Entries tagged with “Mustikkapiirakka”.

The idea of having an ulterior motive sounds so clandestine.  So underhanded.  But I must admit, my research into Finnish desserts this month was just that.

Naturally, I am fascinated in Mr Melanger’s Finnish ancestry.  Not only because his makeup and personality is very much predisposed by that background, but it impacts me directly, too.  Well, when I use his last name it does at least.  It is always an amusing scenario where I am faced by a quizzical stare and an immediate request of, “how do you spell that?”

Who you are is shaped by so many influences.  For me, it is important to appreciate, celebrate and understand those very persuasions.

Growing up a first generation Australian, alongside parents and a sister that migrated from England, afforded me a reasonably unique identity.  Not only the extensive British influence of my immediate and past family ties, but the custom and tradition of my new country of birth.  This blend has made me who I am.

I want to follow the role that my parents played in sharing their heritage with me.  I want to play an active role in sharing everything relevant with baby Mélanger … who is on the way!

Baby Mélanger, with their inherent Finnglish connections, will learn about their lineage, no question.  Finland.  England.  And naturally, Australia, of course.

In preparation of the big (or hopefully little) arrival of baby Mélanger in September, I will continue to research, learn and experiment with my baking and cooking.

In the meantime, here is a roundup of the Finnish desserts created this month, plus some other delicious Finnish treats that I am sure will now become even more popular in the Mélanger soon-to-be-expanded home.

{ Mustikkapiirakka :: Blueberry Tart } This simple, rustic style tart is a snap to make and a treat to share.  The blueberries piled high look as inviting as they are delicious.  The simplicity of the tart is the winning secret.  Fresh berries sweetened ever so slightly with a sprinkling of sugar, and topped on an easy to prepare, flaky pastry.  Perfect for any time of year.  { Read more here … }

{ Sekahedelmäkeitto :: Mixed fruit soup } The warm, aromatic aroma of the cinnamon is so alluring and while you are heating the sugary syrup.  Your whole kitchen will permeate with this sweet-spicy smell.  The gentle cooking produces fruit that is both sweet and deliciously soft.  It is equally tasty by itself, or made even more special by the addition of cream, or served alongside creamed rice.  { Read more here … }

{ Åland Pancake } If you enjoy the baked custardy taste of the Far Breton, the quintessential flan from Brittany, you will love the Åland Pancake.  It is creamy, dense and very smooth  – and just perfect with a dollop of lingonberry jam, a staple in this region of the world.  { Read more here … }

{ Rahkatorttu :: Karelian Cheese Torte } Vary the recipe as your tastes please.  Include raisins or fruit into the filling.  Use cream or butter to make the cheese even more rich.  Vary the cheese with cream cheese or cottage cheese if you cannot find quark.  Either way, it will be easy, simple yet flavourful – particularly when served with a healthy dollop of cloudberry jam!   { Read more here … }

{ Omenapiirakka :: Finnish Apple Pie } You need to try this pie.  The best part for me was how easy the pastry was to make.  And even better than that, how delicious it was.  I actually made the pastry a day ahead and was able to quickly roll out, top with apple and then bake in less than 45 minutes.  To keep it simple, I served with a light dusting of icing sugar and some rich vanilla ice cream to complement the gooey caramelised apple centre of the pie.  { Read more here … }

{ Karjalanpiirakat :: Karelian Rice Pasties } The pastry was quite easy to make.  It literally mixed together by hand in less than 5 minutes.  The filling is the most time consuming part taking an hour to slowly simmer.  But well worth the time.  Try with a boiled eggs topping, for the most perfect of snacks.   { Read more here … }

{ Hannatädinkakut :: Aunt Hanna’s Cookies } These simple and quick cookies are a Finnish favourite at holiday time.  They are apparently very popular, and according to Beatrice Ojakangas, can be found in supermarkets across Finland all year round.  One taste, and I was a big fan.  They are light and buttery but not too rich.  The little bite size makes them perfect for a little treat during the day.  I also think they make lovely homemade gifts, too!  { Read more here … }

{ Cardamom macarons with coffee cream} My tribute to Finland.  The Finns are reported to be the largest coffee drinkers in the world.  Cardamom is a very common spice used in Finnish (and Scandinavian) baking.  I love the flavours of both so put together this combination.  And let me just say, I am in macaron heaven.  { Read more here … }

{ Pulla :: Finnish cardamom bread } Pulla was the first item I baked for my (now) husband.  After much searching for the perfect recipe, I took the plunge with my Beatrice Ojakangas baking bible.  When I was told the bread tasted, “just like my mummo used to make”, I knew I had chosen well.   { Read more here … }

{ Mustikkapiiraat :: Blueberry filled buns } These buns are a snap to make and smell wonderful coming out of the oven.  You may clap your hands in delight (as I did) when seeing the gooey berry drizzle running down the side of a bun or two.  It will be hard to wait for them to cool slightly so you can devour them.  { Read more here … }

With a busy, non-stop weekend chock full of errands, major furniture assembly/removal/moving, tidying and organising, there was nothing more ideal than a sweet pick-me-up to restore those rapidly depleted energy stores.

Enter the Mustikkapiirakka, or Finnish Blueberry Tart.

With my mother as a willing kitchen participant (and the most organised helper over the weekend!), I prepared this moreish tart for a delicious morning tea treat for all to share.

Can you imagine anything more perfect to replenish a tired body?

{ Mustikkapiirakka :: Blueberry Tart }

I have seen a few different approaches to the pastry.  Some recipes included cream (a deliciously light, melt-in-your-mouth pastry I am familiar with in Finnish baking), some recipes included sour cream, and others simply a basic flour, sugar, butter combination.

I elected to celebrate the simple style of the tart, but with my own favourite flaky pastry recipe.  For the filling, I loaded up on blueberries and kept the flavour unadulterated with the addition of only sugar for extra sweetness and potato flour to help absorb excess juices from the berries.  This version is my variation on the Mustikkapiirakka.

If you know of the Mustikkapiirakka, I would love to hear about the technique you use.

* Ingredients *
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
250g / 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen
1/3 cup iced water
600g / 20oz blueberries
2 tablespoons potato flour
2/3 cup sugar

* Directions *
For the dough, mix the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine.  Add the butter and pulse gently to roughly incorporate into the flour mixture.  Do not over mix – it is fine to have some butter chunks showing.  Again pulsing the processor, slowly add in the iced water until the dough starts to come together.  Once again, do not over mix.  Tip the dough out onto a floured board and gently knead for a few seconds to bring together.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  When you are ready to bake the tarts, remove the pastry from the refrigerator, cut into two even pieces and allow to soften slightly.  In the meantime, prepare the blueberry mixture.  Combine the blueberries, potato flour and sugar in a bowl.  Set aside.  To prepare the pastry, roll out each piece into a 30 cm / 12 in circle.  Trim to neaten edges using a dinner plate as a guide if necessary.  Line two baking sheets with baking paper.  Place a piece of prepared pastry on each.  Top each with one half of the prepared mixture.  Chill the prepared tarts for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 2 tarts