a liquid dessert that you can drink, though there is a thicker variety that can be topped with jam.
7. Kalev Chocolates
Kalev is the number one chocolate factory in Estonia and all Estonians love their chocolates. And judging by the amount of chocolate the country exports, Estonians are not the only people loving it.
One of the most popular versions is a white chocolate with crispy rice puffs and blueberries. They also produce a series filled with different seeds, such as pumpkin, and unique tastes. New flavors are released nearly every year. This line of chocolates carry pictures and names from the most important national Estonian folklore tale Kalevipoeg.
8. Vastlakukkel – Semla
The love child of a bread bun and whipped cream, this dessert is also shared by various other northern countries. The Estonian sweet-roll, cut in the middle and filled first with some almond paste and then with plenty of whipped cream, is called “vastlakukkel” and it is most often served around February and March for the celebration of “Vastlapäev”.
This celebration, called “Shrove Tuesday” in English, is a day when Estonians go sledging and then go home to enjoy this delicious piece of pastry. And while not all Estonians go outside for the traditional sledging anymore, all of them will have one or more selma on the day. Fortunately, you can now find “vastlakukkel” at most of the Estonian bakeries all year round.
9. Crispy Waffles
Waffles are a simple yet well-loved dessert all around the world. In Estonia, however, the soft waffles you can find in the USA and Belgium are not so common. In Estonia they are thin and crispy – most commonly rolled into a tube when warm and eaten with a filling or covered in powdered sugar. It’s also popular to shape them as cones and fill them with ice cream.
10. Semolina Mousse
This popular dish is most commonly served in school cafeterias, so every Estonian grows up loving it. The semolina is boiled in a sour juice, from redberries or blackcurrants and sugar. Once cooked, it is whipped into a beautiful mousse and eaten cold with fresh milk.
11. Curd Cheese Pie
This is a simple bread base filled with curd cheese and, usually, some added raisins. The pie is baked and can be enjoyed hot or cold, and will last for the next three days – if you don’t run out of the pie first. While easy to make, you can also find them in grocery stores sold in small tins.
12. Curd Cheese Donuts
These are classic pearls found on every Estonian grandmother’s kitchen table at the weekend. They are little deep fried donuts made with a curd cheese dough. Crunchy on the outside and so soft and gooey on the inside, and covered with powdered sugar to add even more sweet notes to it.
13. Rhubarb Kissel
This is an easy to make dessert that you can actually drink as sweet refreshment on a hot summer day. It is made in the same way as milk or caramel kissel.
The ingredients are boiled with sugar, water, starch, and, in this case, Estonians all-time favorite spring vegetable sour rhubarb. It can also be enjoyed as a thicker version and added to creamy curd cheese paste or whipped cream.
14. Baked Breadpie
Another popular dessert that has its roots in Russian cuisine and is made so popular by being a staple school dessert. It is made with stale bread, jam, egg, and milk. The ingredients are tossed together, sugar and cinnamon is added, and then it is baked. It is best eaten cold and delicious when you add a piece to a glass of fresh milk.
The stale bread is the key to this dish. The older the bread is, the more it soaks up the mixture of jam, milk, and eggs. It is so very rich and creamy.
15. Spotted Dog
Spotted dog is a dessert made of cookies, cacao powder, and marmalade with an additional hint of rum. It is a big brown chunk of biscuit dotted with colorful bits. It is made as a one big chunk and cut into slices for serving.
The Kalev chocolate factory produces this dessert as a snack bar and a mini version of it as candy. You can find it in every grocery store in Estonia.
16. Butter Fried Bread
Easily the simplest Estonian dessert and another that graces the school canteen. It is just slices of bread, dipped in a mix of milk, eggs, and sugar and fried in butter. It’s also known as the Estonian pancake. It’s usually served sprinkled with powdered sugar with some honey or jam on the side.
First used for its medicinal qualities, Estonian marzipan tradition goes back centuries and there are a number of local legends and tales surrounding the tasty treat. Marzipan is indeed one of the oldest sweets made in Estonia, and while its sugar contents are definitely high, it is believed to have some healing properties.
A sweet made of almonds and powdered sugar, was savored all the way back in medieval Estonia. Although two former Hanseatic cities – Lübeck, Germany and Tallinn – claim to be the birthplace of this treat, Tallinn has written records showing it was on sale in 1695 at the Town Hall Pharmacy.