Updated: Nov 21
It's blueberry season in the Nordics, and this year is most definitely a blueberry year. We seem to get years when the berries are amazing and conversely, when the berries are non-existent. But this year the forests are full of these incredible super foods and we have had the usual autumn days of taking berry picking trips, filling our baskets and enjoying a snack in the forest before heading home to make blueberry jam and blueberry muffins.
I usually freeze my blueberries or make blueberry jam, but this year I wanted to share a delicious Nordic recipe with you, mustikkapiirakka, Finnish blueberry tart.
Mustikkapiirakka is a rich and creamy tart of rich sweet pastry filled with a set custard and packed full of blueberries. It's the ideal way to celebrate the season's best fruit and a more unusual way to enjoy blueberries.
Mustikkapiirakka has a interesting history. All the Nordic countries have a history of making food from nature, but the Finns most of all, and it's something that is proudly kept alive today. Berries are a hugely important part of Finnish food culture and there are countless recipes that make the most of nature's bounty. Finns also love pies! So what would be more natural that a treasure of the season combined with the nations favourite dish!
The pie crust for mustikkapiirakka is an unusual one. It's less of a pie crust that we are used to and more of a cake with the addition of an egg and baking powder. Once baked it becomes both crispy and melting. It does make for a little bit of a challenge when filling the tin with it. We don't roll it out, but simply ease it into the tart tin with lightly floured hands.
The brightly coloured blueberries in the filling and the beautiful golden tones that the top takes are so reminiscent of the colours of autumn and it's easy to fall in love with it before you even take a bite.
Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish blueberry tart)
For the crust
100g /3.5 oz softened butter
110g /4 oz sugar
150g / 5.3 oz plain, all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Grated rind of 1 lemon
300g / 10 fl oz sour cream
100g / 3.5 oz sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
300g / 10.5 oz blueberries
Preheat the oven to 165C/330F
Grease a 25cm tart tin, or use a non-stick tart tin if you have one. Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and baking powder and mix together well without working it too much. We don't want a hard crust!
We are not going to roll out the crust as you would expect. Using lightly floured hands and a spoon ease the mixture into your tart tin. It takes a little time and patience, but be sure to get it to the edges and slightly up the side of the tin to create a tart shell.
Sprinkle the blueberries in the tart case, keeping a few over to decorate. For the filling beat together the sugar, sour cream, vanilla and egg and pour into the prepared tart shell.
Sprinkle over the remaining blueberries and bake in the centre of the oven for about 35 minutes until the edges of the tart start to turn a light golden brown and the filling is slightly firm but not hard.
Cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the tart tin. Serve warm or cold, both are equally delicious!