Friday, July 20, 2007

Women's Week Bilberry Pie

mustikkapiirakka / blåbärspaj

Bilberry Pie

We're in the middle of Women's Week, (naistenviikko / fruntimmersveckan), which is what we call July 18th to 24th, when a lot of ladies with popular names celebrate their name day (including me, if only for my middle name). Scandinavians tend to acknowledge name days, usually with baked goods of some sort, and for my family (I share my middle name with my mom and grandmother) the tradition is to bake a bilberry pie from bilberries picked on our summer island - if there are any, which is the subject of much fretting during the preceding weeks.

Bilberry plant

Not this year though, as I got the first pie baked almost two weeks ago. This is, in fact, the third one I've had since - the summer's been both warm and rainy so far, so it's an excellent year for bilberries. I think English speakers could probably debate the pieness of this particular dish; it might be more of an, erm, double-sided... crisp? To be honest, the crumbles, cobblers, slumps and grunts kind of blur together for me. Anyway, the dough is incredibly simple, just the kind of thing to throw together in a poorly equipped cabin (although for gas ovens, heat it to 250°C and then turn down to 225), and while it might not be the neatest of desserts to eat, it's very very good. Especially with a bit of cream.

Bilberry Pie

The recipe is my mother's, and I think she got it from her mother, although it's not My Grandmother's Bilberry Pie which uses a different kind of dough. (Actually, I think the original uses only flour, whereas I went for part rolled oats for more texture.) If you can't get hold of bilberries, blueberries would probably work, although they're a bit bland in comparison.

Bilberry Pie
75 g (2½ oz) cold butter
200 ml (7 fl oz) flour
100 ml (3½ fl oz) rolled oats
50 ml (generous 3 tbsp) soft brown sugar (fariinisokeri / farinsocker)

500 ml / 2 cups bilberries
1½ tbsp sugar
½ tbsp potato flour

Mix together the dry ingredients for the pie crust. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. With your fingertips, press half of this "dough" into the bottom of a 10-inch pan (don't bother with getting crust on the edges).

Mix together bilberries, sugar and potato flour and spread onto the pie. Crumble the rest of the flour mixture on top and bake at 225°C (~450°F) for about 25 minutes, until the topping goes light brown and the filling beneath it is bubbly. Let cool for a while, but it is extremely good when still a bit warm.


Aileen said...

Welcome back! I've never tasted a bilberry, but they certainly look scrumptious.

Belinda said...

This looks so beautiful! I am a huge fan of what I call crumb bars (not the most glamorous or enticng name!), and this one is beckoning me, right through the computer screen! :-)

Linda said...

i didn't know it was women's week! lovely. and so is that pie!

Rachel said...

it looks lovely!

Joanna said...

What a lovely idea, to celebrate name days - I'm all for any excuse for a party. We're just off to Scotland, where we can find bilberries, otherwise, it's supermarket blueberries - as you say, not so tasty!


Pille said...

I had always translated 'mustikas' as blueberry, but when visiting Johanna in London in April, we realised after lots of discussions, that the wild thing (which is blue inside), should be called bilberry instead, and the cultivated larger berries with whitish core are known as blueberries in English-speaking world. Very confusing!!
Lovely pie, of course!

oliivia said...

well what do you know! all these years we've been taught pure rubbish at school about mustikka translating as blueberry! confusing stuff, that...
Yummy pie, be the berry whatever it may by name :)

deinin said...

Aileen, thanks! Think blueberry but tarter and somehow... more.

Belinda, yes, I do like this type of... thing a lot, never mind what it's called.

Linda, according to an old-wives' tale, it's a very rainy week. Because the ladies are all weepy and stuff. I don't know about statistics. but it was rainy here!

Rachel, thanks!

Joanna, I didn't want to say it outright, but blueberries are mostly good for looking at, at least in comparison to bilberries.

Pille - that's how I thought too, especially since my first language is Swedish where it's explicitly "blue berry" - in Finnish I think blueberries are "pensasmustikka"

Oliivia, I know! All this time I've thought people must be insane to call blueberries bland... of course, now that I realise they've been talking about pensasmustikka, it makes a lot more sense.

Anonymous said...

Lovely looking pie! Have been on my first bilberry picking adventure this evening in Lancashire (UK), with friends and all our children. We all had great fun and came back with purple fingers and happy faces! Here we call them winberries. Now I have washed them I need a tasty recipe to make the best of my efforts. So I'm going to try your lovely recipe. Thank you. Sx

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