Kid-friendly VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies) Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

Recipe: VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

by Erin Fletter
Photo by vkuslandia/Shutterstock.com
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
22 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

"Mustikkapiirakka," pronounced "moo-stee-kah-PEER-ahk-kah," is a traditional Finnish blueberry pie. This is a Vegan and Gluten-Free version! (We also have a recipe for those without dairy, egg, or gluten allergies.) In June and July, the entire country of Finland is cloaked in blueberries that grow wild. It's almost alarming if you've never seen it before! This traditional custard pie celebrates the seasonal bounty of blueberries. Mustikkapiirakka is made by creating a sugar cookie-like crust, filling it with a simple custard packed with blueberries, and then baking it until set. It is also quite common in Finland to eat blueberries soaked in milk, especially when they're in season. So, we've included a recipe for "Mustikkamaito," Finnish blueberry milk, pronounced "MOO-stee-kah-MY-toe," to drink with your pie and add extra blueberry goodness to your day! You can make the milk dairy-free, too!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • fold :

    to gently and slowly mix a light ingredient into a heavier ingredient so as not to lose air and to keep the mixture tender, such as incorporating whipped egg whites into a cake batter or folding blueberries into pancake batter; folding is a gentler action than mixing or whisking.

  • whisk :

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

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Fork (to mix)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Muffin pan
scale
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Ingredients

VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

  • Pie Crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 3 oz (3/4 stick) cold dairy-free/nut-free butter
  • 1/4 C very cold water
  • Pie Custard:
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk **(for COCONUT ALLERGY sub soy creamer)**
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp certified gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour
  • 1 C blueberries

Food Allergen Substitutions

VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

  • Coconut: Substitute soy creamer for coconut milk.

Instructions

VEGAN & GLUTEN-FREE Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)

1.
intro

We are making Vegan and Gluten-Free Finnish Mini "Mustikkapiirakka" (Blueberry Pies)! Pronounced "moo-stee-kah-PEER-ahk-kah."

2.
preheat + measure + mix

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Start by making the pie crust. Combine 1 1/4 cups gluten and nut free flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a large mixing bowl. Measure and add 2 tablespoons of oil to the bowl, then mix with a fork.

3.
chop + mix

Chop up 3 ounces of cold, dairy free butter into little pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Mix again with a fork. There should be little chunks of "butter" left in the flour mixture—it makes the crust flaky!

4.
add + mix

Add the 1/4 cup of cold water a little at a time, mixing into the dough after each addition until you get the consistency of pie dough. You may not need to use all the water.

5.
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 2 minutes until the crusts begin to get slightly golden. Remove the pan but leave the oven on.

6.
shake + combine + measure + add

Now it's time to make the pie custard! First, either shake the coconut milk can or whisk to combine the coconut cream at the top with the milk—you want both for this custard! Next, to a clean mixing bowl, measure and add 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 pinch of salt.

7.
whisk + mix + fold

In a separate bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of water with 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder and 1 teaspoon tapioca powder. This mixture is called a "slurry!" It will help thicken the custard. Add the slurry to the coconut milk bowl and mix. Then gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.

8.
spoon + bake + drizzle

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the 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 some Lemon Drizzle (see recipe) over the 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 Mustikkapiirakka?

Photo by Sergii Koval for Shutterstock

"Mustikkapiirakka" (moo-stee-kah-PEER-akka) is a Finnish word that translates to "blueberry pie" in English. “Mustikka” means "blueberry" or "bilberry," and “piirakka” is "pie." This dessert is found in many restaurants in Finland but is usually homemade by local Finns due to the abundance of wild bilberries. Families may have their own variation of mustikkapiirakka. 

Bilberries are native to Europe and closely related to North American blueberries. Some key differences are that bilberries grow individually or in pairs, whereas blueberries grow in clusters. They are smaller and darker blue inside and out than blueberries. Also, bilberries are softer and juicier, with a more intense flavor. 

 

Let's Learn About Finland!

