Kid-friendly Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies) Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

Recipe: Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

by Erin Fletter
Photo by (pedrolasa/shutterstock)
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
30 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

"Hjónabandssæla" is pronounced "SHOWN-a-bahnds-say-la" and translates to "happy marriage" or "wedded bliss." It is an Icelandic cake or pie traditionally filled with rhubarb jam. However, you can also fill it with blueberry, raspberry, other fruit jam, or custard. The crust commonly includes oats. The name implies that a bride served this simple and delicious dessert to her husband to ensure a happy and lasting marriage. These days, it is also served to children, grandchildren, and guests. We hope you enjoy our version, filled with a blueberry custard!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • drizzle :

    to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing or sauce, over food.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Fork (to mix)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Muffin pan
scale
1X
2X
3X
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7X

Ingredients

Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

  • Pie Crust:
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3/4 C softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C all-purpose flour (sub gluten-free flour or follow Vegan/Gluten-Free recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pie Custard:
  • 1 C full-fat plain Greek yogurt (sub dairy-free yogurt or follow Vegan/Gluten-Free recipe)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 C blueberries

Food Allergen Substitutions

Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour or follow the Vegan and Gluten-Free Blueberry Pie recipe.
  • Dairy: Follow the Vegan and Gluten-Free Blueberry Pie recipe.
  • Egg: Follow the Vegan/Gluten-Free Blueberry Pie recipe.

Instructions

Mini Icelandic Hjónabandssæla (Blueberry Pies)

1.
preheat + measure + mix

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Start by making the pie crust. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup butter, and 2 eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix with a fork. Next, measure and add 1 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and mix again until well combined.

2.
press + bake

Press about 1 tablespoon of pie crust into each well of a muffin pan, spreading it out evenly. Then pop the pan into the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes until the crusts begin to get slightly golden. Remove the pan but leave the oven on.

3.
combine + stir + fold

Now it's time to make the pie custard! In a clean mixing bowl, combine 1 cup yogurt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 eggs, and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir everything up, and then gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.

4.
spoon + bake + drizzle

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of pie custard into each mini pie crust in your muffin pan. If there is any batter left over, divide it equally among all the muffin pan wells. Bake in your preheated oven until the custard is set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drizzle Lemon Skyr (Yogurt) Drizzle (see recipe) over pies before serving!

Surprise Ingredient: Blueberries!

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Photo by Mariana Serdynska/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I’m Blueberry!

"Have you heard the saying, "as American as apple pie?" Well, with no offense to the apple—which is certainly a fine fruit—we blueberries think that classic saying should read, "as American as blueberry pie." Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America, and apples aren't (unless you count Pacific crabapples). And don't worry about our powdery coating. It's called epicuticular wax (but you can call it "bloom"), and it protects our skin. I guess you could say we bloom where we're planted!"

History

  • Blueberries are a genuinely natural blue food due to a pigment called anthocyanin. Native Americans used blueberries to make dye for textiles and baskets, and colonists made paint out of blueberries by boiling them in milk. 
  • Blueberries have impacted the culture, cuisine, and even survival of Americans for centuries. From the times of the earliest indigenous people to the present day, blueberries have been a valued food staple. They've provided enjoyment during times of abundance and have held starvation at bay during times of scarcity. 
  • In the 1860s, blueberries were gathered, packaged, and sent to Union troops during the Civil War.
  • The Shakers made the traditional blue paint used in their homes from blueberry skins, sage blossoms, indigo, and milk.
  • American poet, Robert Frost, wrote a poem called "Blueberries" that may have been inspired by his youth picking or eating blueberries.
  • Maine is the leading wild blueberry producer in the United States, and Oregon produces the most cultivated blueberries.
  • How official are blueberries? Consider these official state foods: Maine's state fruit is the wild blueberry, and their state dessert is Maine blueberry pie; Minnesota's state muffin is the blueberry muffin; New Jersey's state fruit is the Northern highbush blueberry; and North Carolinas' state berry is the blueberry.
  • July is National Blueberry Month because it is the peak of the harvest season.

Anatomy 

  • Blueberry plants are woody shrubs. There are lowbush (or wild) and highbush (or cultivated) varieties. Canada grows the most lowbush blueberries in the world, and the United States produces about 40 percent of the highbush variety.
  • Native Americans once called blueberries "star berries" because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape. 
  • Blueberry plants can be grown in a large container (at least 2 feet deep and wide) if grown in acidic soil with good drainage. Plant them in the Spring and put the container in a sunny spot. They do not produce berries in the first year. It may take about five years for a full harvest.
  • How to Pick, Buy, & Eat
  • Blueberries turn from reddish-purple to a deep blue when they are ripe. Choose berries that are blue, plump, dry, and somewhat firm. Avoid blueberries that are white or green as they are far from mature. If there are stains on the container, some of the berries may be bruised. They may have a light dusting of grayish powder (or bloom) on their skin, which is normal. 
  • Do not wash your blueberries before freezing, storing, or eating them. However, you will want to sort through the berries and remove any that are wrinkled or covered in a white fuzzy mold, so they do not spoil the rest. Refrigerate your blueberries with good air circulation and plan to eat them within a week if possible. 
  • If you stir some fresh blueberries into your muffin batter, you will have the most popular muffin flavor in the United States. They are also delicious in salads and breakfast cereal, especially oatmeal, juice, pies, jams and jellies, sauces, and syrup. Dried blueberries are also good in cereals and batters. 
  • North American indigenous people used blueberries to make "pemmican," a high-energy food consisting of dried meat, often game meat, dried berries, and tallow (rendered animal fat). They would pack it for sustenance on long journeys. European fur traders and explorers adopted it for their travels. Pemmican is still eaten today.
  • Blueberries have been valued as a highly nutritional food and for their medicinal properties and even for non-food uses such as making paints and dyes. 

