You’re the apple of my eye

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There are very few things in life that bring as much immediate pleasure as picking fresh apples from the apple trees. The beautiful shades of red and green and the fresh scent and taste of cinnamon apples is what I remember from my childhood Autumns. Although apple trees don’t usually grow wild in Finland, there are many households who have organic apple trees growing in their garden. At the moment the grocery stores have good variety of domestic, organic apples.

WP_20151011_001 (2)In my childhood my Mom used to make juice out of apples that we got from our garden. She would use a juicer called ‘mehumaija‘, a kettle like equipment that steams the juice out of apples and berries. After the juice was steam ready, the remaining flesh of the apples were squashed into pulp and stored in a freezer. I used the pulp with breakfast cereals or porridge and also for baking apple cakes for Christmas. Nowadays the new type of juicers allow to make fresh apple juice on daily basis if you like. I recently learned, that it’s possible to buy a share of an apple tree from an apple tree farm. I have not tried this myself, but it sounds like an interesting idea, if you don’t have an own garden. Organic apples are the best, because then you don’t lose any of the great vitamins as you don’t need to peel the apples before eating them.

A typical dessert in Finland is a baking made out of oat flakes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and apples. The ingredients are mixed and baked in the oven until apples are soft and oat flakes and sugar are crispy. This tasty treat is then served with whipped cream, vanilla custard or ice cream. A very nice comfort food indeed (and upgrades easily many ordinary cafeteria lunches).

As I’m a big fan of pies (which you have probably figured out if you have read my previous blog posts 🙂 ) my specialty of course is an apple pie. This below recipe has sealed many friendships when I’ve lived abroad. Nothing brings people together like fresh pastry, especially when you’re a student with limited budged. Probably the best compliment came from an Italian friend, who said the pie was just like what his Mom would have baked 🙂

You’ll need:

InstagramCapture_8feaa377-5e26-4241-9df9-f9cd9261a1fb1,5 dl organic sugar

3 dl flour (wheat or gluten free)

2 tee-spoons of baking powder

vanilla powder or vanilla sugar

75-100 g of butter

200g of sour cream, preferably ‘kermaviili

3-5 dl of apple slices

cinnamon

Mix the dry ingredients together, pinch the butter to the flours with your hands and last add the ‘kermaviili’. Butter the pie tin and spread the dough evenly. Press the apple slices into the dough, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-45 min at 175-200 degrees Celsius. Enjoy with vanilla custard or ice cream!

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Forest rubies

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WP_20150815_037Last weekend we decided to head for the lake house, also known as summer cottage (kesämökki), as the Finns call it. Of course the idea was not only to relax by the lake, but to also explore the nearby forests for mushrooms.

I packed my basket and grabbed a kitchen bowl from the cottage, just in case I would find berries along the way. It turned out, that I never quite made it to the forest.. As the sides of the cottage road were filled with raspberry bushes, with the branches bent from the amount of berries.

WP_20150815_020I was freaking out a bit to push myself through the raspberry bushes and accross the ditch between the road and the forest, as I forgot to pack rubber boots along. It’s better to wear rubber boots as there may be vipers enjoying the warmth of sun, on the rocks and tree stupms. While in nature, it’s good to be humble and keep in mind that you are entering the food chain, and not always the top of it. However, I soon forgot my worries, as I got mesmerized by the sea of ripe raspberries all around me, like being surrounded  by precious rubies. (And no, there were no snakes in sight anywhere).

WP_20150815_023 (2)I also found some wild red currants, growing among the raspberries. Most likely blackbids or other common “berry thiefs” have been enjoying the currants from someone’s back yard, and then spread the seeds into the neighbouring forest. For me this was of course lucky discovery, as the red currants have plenty of vitamin c and they are excellent for a Finnish dessert called ‘vispipuuro’, a whipped porridge which is made out of semolina and berries such as currants, lingonberries or crandberries.

InstagramCapture_12b5b732-c73a-49f9-8f0b-c803ab25e1d3In the end, I never made it to search for mushrooms but I got more than I expected. My bowl run out of space before running out of berries.. I put some of the berries into freezer to enjoy them during winter, and some we enjoyed fresh, while relaxing by the lake 🙂

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