Photo by BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock.com
  • Welcome to Finland, home of the world's first sauna—a wooden room that fills with steam that people use to cleanse and relax! 
  • Officially the Republic of Finland, this Nordic country is in Northern Europe and borders Norway, Sweden, and Russia. Helsinki is its capital and largest city.
  • Finland's total area is 130,678 square miles. It is very sparsely populated, with about 17 people per square kilometer and 5.5 million people. Consider that in the Denver metropolitan area alone, there are 2.8 million people!
  • The official languages are Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is the country's predominant language, but some residents speak Swedish in a few western and southern coastal areas. Swedish is the official language in the Finnish region of Åland or the Åland Islands, off the southwest coast. In the northernmost and largest region, Lapland, the indigenous Sámi people of Northern Europe speak one of the Sámi languages.
  • Early inhabitants of Finland arrived in about 9000 BCE. Before Finland became independent in 1918, it had been under either Swedish or Russian rule. Its government is a unitary parliamentary republic with a president, prime minister, and parliament. Finland is part of the European Union and uses the Euro as its currency.
  • The Ice Age affected much of Finland's geography, with eroding glaciers flattening much of the land, and there are few hills and mountains. However, not much of the land is cultivated, as forests cover 78 percent. Not surprisingly, Finland produces most of the wood in Europe. 
  • For the last few years, the United Nations World Happiness Report has stated that Finland is the Happiest Country in the World. The report considers a country's residents' sense of well-being and personal and societal balance and harmony, such as work-life balance, relationships, politics, diet, nature, etc. 
  • Although Finns (or Finnish people) pay high taxes, their public services are exceptional. Public education is one benefit: children under seven can attend preschool or child care for free (primary school begins at age seven), and college and university are also free-of-charge. In addition, the national public health care system is publically funded and offers universal health care to residents.
  • Vappu, or May Day, is celebrated annually on May 1 and marks the end of winter. It is one of the year's biggest festivals in Finland. It is a feast of springtime mainly celebrated in cities and big towns. The festival begins the evening before May Day, and streets, pubs, and restaurants fill with people ready to say "Hyvästi!" (Goodbye!) to winter and "Tervetuloa!" (Welcome!) to a long-awaited spring.  
  • After a heavy May Day Eve celebration, people gather for a celebratory lunch on May 1, also known as "Herring Lunch," a tradition that started to satisfy partiers and their craving for salty snacks the day after a night of heavy drinking! Pickled herring parfait, Finnish fritters filled with sweet jam, gravlax, and Schnapps are traditional foods and drinks served for May Day Lunch.
  • Fish, meat (including reindeer!), whole grains, berries, and milk (or buttermilk) are common in Finnish cooking. Karelian stew is considered a national dish by some people and rye bread by others. The traditional stew is from the region of Karelia and is made of meat, peppercorns, salt, vegetables, and other seasonings. 

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

  • Children in Finland start primary school when they are seven years old, but most kids go to preschool and kindergarten from ages three to six. Finland has some of the best public primary education in the world.
  • For fun, kids might go sailing, hiking, swimming, or canoeing in Summer with their families. In winter, families go ice skating, skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, and dog sledding. 
  • A year-round amusement park called Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is located at the Arctic Circle in the Lapland region, where kids can visit Santa Claus, go on sleigh rides pulled by reindeer, learn about snowmobiles, and view the Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights). They can also walk past a line that tells them they have crossed into the Arctic Circle. 
  • Another popular attraction is the Suomenlinna sea fortress near Helsinki, where kids can run and climb as they explore the fortress, check out the old canons, visit museums, and picnic with families.
  • Breakfast for kids might be a savory open-faced sandwich with cold cuts and cheeses, cereal with yogurt, or oatmeal with berries. Then, they either bring their lunch to school or have a school lunch. 
  • Sweets that Finnish kids may eat include "salmiak" (or salty liquorice) candy and "pulla," a cardamom-spiced sweet roll similar to a cinnamon roll.

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the blueberry stop in the middle of the road? 

Because he ran out of juice!

THYME for a Laugh

What’s a ghost’s favorite fruit? 

Boo-berries!

THYME for a Laugh

What is blue and goes up and down? 

A blueberry in an elevator!

That's Berry Funny

Tongue twister:

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

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