October 7, 2010
Last weekend my in-laws came for a quick visit. Girls were very excited about the fact they were going to see their grandparents and spend time with them. They live about 440 km from Helsinki and when they come to see us, it is almost a big happening for everyone.
Not only they brought happiness to the girls, they also brought us lots of produce.Those who follow me on twitter might know that my in-laws have a gorgeous vegetable garden which produces the most in summertime. Now it is Autumn and people in Finland are preparing for the cold months to come.
I got potatoes, carrots, swedes/ rutabagas , onions, some of my mother-in-law homemade pickles, a huge winter pumpkin and apples. We keep them in the cold storage downstairs that belongs to same apartment building.
I thought it was a good idea to use the apples as soon as it was possible. Those apples I got are slightly different from the ones you get normally from any supermarket. Finnish apples, most of them are small , very fragrant but also very sour. The sourness reminds me apple vinegar taste, no kidding.
Interesting thing is their flavor gets better when you cook them. Or when you use them in a pie :).
A little something about Finnish pies. The word for pie in Finnish is “piirakka” or “piiras” (and sometimes “torttu” ) and it translates to pie. You can see lots of pies in Finnish cuisine that don’t look the same, neither are made with same technique. It is a fact. You can find pies made of usual butter crust, shortbread crust, sweet bread crust, “pizza” crust, cake-alike crust, rye dough crust. Imagine a dough with a filling and we call it pie. Yep.
The apple pie I made this time is very common during the apple season. The dough reminds a lot a very heavy and rich butter cake in its softness and the filling varies according to what is in season. For example in Spring the same dough is used to make Rhubarb pie and in late Summer, Bilberry pie.
I forgot to mention.. my father-in-law has lactose intolerance and my mother-in-law has gluten intolerance. Because of that, I baked two pies : the first using lactose-free butter and the second, using a different dough recipe with almond meal.
Here follows both:
Omenapiirakka – Apple pie with “cake” dough
Adapted from the recipe that came on the package of my ceramic baking dish ( Kermansavi )
Yield a ∅ 25 cm pie
- 125 g unsalted butter ( I used lactose-free butter )
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3-5 apples ( I used 5 small ones. A good substitute would be Granny Smith apples )
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 180 °C. Butter a 25 cm baking dish ( or a tin ) and line base with greaseproof paper. Wash and prepare the apples ( you don’t need to peel them if they are organic like mine ^_^ ).
Sift the flour and baking powder and reserve. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the beaten eggs and the flour mix a little at a time , mixing carefully after each addition.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. The dough consistency looks like a heavy cake dough ( or a soft cookie one ). Try to spread it in a way it looks like it has borders, like a pie.
Remove seeds from apples and slice them thinly. Lay the slices on top of the batter, overlapping them in circles. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon and bake for about 25 min ( check the border with a skewer ).
Serve alone, with vanilla sauce or ice cream :)
Gluteeniton Omenapiirakka – Gluten-free apple pie
Yield a 18 cm x 24 cm rectangular baking dish
- 100 g butter
- 1 dl caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 dl potato starch
- 80g almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of half orange
- 4 small apples
- 1tbsp demerara sugar
- 1tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 180 °C. Butter the dish (or tin ). I used the rectangular one because I didn’t have any better available :P . Wash and prepare the apples.
Combine the almond meal, potato starch, zest and baking powder and put aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the beaten eggs and the dry ingredients mixture a little at a time , mixing carefully after each addition.
At this point you will think something is wrong. My dough got very liquid but I carried on with the recipe and it ended up perfect!!
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish.
Remove seeds from apples and slice them thinly. Lay the slices on top of the batter, they will slightly sink in. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon and bake for about 20 min ( check the border with a skewer ).
Let it set and cool before serving.
My notes about this recipe:
It is really necessary to leave the pie resting for a moment. Due to the crumbly nature of the dough, the pieces brake apart if you try to cut the pie while it is still warm.
The almond taste was so pleasant I myself enjoyed the pie so much and ate the rest of it after my mom-in-law left ^_^.