Nutrition

  • Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits or vegetables and may help prevent damage caused by cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. In addition, the anthocyanin present in blueberries is good for eyesight. 
  • Blueberries are a great source of many essential nutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, potassium, iron, and many others.
  • The calories in blueberries amount to only 80 per cup.
  • Blueberry juice had medicinal value for Native Americans and was used to treat persistent coughs and other illnesses.

 

What is Hjónabandssæla?

Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA
  • "Hjónabandssæla" (SHOWN-a-Bahnds-say-la) is called Happy Marriage Cake in English. It is a traditional Icelandic cake or pie filled with fruit jam, typically rhubarb, with an oat crust. The dessert can also be made into bars or a crumble. Icelanders may no longer make hjónabandssæla to ensure a happy marriage, but they do make it because it's delicious and perhaps to keep their traditions alive.

Let's Learn About Iceland!

Photo by Matt Hardy
  • Iceland is a Nordic island country in Northern Europe. The island country is east of Greenland and west of mainland Europe, and its main island is just south of the Arctic Circle. 
  • Iceland's government is a unitary parliamentary republic with a president, prime minister, and parliament (Alþingi). 
  • The country's total area is 39,682, and its population was estimated to be 371,580 in 2021. It is the most sparsely populated European country. 
  • Icelandic is the official and national language. The Icelandic language is unique, close to its original roots, and most similar to Danish and Norwegian. 
  • Reykjavik (RAYK-yah-Vik) is the capital and largest city and where 65 percent of the population lives.
  • Traditionally it is said that Norse (from Norway) settlers first established a home in Iceland in 874 CE; however, Irish monks may have arrived before them. Iceland is the second-oldest place to be settled on Earth after New Zealand.
  • Icelandic horses that live in the country now are direct descendants of the horses the Vikings first brought with them.
  • Thingvellir (Icelandic: Þingvellir) National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Althing (Icelandic: Alþingi) is one of the oldest parliaments worldwide. From about 930 until 1798 CE, the assembly met outdoors in the fields at Þingvellir, and the remains of their meetings are still there. In fact, "Þing" is "Congress" or "assembly" in English, and "vellir" means "fields." In 1844, the Althing moved to Reykjavík, and the current parliament building was built in 1881. 
  • There are 32 volcanic systems and more than 130 volcanoes, some of which are active and some dormant. There is at least one volcanic eruption each decade. Hydro and geothermal energy from volcanoes powers more than 80 percent of the country. Most homes are heated using geothermal water pumped from beneath cities and towns.
  • The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa about a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik, is the most popular attraction in Iceland. The lagoon is man-made, and the mineral-rich water is said to help skin ailments like psoriasis.   
  • Icelandic seasons include long, harsh winters and long summer days, being very close to the Arctic Circle. Because of this, Iceland is a great place to see the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun.
  • Icelanders use the traditional Nordic naming system for their last names, which includes the father's first name with either "dóttir" (daughter) or "son" added to the end. So people call each other by their first names, even their doctors and teachers!
  • Babies are commonly left outside to nap! There is not much crime and virtually no violent crime in Iceland.
  • Iceland's traditional foods include whale, puffin, dried fish, fermented shark, and sheep's head!
  • Lamb, dairy, and fish are a big part of Icelanders' diets. Meat and fish are often smoked or dried. Some of their popular foods include "skyr" (a yogurt-like cultured dairy product), "rúgbrauð" (a dark rye bread), "kleinur" (a fried pastry shaped like angel wings), and "plokkfiskur" (a fish and potato stew).

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Iceland?

  • Children in Iceland can attend public school from primary grades through college for free. Icelandic is their first language, but they also learn English and Danish in school.
  • For fun, kids may play handball or soccer, ride horses, or swim in geothermal pools. With their families, they may explore a lava cave, take walks on the beach or forest, or go whale watching. Icelandic kids are very independent, often playing and exploring outside without their parents. 
  • A child's bedroom windows will be covered with blackout curtains or shades during the summer because it never gets fully dark at nighttime!
  • Kids may eat muesli or oatmeal for breakfast, and lunch might be fish, rice pudding, or "lifrarpylsa" (liver sausage). They may eat "skyr" at any time of day.

Lettuce Joke Around

What is blue and goes up and down? 

A blueberry in an elevator!

THYME for a Laugh

Tongue twister:

Say it 3 times fast . . . "Bake big batches of brown blueberry bread."

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