Celebrating Pentecost with a light dessert

Pentecost, or “pinse” in Norwegian,  is an official holiday weekend in Norway, and is celebrated the seventh Sunday, or the 50th day following Easter Sunday.   The name “pinse” stems from the Greek word “pentekoste”, which means the fiftieth.

Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian Church, because during this time, the Holy Spirit visited the apostles to give them strength and words to go out and spread the word of Jesus.


Pentecost was originally a Jewish autumn festival, also called the corn fall festival, when Jews from all over the world went to Jerusalem to take part in the Pentecost celebration in the temple.

Norwegians observe the second Pentecost day (the Monday after the Pentecost) as well, making it an official holiday. This weekend, pinse fell on the same weekend as the May 17th celebration, which makes it an extra long holiday for the lucky Norwegians.  Many people go away, either to their cabins in the mountain or away on a hotel vacation for the extended weekend.  My niece told me last week that in the month of May, there is a public holiday every single week…. so why am I not living in Norway?  There seems to be more vacation days than working days,  and although Norwegians aren’t particularly religious, they sure find a way to observe all the religious holidays 🙂

With this largely “unknown” holiday, the choice of celebratory food is not as set in stone, and you can really get more creative and experimental than on other more traditional holidays.  As this year, the pinse holiday becomes an  extension of our National Day, I still felt it was important to keep it somewhat typical Norwegian.  As we move into summer in Norway, berries are starting to come into season and the red currant berries are something I always think of as very Nordic.  As I’ve mentioned before,  berries are some of the few fruits that are able to thrive in our cold climate.  We use to grow tons of   redcurrants in our backyard when I grew up – my dad even made wine from red currants, or “ripsbær”  or “rips” as we all them in Norwegian.


When I was at home last week, I tasted this wonderful red currant dessert called “ripsfromasj” (red currant mousse) that I wanted to try and recreate for the weekend.  After the huge smorgasbord and all the cakes, ice cream, hot dogs and other heavy foods on Constitution Day, a light mousse dessert seemed appropriate. Colorful and tasty – it will brighten up your table as well as your mind when you taste it!  The tangy flavor of the red currants makes this dessert really refreshing, and not overly sweet. Try it out when you have some red currants handy, it may become your new favorite dessert!


RIPSFROMASJ  (Red Currant Mousse)

Serves 4-6

4 eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup heavy cream

8 sheets of gelatin

1 cup red currants + additional for decoration

Place the gelatin sheets in cod water for 10 minutes.  Whisk the eggs and sugar until light yellow and fluffy. Whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks form, and fold into with the egg-sugar mix along with the red currant.   Strain the cold water off the gelatin sheets and place them in 1/3 cup hot water to dissolve them.  Pour the gelatin into the egg-heavy cream mixture. Pour the mousse into a glass bowl, decorate with red currants and “pikekyss” (meringue candies).


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