Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie). This month we're traveling to Finland on the "Eat The World" train. Mustikkapiirakka is an iconic dessert that can be found in almost every cafe or restaurant in Finland. Not a pie in the sense we know it, Mustikkapiirakka is a cross between a pie, a tart, and a cheesecake.
Mustikkapiirakka. A difficult name to pronounce, but very easy to remember once you try it. With a crumbly base made with a combination of rye flour and all-purpose flour, and a luscious sour cream and blueberry filling, this Finnish Blueberry Pie will become your go-to summer dessert.
Song suggestion: Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
I am always happy when our Eat the World group stops in my beloved Europe. I walk on familiar ground, even though, I have never been to Finland. I have been to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden, though, and they all seem to have in common a cuisine renowned for being simple but delicious and sourced straight from nature.
In Finland, they traditionally use bilberries to make Mustikkapiirakka. Bilberries are forest berries native to Europe, smaller than North American blueberries, although the species are closely related and belong to the same genus, Vaccinium. Bilberries grow singly or in pairs, rather than in clusters as blueberries do, and blueberries have more evergreen leaves.
Grab a Bucket and Go Berry-Picking!
I wish I grabbed a bucket in my hand and headed into the Finnish woods to pick these wonderful purplish jewels. Instead, with Loreto, we headed to our local Farmers Market and stopped at our favorite vendor, Fresh BC Fruit, where we bought organic blueberries coming from our neighboring, warmer, Province, British Columbia.
As a matter of fact, use whatever blueberries you can find, keeping in mind that wild blueberries are smaller and therefore more flavorful and aromatic than the cultivated ones, and much closer to bilberries, which makes them ideal for pie filling.
The steps of the preparation
There are few steps involved, but overall the preparation is pretty easy.
I started by making the crust, which consists of:
- a combination of rye flour and all-purpose flour,
- cane sugar,
- baking powder,
- and a pinch of cardamom. In Finland they love cardamom, and I must have been Finnish in one of my previous lives, because I use it quite a lot, too, lol. Plus, it marries so well with blueberries!
The dough is soft and must be pressed and spread in the tart pan with your hands, then pricked with a fork and pre-baked, empty, for 10 minutes.
Next, the fresh blueberries go on top of the par-baked crust.
While the crust is blind baking, which is another term for pre-baking an empty crust, I made the creamy filling, which is a combination of:
- sour cream
- cane sugar
all whisked together to obtain a thin, luscious, aromatic cream.
Fill, and bake again!
So you have the pre-baked crust and the fresh blueberries spread on top. Now you carefully pour the filling over and around the berries and spread gently with a spatula until the crust is filled evenly. Return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the middle is set, but not too dry and firm. It will dense up as it cools down. Leave it in the pan to cool for 40 minutes. This will seem like an eternity...
Why buy expensive essential oil diffusers when you can bake? While this Finnish Blueberry Pie is in the oven baking, your whole house will smell delicious. Wafts of vanilla and cardamom, together with the familiar butter/ sugar fragrance of baked goods will spread around, enveloping you in a cozy, joyful, embrace.
The Taste Test
The wait has finally ended and I can slice it and taste it. Oh, my...where have you been all my life Mustikkapiirakka?? You seem to possess everything I love in a dessert. You are so close to my darling crostata, with your crumbly and a bit crunchy crust. And you are not too sweet, which is my number one requisite in any dessert. Your filling is what dreams are made of. A soft and luxurious tangy cream, with hints of vanilla and cardamom, and plump blueberries, that like little jewels explode in my mouth in a most cheerful way.
The first day the crust is crunchy and a nice contrast to the creamy filling. As days pass, the moisture in the filling makes the crust softer and more similar to cheesecake in texture.
Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie) is outstanding either warm or cold and can be served plain, or with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. It doesn't disappoint any way you have it!
Before going to the kitchen to make this amazing pie, check out all the wonderful Finnish dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us!
Pandemonium Noshery: Vispipuuro - Whipped Semolina Pudding
Nicoletta & Loreto Sugarlovespices (Us!): Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)
Margaret at Kitchen Frau: Lohikeitto (Creamy Salmon, Potato & Dill Soup)
Tara’s Multicultural Table: Makaronilaatikko (Finnish Macaroni Casserole)
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie)
Amy: Sima (Finnish Lemonade)
Sharanya Sara's Tasty Buds: Voisilmapulla(Finnish Butter Eye Buns)
Evelyne: Pannukakku Finnish Pancakes with Blueberries
Sue: Lattyja Pancakes with Strawberry-Gooseberry Jam
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Lihapullat (Finnish Meatballs)