When I go through a cook book, flip through a magazine or a newspaper I usually discover three different kinds of recipes. The first kind offers inspiration. The pictures might be incredible and it introduces new dimensions, flavors and ingredients. These recipes do not get written down(since I know I won’t follow it anyways) but the next time I am making supper or baking an element of that inspiration is included.
The second type of recipe does get written down. By the time I serve the actual dish it is nearly indistinguishable. This is where the fun the begins. It involves analyzing the recipe and deciding which characteristics should stand out or be included (sticky, spicy, chewy, crunchy, crispy, luscious). It is somewhat like the rubiks cube game, matching all the right colors to get the flavor desired.
The third genre of recipes, is a rare find. It is followed exactly every time. I only have a handful of these ones. I am going to share one of those recipes with you. Feel free to use it for inspiration and modify it a bit. If you come up with a new version, feel free and share with the rest of us. Maybe you will like it as much as I do.
This Mustikkakukko (or Rättänä as it is called in Eastern Finland) is as Finnish as Apple pie is American. It is a deep-dish blueberry pie with a rye crust. Rye is considered a very Finnish grain. In this dessert it is combined with blueberries that the forests’ are abundant with. I found this recipe in the Helsingin Sanomat about a year ago and use it often, especially in the fall.
Mustikkakukko or Deep-dish blueberry pie
250 g/8.8 oz butter
1.5 dl/0.7 c sugar
5 dl/little over 2 c rye flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 l/4.2 c blueberries
1 1/4 dl/ 1/2 c sugar
2 tblsp potato or corn starch
Combine softened butter and sugar. I prefer to use a stand mixer for this. Mix the rye flour and baking powder. Fold flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. Let cool in the refrigerator for a bit. Roll out 2/3 of the dough for the bottom crust and place into a greased, deep bowl or pan. Mix the sugar and starch with the blueberries and pour on top of the crust. Roll out the remains of the dough and cover the blueberries. Pinch the sides and bake in the oven at 200C/390 F for about one hour. Serve with icecream or whipping cream.
For a shorter bake time use small tins as shown in the photos. If using fresh berries the bake time is only about 15 minutes. When using frozen berries the bake time is about 25 minutes. Instead of rolling out a cover for every mini kukko, I crumbled a few pieces of dough.
The term kukko is refers to the rye crust that encloses the baked good. The savory cousin to the sweet blueberry version is a vendace loaf cut and served in slices. Vendance is a very small fish, quite often eaten whole. Sometime in the future I will share the that recipe.
PS. I made a separate page for wedding cakes and other celebrations that can be found in the header. From time to time I will update this page adding stories and photos of cakes to celebrate the milestones.
I went on a run one morning and decided to stop by at an old neighbor’s house. She is an elderly woman that our children have come to know quite well. We had coffee and enjoyed the summer weather. As I was leaving to go home she gave me a big bag of rhubarb. I really couldn’t say no, even though I had come by foot. So I ran back home carrying a bag of rhubarb switching hands every once in a while. It was well worth it, the rhubarb tart turned out delicious. Perfect fare for the independence day party.
The rye flour in the crust gives the tart a nice multi-dimensional flavor. Originally I made the crust using only rye flour for my babysitter who is allergic to wheat. It worked quite well, but had a stronger flavor. For those who prefer a milder flavor the recipe below uses a mixture of rye and wheat.
330 g/11.5 oz or about 3 stalks of rhubarb chopped
2-3 tablespoons water
100g/1 dl/generous 1/2 c sugar
Place rhubarb, water and sugar in a saucepan and let simmer until the rhubarb has softened. Thicken with the cornstarch mixture below.
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
2 tablespoons of water
Mix the cornstarch and water to form a paste. Take a few tablespoons of the hot rhubarb filling and mix with the paste. Pour mixture into the simmering rhubarb and let bubble once or twice. Take off heat and set aside.
3 egg yolks
150 g/5.3 oz butter melted
85 g /1 dl/3oz/little under 1/2 c brown sugar
45 g/ 1/2 dl/1.5 oz/little under 1/4 c sugar
150 g/3 dl/5.3 oz/ little under 1 1/2 c rye flour
120 g/2 dl/4.2 oz/ little under 1 c flour
5 g/ 1 teaspoon baking soda
3 egg whites
3 generous tablespoons brown sugar
Whip egg yolks, brown sugar and sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients. Take turns folding in parts of the dry ingredients and melted butter into the batter. Pat the crust into a tart pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake the crust for about 14 minutes or until golden brown at 200 C/390 F.
While the crust is baking make the meringue. Whip the egg whites adding the brown sugar in one tablespoon at a time. Whip until soft peaks form.
When the crust is done lower the oven temperature to 160 C/320 F. Spoon the rhubarb filling on the crust and then the meringue on top of the rhubarb. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the meringue is a golden brown.
Serve with ice cream or home made vanilla sauce.