gather and grow

Homegrown, hand-spun living in the city

This is the best part about the Scandinavian summer, if you ask me. Nothing beats eating the summer’s first handful of ripe wild blueberries fresh from the woods. When the sun is shining and the forest floor is blue with tiny blue berries, a self-confessed berry addict like me will easily spend an hour or two in the woods, just picking and eating, picking and eating, till my fingers are blue and purple.

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There’s been a lot of debate in the media about the so-called superfoods lately. In the Finnish media, nutritional experts have pointed out — and I agree — that it’s quite silly to spend a lot of money on imported goji berries when our domestic wild blueberry is just as packed with amazing nutrients, and is locally and freely available. In addition to vitamins, fiber, and minerals, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any fruit, including anthocyanins, which give the berries their characteristic shades of blue and purple. Blueberries may improve memory, lower blood pressure, protect eye health, and reduce the risk of heart disease. A couple of handfuls of these per day — that’s a health recommendation that I will happily follow!

When I return to the cottage with my little bucket heavy with the goods, I store some of the berries to be enjoyed with yogurt and granola for breakfast the next day. Blueberries can also be used for dyeing — more about that later! Today’s harvest, though, went into a berry pie that I make every single summer. The recipe is one that my mother found in a magazine, maybe in the 80s, and I want to share it with you today because it’s the perfect summery berry pie.

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You can use any mix of fresh berries you like. I always use at least some blueberries. The special ingredient in the filling is kermaviili, a Finnish low-fat 12% fermented sour cream, but since that’s not available in most places, it can be substituted with regular sour cream.

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The ultimate summer berry pie

Crust:

  • 150 g butter, softened
  • 1 dl (0.4 cups) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 dl (0.6 cups) flour
  • 1.5 dl (0.6 cups) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Filling:

  • 2 dl (1.2 cups) kermaviili or regular sour cream
  • 1/2 dl (3.5 tbsp) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • half a liter (1 pint) fresh berries of your choice (blueberries, currants, raspberries, strawberries)

For serving:

  • vanilla sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 C (390 F). Whisk the butter and sugar together in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the flours and baking powder. Mix until the consistency is even, then spread onto the bottom and sides of a buttered, 10- or 12-inch pie dish.

Pour the berries of your choice onto the crust (sprinkle with some sugar if they are a little tart).

Mix the filling ingredients together and pour on top of the berries. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Serve with vanilla sauce and enjoy!

One thought on “My blueberry patch & the ultimate summer berry pie

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