Finnish Fruit Tart (Rahkapiirakka)

My first and still favorite Finnish pastry, Finland's traditional fruity dessert called rahkapiirakka [RAW-kah-PEE-raw-kah] in Finnish. It starts with a whole-grain press-in crust that's baked with fruit tucked into a sweet sour cream mixture. Blueberries are especially popular in Finland for a mustikka-rahkapiirakka but pick your own favorite because other fresh fruits and berries (even dried fruits) can be just as good. I fell in love with this simple dessert when I lived in Finland as an exchange student many years ago; it tasted just as special when we last visited Finland and my Finnish "sister" served it to end a traditional Finnish meal in her home.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with blueberries, also try golden raisins, cherries, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

A Traditional Finnish Pastry, A Favorite in Homes and Coffeeshops. Made from Scratch and Baked to Serve in Wedges Like a Pie or in Squares Like a Brownie or Rounds Like a Danish. Mixes in One Bowl, No Mixer Required. Keeps Well for a Couple of Days.

Easy Summer Recipes ♥, a seasonal collection of easy-to-remember and memorable recipes especially for summer. Less cookin'. More livin'. It's the summer's motto!
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!

Learning Finnish At Home.

To learn a new language, start with food words, not only familiar but also easy to identify and remember. It's how I learned to speak Finnish, one bite at a time. Here's how it went down.

Different common foods arrayed in a circle, depicting how I learned to speak the Finnish language.

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 äiti (mother) began teaching me food words such as maito (milk), juusto (cheese), voi (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.

Language Translations Can Be a Bit Messy.

But languages don't always translate with precision. Let's take the Finnish name for this simple sweet, rahkapiirakka.

It's a compound word that combines two words, rahka and piirakka.

  • RAHKA The Finnish to English translation for rahka is "quark" – even though Finnish rahka is quite different from quarks from other countries. But there's just no other word that's better. Quark it is.
  • PIIRAKKA The Finnish to English translation for piirakka is "pie" – but in American English, pie nearly always means a traditional thin crust made with shortening and/or butter or maybe crushed graham crackers and filled with an assortment of cream fillings, fruit fillings, nut fillings and so many other options. This Finnish specialty is definitely not a "pie" so, well, tart it is and that works only when it's sliced in wedges even though squares and rounds are equally or even more popular.

Ingredient Translations Can Be Inexact.

In Finland, Rahkapiirakka is traditionally made with rahka (again, often equated with quark but not the same) and puolukka (lingonberries), a decidedly magical combination of tang and tart.

Neither is easily found here in the U.S. so long ago, when I first returned from Finland after living there for a year, I adapted my host family's recipe to use ingredients easily available here at home – sour cream instead of quark and summer fruits like blueberries, sweet and sour cherries, even rhubarb.

Raisins are also delicious and traditional in Finland as well. Encourage me just a bit and I'll concede that rahkapiirakka made with golden raisins just might be my very favorite.

Whatever the fruit, this makes an oh-so-impressive tart, even though it's so easy to make.

So try this simple Finnish sweet on your family. Pretty soon they'll be looking up how to say "thank you" – kiitos!

About This Recipe for Rahkapiirakka.

A Finnish Fruit Tart is a simple dessert with an impressive appearance, unlike anything I've ever seen or made in the States. A thick, soft press-in crust is baked with an almost cheesecake-like filling studded with lingonberries, blueberries, raisins and other fresh and dried fruit.

It takes just 15 minutes to make this pretty tart. The crust and the filling are mixed separately but in one bowl, no special equipment, no mixer, no chilling, no rolling. That means quick and easy clean-up!

A fermented dairy product called rahka is rahkapiirakka's signature ingredient. It's very common in Finland but isn't available in the U.S. and typical substitutes are difficult to find.

So long ago, I put aside authenticity and fully embraced using sour cream instead of rahka. A Finn would instantly detect the difference, anyone else just requests another slice.

This is a time-friendly recipe, it takes only 15 minutes from start to oven, then bakes for about 45 minutes.

This is pantry-friendly and budget-friendly recipe, no hard-to-find ingredients that have you scurrying from one store to the next. Odds are, if you have some fruit, you've already got the rest of the ingredients on hand.

This recipe is for a single cake/tart that will serve about 8 (or more, with less-generous servings) or to fill a square baking pan to cut into 12 or 16 squares.

But I converted the recipe into little mini tarts too, just one or two bites big with a "pop" of fresh blueberry right in the middle, see Mini Blueberry Tarts. So cute!

Mini Blueberry Tarts ♥, miniature cheesecake-like tarts baked in a mini muffin pan with a pop of fresh blueberry, a welcome colorful addition to a tray of mini desserts. The press-in crust is easy, so is the sour cream filling.

More About Rahka & Substitutes

Rahka [pronounced RAW-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. These are similar to Finnish rahka but, well, just different.

The best and easiest rahka substitute is sour cream, I'm quite enamored with the results. My Finnish "sister" Ritva nods at the idea: rahkapiirakka made with sour cream would be "different," she says, but very good.

Still curious? More about quark on Wikipedia.

More About Lingonberries & Substitutes

When I lived in Finland, my favorite fruit for rahkapiirakka was lingonberries. But dang, lingonberries are rare finds here in the U.S.

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 its restaurants.

Lingonberry preserves are found in many food specialty shops. Unfortunately, lingonberry preserves don't work in this recipe, you really want whole berries.

Only twice have I found uncooked, unsweetened lingonberries in the U.S., once in a 25-pound tub, another time frozen. If you come across raw lingonberries, grab some!

There are even growers in Wisconsin and the Pacific Northwest attempting large-scale cultivation. Whole Foods apparently carries frozen lingonberries in some stores, sadly, not in mine.

