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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Pie time!

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One easy way to enjoy mushrooms is to bake a mushroom pie. If you have not tried this before, I guarantee you’ll be surprised just how good a mushroom pie tastes!

You can use several type of mushrooms for the pie, for example chantarelles, russulas and trumpet shaped chanterelles go really well.

Uncooked mushrooms with some spring onion and zucchini.
Uncooked mushrooms with some spring onion and zucchini.

First prepare the cleaned mushrooms by frying them on a frying pan. Cook the mushrooms on the frying pan without oil or butter, until fluids from the mushroom have evaporated. If you have a lot of mushrooms to cook, don’t cheat by pouring  off some fluids from the frying pan, but let it all evaporate. This way you do not lose any of the great mushroom flavors. If you have plenty of mushrooms fried, you can split the fried mushrooms for different dishes.

Same ingredients cooked.
Same ingredients cooked.

When preparing a pie, you can cook onions and zucchini together with the mushrooms, and season with black or white pepper.

I usually favor organic ingredients when cooking, but for mushroom pies I often use the ready raw dough that you can find in the supermarket freezer. This is for simplicity and practicality: After wondering around in the forest I’m usually tired and hungry and want to enjoy food quickly. If you want to bake the pie dough yourself, it will of course be the best choice and you can use any recipe for a salty pie dough. You could do the pie dough before going to the forest and leave it to fridge to wait for your return.

Pie before cooking in the oven.
Pie before cooking in the oven.

If you use the ready-made pie dough, let it melt while you prepare the mushrooms. Once you have fried the mushrooms, let them cool down for a moment, so that when you add eggs they don’t start to cook immediately (unless you want a pie filled with mushroom scrambled eggs 🙂 ).

For the filling, I usually use 1 dl organic cream, 50 g of Finnish cold smoked reindeer meat, 2 organic eggs and 150 g of grated cheese (e.g. Finnish Polar cheese tastes good). I mix these with the mushrooms & zucchini & onions, and spread evenly on the pie dough. Bake about half an hour in the middle level of oven, in 200 degrees Celsius.

Yes you got it right, this is no diet pie recipe, this is for indulging and enjoying the harvest from the forest!

The bliss of enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of mushroom pie after hiking in the forest!
The bliss of enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of mushroom pie after hiking in the forest!