Finnish Fruit Tart (Rahkapiirakka)

The Recipe: My first and very favorite fruit tart recipe, Finland's traditional fruit or berry tart, called "rahkapiirakka" [RAH-ka-PEE-rah-ka] in Finnish. It was my very favorite dessert when I lived in Finland as an exchange student many years ago and was such a treat again just last month when we visited Finland and my Finnish "sister" served it to end a traditional Finnish meal in her home.

With a press-in whole-wheat crust and a sour cream and fruit filling, a Finnish Fruit Tart is ever so easy to make but yet looks really impressive. It's my "go to" fruit tart recipe for blueberries, sweet cherries, sour cherries, rhubarb and even raisins. It takes just 15 minutes to make in a single bowl, no mixer required!

The Conversation: To learn a new language, start with food words, easy to identify and remember. It's how I learned to speak Finnish, one bite at a time.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) with sour cherries, also try rhubarb, raisins, blueberries. One bowl, press-in crust, super easy.

Easy Summer Recipes
This recipe is so quick and easy
that I'm adding it to a special collection of easy summer recipes
published every summer since 2009.
Watch for new 'summer easy' recipes all summer long.
With a free e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

Conventional wisdom says that the Finnish language is virtually impossible for non-natives to learn. But when I was a Rotary exchange student in Finland – yikes, decades ago now even if it still feels almost-like-yesterday – I worked hard to learn to speak Finnish.

The kitchen was an easy place to start lessons at home. The very first afternoon, my host “mother” began teaching me food words such as maito (milk), juusto (cheese), voita (butter), leipä (bread), kala (fish) and more.

Later, she served a traditional Finnish lunch, a whole steamed salmon with fresh dill sauce, Finland's deservedly famous boiled Finnish potatoes, chewy rye bread with butter and cheese – and for dessert, rahkapiirakka, this delicious fruit or berry tart.

In Finland, this tart is traditionally made with rahka (quark) and puolukka (lingonberries), a decidedly magical combination of tang and tart. Neither is easily found here in the U.S., so I adapted the recipe to available ingredients – sour cream instead of quark and summer fruits like blueberries, sweet and sour cherries, even rhubarb. Raisins are delicious too (and traditional in Finland as well) though considerably higher in calories. Whatever the fruit, this makes an oh-so-impressive tart, even though it's so easy to make.

So try this simple tart on your family. They’ll be sure to say “kiitos” – that means, thank you!

MORE ABOUT RAHKA & SUBSTITUTES Rahka [pronounced RAH-ka, roll the 'r' if you can! take a little 'breath' on the 'h' for extra credit!] is tangy like sour cream but thicker, a little grainy like ricotta, definitely not the creamy curds of cottage cheese. In the U.S., look for a dairy product called "quark" or "farmer cheese". For my fellow St. Louisans, I find both at Global Foods in Kirkwood though I prefer the slightly more grainy and less expensive Lifeway Farmer Cheese to the smoother, more sour and pricier Vermont Creamery Quark. Still curious? More about quark on Wikipedia.

The easiest rahka substitute, however, one I'm quite enamored with in this tart, is sour cream. My Finnish "sister" Ritva nods at the idea: rahkapiirakka made with sour cream would be "different," she says, but still good.

MORE ABOUT LINGONBERRIES & SUBSTITUTES Lingonberries are the tiny, tart, crimson berries native to the northern-most regions of Scandinavia where the summer sun shines overnight. The Swedish retailer IKEA has made lingonberries famous, selling Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce at their restaurants. Lingonberry preserves are found in many food specialty shops, there are even growers in Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest attempting large-scale cultivation. On two occasions, I have found unsweetened lingonberries in the U.S., once in a large tub, another time frozen. But other fruits work beautifully too. I'm especially fond of blueberries, sour cherries, rhubarb and raisins.

FINNISH FRUIT or BERRY TART
RAHKAPIIRAKKA

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to finish: 1 hour
Time to table: 2 - 4 hours, preferably
8 generous servings
    CRUST
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter, softened or melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 95g
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, fluffed to aerate or 95g
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    FILLING
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups fruit, fresh or frozen, such as sweet cherries, sour cherries, blueberries, rhubarb, mangoes and raisins

Heat oven to 400F.

CRUST Mix crust ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl with your hands or a wooden spoon. Press into a cake pan, pie tin or tart dish.

FILLING In the same bowl, stir together sour cream, sugar, egg and vanilla sugar (or vanilla) until completely mixed. Fold in fruit, stirring just enough to distribute. Pour into crust and spread evenly.

Bake 30 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and serve. Best on the first day but holds its shape and taste for two or three days. You'll want to refrigerate any leftovers.

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Make the tart several hours before serving. My preference is to let the baked tart cool at room temperature, then to refrigerate it until it's well-chilled, that takes two to three hours. That said, it may be served "straight from the oven" (the raisin version is especially good that way) but will be soft and won't hold the shape of a crisp slice.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Slice: 354 Cal; 19g Tot Fat; 11g Sat Fat; 43g Carb; 3g Fiber; 83mg Sodium; 97mg Cholesterol; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 8 & WW Points Plus 10. To reduce some calories, cut thinner slices or substitute low-fat sour cream.
This long-, long-time favorite recipe was first published in print in 2003. It was published online for the first time in 2009. The column and recipe were updated and republished in 2014.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

What Fruit Would You Use? Rhubarb?


Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) with rhubarb, also try sour cherries, raisins, blueberries. One bowl, press-in crust, super easy.

Or Blueberry?


Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) with blueberries, also try sour cherries, raisins, rhubarb. One bowl, press-in crust, super easy.

More Fruit Pies and Tarts for Summer

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
First-Prize Peach Pie with Lattice Crust Rhubarb Custard Pie Easy Elegant Fruit Tart

More Easy Fruity Desserts for Summer

Peach Un-cobbler Homemade Frozen Yogurt with Blackberry Sauce Mojito Strawberries


More Finnish Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Homemade Finnish Mustard Caraway Cabbage Finnish Meatballs
Finn Crisp with Marmalade & Cheese Finnish Summer Soup Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup)

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





© Copyright 2003 & 2014 Kitchen Parade





Doggone it! Now I have to go out and buy a bag of whole wheat flour and keep it in the fridge. But who knows, maybe with this tart, I will be making it so much, it won't need to be refrigerated for keeping.
This sounds absolutely delicious and THANK YOU for the wonderful recipe.

I love lingonberries. I don't remember if you included them, but bet cranberries with golden raisins would be good also or even just plain cranberries. I love cranberry anything. I have a Weight Watcher's Cranberry Scone recipe that is just out of this world.
Thanks,
 
Ms Cait - The only thing better than hitting people with recipes calling for ingredients already on hand is to hit people with recipes so appealing they'll go out to buy something special! Enjoy this one -
 
That sounds easy enough for me to try! Two questions though, could you use lowfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt? Also, would you want to stick to one type of fruit or could you mix?
 
Jennifer ~ Isn't it easy? You'll be amazed, I think! Your questions are good ones.

re low-fat or non-fat sour cream, I'm a fan of low-fat sour cream but find non-fat sour cream just too gloppy and chemical-testing. So if it were me, I'd go for the low-fat.

re mix and match, I've never thought of that! I'm a 'black dress' kind of cook so like the one-fruit tart. But your question is inspriing, what about blueberries with mango? or blackberries with raspberries? Yum.
 
Oh, I wish I had been better at following my WW lately so I wouldn't feel super guilty about making desert. I will mark the recipe for later in the summer when I am not feeling so guilty and maybe I can figure out the points for low fat four cream.
 

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna