As I got off the plane, I realised that I had not packed accordingly! Helsinki in April was not what I had imagined. Verona this spring had been speckled with the odd shower, so I had not done my cambio di armadio yet. This is the bi-annual ritual in Italy of going through your entire wardrobe and changing everything up for the next season. Usually, it is done mid-spring/summer and autumn. Although it may seem overwhelming, this is a great way to not only rediscover the hidden gems in your closet but also to liberate yourself of any pieces that you may not need anymore or that are looking a bit tired! I am not saying doing a full Marie Kondo makeover (we may not all of her strength or will-power), but it could be a good excuse twice a year to at least look at what is lurking in the back of your closet!
Meanwhile, in Finland, the birch trees were waking up, and the blueberry bushes that carpet the forest floor were almost in bloom. How can you not slow down to appreciate it all? The only problem was that I had a two-ply cashmere sweater on when all I needed was a cotton t-shirt.
Scandinavia has slow-living figured out. Sauna, minimalism, hygge just to name a few examples. I was lucky enough to be brought up to a dreamy log cabin about 3 hours north of Helsinki. Time stood still here as the seasons were changing. The ice was melting on the lake whilst the trees were already full of buds. No running water means sauna, hot tub (water pumped from the lake), and ice baths in the lake itself! All of these things make you very hungry indeed (even if I only lasted 2 seconds in the lake…).
On the first evening, Laura (my wonderful Finnish host) said that she would be making a pie for dessert. I thought that baking without running water and in a log cottage was a bit ambitious. I was proven wrong. She had said the pie was best served the day after, as it had time to cool. You can imagine how long that lasted when the smell of baking wafted through the fresh evening air as the sun was beginning to set.
So have a go at enjoying this fabulous berry dessert anytime you want something fresh but comforting (perhaps after the next time you go through your closet!)
Laura’s Berry Pie
150 g soft butter
100 ml of sugar
300 ml flour (I put half and half oat flour and normal flour)
1 tsp baking powder
500 g of berries (any that you like! frozen works well too!)
200 g of this kermaviili (which is like buttermilk and creme fraiche mixed)
100 ml of sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar (In Finland we don’t really have extract but that would probably do it)
Mix butter and sugar, add the egg together well with a whisk or fork.
Mix flour, baking powder, and sugar together. Add to the rest of the base ingredients. Mix well.
Pat the base mixture into a lovely pie dish (preferably greased or lined with baking paper).
Then you can blind bake the base in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 10 mins - but I am usually lazy and skip this part.
Add the berries on top of the base. Mix together the top ingredients and add on top of the berries.
Bake it all for about 40 mins in 200 degrees Celsius oven.
Enjoy when cooled a little 😋 save some for others if you can 😬
Written by Lucy Bidgood - Lund
(Thank you for the recipe Laura)
If you liked this you may also enjoy our blog on how to make non-churn ice-cream, another delicious sweet treat, click here to read it.
Remember we still have a few spots left on our slow-living retreat at Lake Garda in June. Come and find your fleek by signing up now.
Spaces limited to 10 guests per retreat.
Dates: 20-23rd June 2019. Click here to book.