It was around last January when I started to think about ways to learn more traditional Finnish recipes. My language skills were not good enough to test if the online recipes I found were good or not. Plus, I had already realised that learning a recipe from a friend by cooking together was a lot fun and the best way. So I decided to apply this method in a context further than Helsinki, and I started my little trips around Finland in search for recipes.
How did I find the participants? I just asked my Finnish friends, if they knew anyone who would want to teach me a traditional Finnish recipe and who preferably lived outside Helsinki. Yes, I admit, it was also an excuse for me to travel! What can I say, I always want to combine travel and work!
So after a bit of search, I started this project in Kotka and on March 1st, I took an early bus there. Kotka was not foreign to me, I was already there one time for another project during my studies, and I loved this tiny city back then. Besides, my roommate is from Kotka so I hear the word quite often!
Kotka is a city located on the coast of Gulf of Finland. The port in Kotka is an important Finnish sea port, and there is a high amount of trade with Russia through the port. You can go to Kotka from Helsinki by bus, for instance with “ExpressBus” and it takes 2 hours 20 minutes. On the way you pass from other tiny cities such as Loviisa or Porvoo, which I noted down as places to visit (well, Porvoo has been in my list for a looong time actually…).
My contact in Kotka was my friend Terhi Lindholm. I worked with her in the Kotka-related project about 2 years ago and luckily we kept in touch. She was kind of to arrange a full cooking day with some of her friends who are interested in cooking and I learned quite a lot of recipes in just a few hours, met wonderful people and had many new tastes!
So here in this 100th post, I start adding traditional Finnish recipes that I learned from Finnish friends. I start with a dessert, Mustikkakukko, literally translated as “Blueberry Rooster” but is actually blueberry rye pie (apparently, something-something-kukko is generally the name of the dishes with some kind of crust around). I learned this recipe from Minna Korkolainen, who is a sweetheart, and is a really good baker: she taught me 3 recipes within just about 2 hours, and we could even find time to eat them in a nice table!
This is a really easy recipe, takes about 10 minutes to prepare! You can use fresh or frozen blueberries and you can serve it with a variety of toppings, such as vanilla cream, ice cream or even some thick yoghurt. It takes about 30 minutes (max.) to bake so totally within an hour including the time to have it cooled down, you have a delicious and traditional Finnish dessert to serve for your friends! Let the Finnish experience begin!
Learned in: Kotka
Recipe originates from: Mikkeli, in Southern Savonia region (Etelä-Savo, in Finnish).
(serves 5, with ramekins of 8 cm in diameter)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp / 1,5 dl granulated white sugar
2 cups minus 2 tbsp / 4,5 dl rye flour (ruisjauho, in Finnish)
1 tsp / 5 ml baking powder
200 gr blueberries (mustikka in Finnish)
1/3 cup / 0.8 dl granulated white sugar
1 tbsp / 15 ml potato starch (perunajauhot, in Finnish)
(In the written recipes, it gives double amount for filling. However, with my tiny ramekins, I used this much of ingredients for filling.)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. In a medium bowl, put sugar, rye flour and baking powder and whisk / mix a little.
3. Melt the butter. Add melted butter to the dry ingredients, whisk / mix until all dry ingredients get buttered. Put aside.
4. In another bowl, put blueberries, sugar and potato starch and mix gently, without crushing the poor blueberries, until all the blueberries are covered with sugar and starch.
5. Butter your ramekins. Cover the base and a little more than half of the sides with a thin layer of flour mixture.
6. Put about 2 tbsp / 30 ml of blueberry mixture into each floured ramekin.
7. Cover the blueberries with another layer of flour mixture.
8. Put the ramekins on an oven tray with baking sheet and put in the oven, in the middle rack. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (in my oven it took 30 minutes).
9. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack. Do not eat while still hot — I repeat, do NOT eat while still hot: I burned all my internal organs because I could not wait to taste it!!! You can serve it with some cream, ice cream or some powdered sugar.