Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)

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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.

Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)

Serves 12-16
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
By author family recipe
Finnish blueberry pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (2.5 dL. I use 1.5% lactose free milk.)
  • 25g compressed live yeast (2 blocks worth)
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 0.4 cup sugar (1 dL)
  • 1 large egg
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2.8 cups bread flour (approximately 7 dL. add until dough is right consistency.)
  • 100g butter
  • 4 cups bilberries (defrosted or fresh)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (approximately. sweeten berries to taste.)
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 1 beaten egg (for glazing the dough)

Directions

1.
Heat milk over low on the stove until it is warm but not scalding -- you should be able to comfortably stick your finger in it, like a warm bath. Take off the burner and crumble in yeast. Stir until it dissolved. Set aside briefly.
2.
In a bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, and salt.
3.
Mix in cardamom.
4.
Check that yeast is completely dissolved. This is easier in lower-fat milk.
5.
Whisk milk into egg mixture.
6.
Add in flour 1 dL at a time until dough is tacky but can be handled.
7.
You will need to mix dough by hand by the end, since it will be too thick to use a whisk. Give it a good kneading, then cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place to rise for half an hour.
8.
In a separate bowl, roughly mash berries to release their juices.
9.
Sweeten berries to taste with sugar.
10.
Mix potato flour into berry mixture so that it achieves a lumpy jam-like consistency.
11.
After half an hour, flip dough out onto floured surface and give it a bit of kneading to see if it has risen enough. It should be pliable and no longer sticking to your hands. Reserve a handful of dough to use for the decorative lattice.
12.
Preheat oven. Transfer dough to wax paper and roll out until it is a thin and even. It should cover almost an entire cookie sheet.
13.
Place crust on cookie sheet and pinch the sides up a bit to for filling containment before pouring berry mixture onto the crust.
14.
Distribute berry mixture evenly.
15.
Roll out and cut thin strips of reserved dough and lay over top of berry mixture to make lattice.
16.
Brush crust with 1 beaten egg to give it an attractive brown glaze.
17.
Bake at 225 degrees C (437 degrees F) for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve!

 

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