Citizens, your beloved and glorious leader is currently in Finland, one of TFD’s most favored countries and home to some truly stellar dessert recipes, as noted by the several already published here by the mighty Generalissimo himself!
This recipe for Finnish blueberry pie (really more of a tart, but who’s checking…) is deliciously different from the classic American version. It is also a slight misnomer to call this a blueberry pie, for in Finland they traditionally use bilberries, not their close American relatives, blueberry.
Bilberries are any of several primarily Eurasian species of low-growing shrubs, bearing edible, nearly black berries.
The name bilberry appears to have a Scandinavian origin, possibly from as early as 1577, being similar to the Danish word bølle for whortleberry with the addition of “berry”. The bilberry is also known by a number of other English names including blaeberry in Scotland, whortleberry in southern England, and w(h)imberry or w(h)inberry in south Wales and along the Anglo-Welsh border amongst other places.
Bilberries – which are native to Europe – are different from North American blueberries, although the species are closely related and belong to the same genus, Vaccinium. Bilberry fruits have a smooth, circular outline at the end opposite the stalk, whereas blueberries retain persistent sepals there, leaving a rough, star-shaped pattern of five flaps.
Bilberries grow singly or in pairs rather than in clusters, as blueberries do, and blueberries have more evergreen leaves. Bilberries are dark in color, and usually appear near black with a slight shade of purple.
This tart is best made in the United States with wild blueberries, which are much more flavorful and much closer to bilberries than the cultivated version. They are – as the name states – wild, which means you have to hunt these yourself. The good news is that if you don’t live in New England, which is full of these, you can hunt them from your supermarket’s frozen section, as wild blueberries are available frozen nationwide.
However, this Finnish pie is deliciously different than its American cousin, as it uses crème fraîche in the filling. I actually call for a mixture of crème fraîche and the slippery Finnish yogurt Viili, which is admittedly very hard to find outside Finland or Finnish-American communities in the midwest. The good news – you can easily make this yogurt yourself at room temp (no yogurt maker needed!) with the right starter, which you can find here.
I call for cultured European-style butter in the crust, as well as a mix of regular and brown sugars, a generous hit of vanilla, plus a non-traditional dusting of cardamom (Finns LOVE cardamom!) at the end. My Citizens, mustikkapiirakka is a delicious new twist on blueberry pie that demands your immediate attention!
Battle on – The GenralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Finnish Blueberry Pie – Mustikkapiirakka
- Total Time: 0 hours
- For the crust:
- 12 T. unsalted European-style cultured butter, softened
- 1/2 cup regular sugar + 2 T. light brown sugar
- 1 large organic egg
- 1 1/2 cup flour (7 oz. weighed)
- 1 tsp. Aluminum-free baking powder
- For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries or use frozen wild blueberries (strongly preferred!)
- 3/4 cup Crème fraîche
- 1/4 cup Viili (Finnish stretchy yogurt) – if unavailable, use plain full-day Greek yogurt or full-fat sour cream (Daisy brand strongly preferred)
- 1 large egg
- 4 T. Light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- An optional dusting of fresh cardamom if you’re so inclined – I am!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil or spray a 10″ tart pan, or you could probably use a 9″ pie plate.
- Make the crust: cream together the butter and ½ cup + 2 T. sugar until fluffy and light yellow. Mix in the egg, then stir in the flour and baking powder just until mixed.
- Turn the dough, which should be malleable, but mostly in a ball, into your greased pan and use your hands to push it into an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
- It will look like it is filling the pan, and that’s okay; the berries and filling take up relatively little room. Bake the (empty) crust for 10 mins. and remove to the counter to cool slightly.
- While your crust bakes, whisk together the creme fraiche, yogurt, egg, 4 T. sugar, vanilla and salt. The filling will be a very thin, pourable consistency.
- Spread the blueberries evenly across the par-baked crust. Carefully pour the creme fraiche filling over and around the berries until the crust is filled evenly.
- Carefully return to the oven and bake for 30-35 mins. until the edges are golden brown and the filling around the edges is set. When you jiggle the pan slightly, you should see only a slight movement of filling in the center, not waves of uncooked liquid.
- Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for at least 40 mins. Dust with optional cardamom. Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream or whipped cream if you like, maybe with a few extra berries on top. The tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 548.87 kcal
- Sugar: 30.06 g
- Sodium: 160.21 mg
- Fat: 23.9 g
- Saturated Fat: 13.71 g
- Trans Fat: 0.47 g
- Carbohydrates: 73.46 g
- Fiber: 3.6 g
- Protein: 10.32 g
- Cholesterol: 148.32 mg
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Merci pour cette délicieuse recette en immersion en Finlande. J ai beaucoup aimé l explication de l l’étymologie du mot myrtille. Très intéressant.
Merçi beaucoup, Citizen!!! 🙂
This is pure genius in a pie dish. I’ve made it several times, always using gluten free, and using a variety of sour milk products, and even a quantity of ricotta with some yogurt. Don’t forget the cardamom.
The genius lies in using the same ingredients as would be in a pie, but only 1/4 or 1/6 of the berries that would be used in an ordinary pie, to produce a delicious pastry. If you’re hunting your own berries, every cup counts.
Say yes to the cardamom, and thanks to the Food Dictator.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Citizen Alice!
Hi, I was wondering what does T mean. Teaspoon? Tablespoon? Something else?
T typically refers to Tablespoons – t is a teaspoon. 🙂