Whilst digging through the downstairs freezer for smoothie ingredients the other day, I came upon a bag of wild bilberries (the juicier European cousin of blueberries) that I’d picked in the forest surrounding our house during our first year living here. Cue excited glee, since I’d thought they were all used up ages ago and they’re not the cheapest things to buy frozen at the supermarket.
Last year was exceptionally bad for wild berries and mushrooms, since we didn’t get much summer rainfall in our area — I went out with my berry bucket and came back with 2 (count them) shriveled blue raisins to show for my effort. Although the fruit was almost 2 years old, you couldn’t tell at all upon defrosting and I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. Being an aficionado of anything made with bilberries or blueberries, there are plenty of recipes that I would use in a berry glut. In the case of just one precious bag, however, it had to be mustikkapiirakka.
Today I’d like to share with you the recipe for Finnish bilberry (or blueberry) pie used by the hubby’s mother’s side. His grandmother makes us one of these almost every summer, usually from the berries she hand-picks in the forest surrounding their kesämökki (summer cottage) in the archipelago. The focus is on the thick layer of berries, unadulterated by the cream products used in most other pie recipes, supported by a fluffy crust made of cardamom-flavored sweet bun dough. The mother-in-law was kind enough to do a demonstration and share the recipe so that we’d have plenty of pie for many summers to come.
Pictured above, puolikarkea vehnäjauho, a fine wheat flour with a protein content of slightly more than 13% used for making yeast-based doughs. Equal to most bread flours you’ll find back in the States. Also, a block of fresh, compressed yeast — something I had never seen until moving to Europe, since we mostly used dry yeast back home.
This is emphatically NOT a diabetic-friendly recipe, but it is really tasty 🙂 The copious berries make it not entirely unhealthy, either. I had meant to freeze the majority of it to keep us from overindulging, but somehow the entire pie ended up eaten in a few days. Tsk.