Mustikkapiirakka. Does the name of this recipe throw you off? Don't worry, you don't have to be able to pronounce it to make and enjoy Mustikkapiirakka, or Finnish Blueberry Pie. The Finnish language, after all, is not an easy one for we English speakers to master. In fact, this may be the only Finnish word that I know how to say.
Last summer, we traveled to Scandinavia. The highlight of our trip to this beautiful part of the world was meeting my husband's relatives in Finland. We were meeting most of them for the first time, but it soon felt like we had always known them. We were fortunate to be able to stay with them at their home in lovely Lohja and to spend time at their lake cabin.
My husband's Aunt Tarja, is a wonderful cook. It was fun spending time in the kitchen with her and learning how to make some of the traditional Finnish dishes. One of them is Mustikkapiirakka. It's a Finnish blueberry pie.
But, Mustikkapiirakka, is not a pie in the way that we are familiar with. Instead of a pastry crust, this pie is made with a yeast dough that can best be described as a sweet bread. Almost like a sweet pizza crust.
Beautiful Finland is dotted with lakes and covered with boreal forest. Finns are avid foragers, and the short growing season brings many berries, as well as mushrooms, to gather. Wild blueberries flourish in the forests each summer, along with lots of other berries, and mushrooms, too. Check out the foraging scene in Finland right here, and you might just be wanting to plan your next trip.
The wild blueberries there are just like the wild ones that we have here in Canada. But I'm using cultivated ones in this recipe. Mine are organic berries from the Fraser Valley here in BC, so they are almost as good. You could easily use frozen blueberries for this recipe, or substitute raspberries, blackberries, or any other fruit.
Tarja emailed her recipe, and, after Google helped me to convert the measurements from deciliters to cups, I went to work, hoping that I didn't lose anything in the translation. There are many examples of this recipe on-line and in cookbooks. Many of them are baked in a pie plate. But, I wanted to try to recreate the one that Tarja made for us, so I shaped this pie by hand.
I did make one small change. In Finland you can buy sugar with pectin added. I've never seen that in any Canadian store. (Have you? If so please let me know in the comments!) So, instead of guessing and adding sugar and pectin to the berries, I added almond flour. Almond flour is really just almonds. So if you don't have it, or can't find it, just grind up some almonds in a coffee or spice grinder, blender, or food processor. The berries were already very sweet, and the almond flour did the trick of keeping the crust from getting soggy, while also adding a touch of almond flavour and a little bit of crunch to the topping.
The result was not exactly the same as Tarja's, but pretty close, I think. This Finnish version of blueberry pie is delicious and a great way to show off these luscious BC blueberries.
- 1 cup warm milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 package active dry yeast (2.25 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup melted butter, plus more for greasing the bowl
- 4 cups blueberries
- 3 tbsp almond flour
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in the bowl of a mixer.
- Add salt, sugar, egg and half the flour.
- Mix on low speed using the dough hook attachment until smooth and combined.
- Add melted butter and remaining flour a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and still a little sticky, about 5 minutes.
- Put into a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Toss berries with the almond flour.
- On a parchment lined, 12" x 8" baking sheet press the dough out with floured hands to cover most of the pan, pinching a ridge all around.
- Spread blueberry mixture evenly over the dough.
- Bake in center of oven for about 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
- Serve warm or cold. Will keep covered, up to 3 days.
1 hour of the prep time indicated here is rising time.
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