Good news, though. Lingonberries are not essential, other fruits work beautifully too.

Finns and I are especially fond of blueberries and raisins but fresh apricots, sour cherries and rhubarb are also wonderful. Aim for something with a little acidity or sourness vs something bland like apple or pear.

What's In Your Tart? Maybe Blueberries?

In Finnish, this is a mustikka-rahkapiirakka, Blueberry Finnish Tart. I love the casual look, how the berries just <<< pop >>>!

Wouldn't it look extra-pretty with a few raspberries tucked in too?

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with blueberries, also try golden raisins, cherries, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

But once again, both language and ingredient translations are imprecise.

  • Yes, the Finnish word mustikka is translated by the language translation gods to the English word "blueberry".
  • But Finns actually use a European berry called a "bilberry" which is quite different from the North American "blueberry".


If you're getting the idea that a visit to Finland is the only way to experience an authentic rahkapiirakka, well, I recommend it! Get on a plane, spend a few days in the capital city of Helsinki, then head to the countryside for an exploration of Finnish forests and lakes and seaside. And while the Midnight Sun makes Finland especially remarkable in summer, there's something remarkable winter's short, dark days.

But if travel isn't in the cards, do not despair.

Because a blueberry snacking cake will not disappoint. Promise!

Or Rhubarb?

In Finnish, this is a raparperi-rahkapiirakka, Rhubarb Finnish Tart. Be sure to cut the rhubarb into small bites, especially if serving in clean, pretty pie slices. Rhubarb is wonderful in this dessert, the "sour" contrasts so beautifully with the sour cream filling.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with rhubarb, also try blueberries, golden raisins, cherries and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

Or Sour Cherries?

In Finnish, this would be hapankirsikka-rahkapiirakka, it's got to be one of the prettiest tarts ever, that beautiful red color.

Sour cherries are hard to come by, at least here in St. Louis where I live, but I did find a pretty package in the frozen section at Whole Foods. Keep your eyes peeled!

To my taste, sweet cherries don't work as well, they're just too, well, sweet. That said, I have a lifetime of "sour" imprinted on my palate, so others may love fresh cherries here and they're certainly easy to find, especially in summer.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with sour cherries, also try blueberries, golden raisins, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

Or Raisins? (Maybe My Very Favorite?!)

In Finnish, this would be a rusina-rahkapiirakka (raisins) or specifically a kultainenrusina-rahkapiirakka (golden raisins).

Don't underestimate the power of dried fruit for this tart, especially during cold-weather months when fresh fruit is harder to come by and kallis (pricey, sorry, my decades-old Finnish vocabulary keeps popping into my brain as I write!).

Because dried fruit's sugars are so dense and concentrated, it makes sense to use less dried fruit than fresh fruit or berries, about half works just right to my taste.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with golden raisins, also try blueberries, cherries, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

Which Fruits & Berries Work Best for Rahkapiirakka?

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!

But let's take a look at other fruits and berries might work well, too. Here are a few considerations.

  • Color – A fruit that contrasts color-wise with the creamy color of the filling works especially well. That said, I love the "tone on tone" look of golden raisins vs regular dark raisins.
  • Tartness – Tart and even sour fruits work especially well in this dessert. That said, would peaches work? And mango? I think so!
  • Wetness – Fruit with plenty of juice/moisture work extra well here. That said, I do so love using dried fruit too.
  • Size – Small pieces of fruit are better than larger pieces, especially for ease in cutting. That said, Finns are especially fond of using fresh apricot halves, just one per piece very similar to Fresh Apricot Bars which just happens to be another classic recipe from Finland!

Wow. It's suddenly clear that "anything goes" when selecting fruit for this Finnish classic, whether baked in its pie and/or tart form or cut into squares. I'm even liking the idea of apple, so long as it's cut small since the baking time is so short.

But here are some fruits I haven't yet tried but think might work well. Just be sure to cut up the fruit small, let's call that the size of a small blueberry. Dried fruit, especially should be snipped into small bits.

  • Fresh apricots or dried apricot
  • Fresh blackberries (probably halved or quartered)
  • Fresh or frozen cranberries, maybe? Dried cranberries don't strike me as a good choice.
  • Fresh or dried currants
  • Fresh figs or dried figs
  • Fresh mango
  • Fresh peach
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Fresh plums or dried prunes
  • Fresh or frozen raspberries
  • Strawberries? Probably not unless very small and dense, juicy but not watery.

How to Bake a Finnish Fruit Tart (Rahkapiirakka) Like a Finn

Ask yourself two questions.

#1 ROUND or SQUARE PAN? My Finnish family always baked rahkapiirakka in a shallow round pie dish or quiche pan. But Finnish cafés and bakeries usually bake the pastries in square pans and serve it in large squares.

#2 INDIVIDUAL SERVINGS or ONE LARGE DISH? For individual pastries, Finns usually opt for a pulla dough rather than the crust here in my recipe. (Pulla is the famous Finnish yeast bread scented with cardamon, usually baked in braided loaves but also in dozens of small, artful rope-like shapes.)

But if you use a square or rectangular pan for baking, the press-in crust is very easy, then cut single-serving size squares, very pretty.

But for a half recipe and more "edge" pieces with the crust as a "handle", I'd try a pan like this highly rated hemmabak loaf pan from IKEA. I have one from Nordicware that's no longer available but boy, I sure do love it, it's like an elongated loaf pan, holds the same amount of batter as single-loaf quick breads like pumpkin bread and zucchini bread. It has about half the surface area of a 8x8 or 9x9 though, you'll need to cut the recipe in half or bake in two batches. Or buy a second pan!

FEEL FREE TO EXPERIMENT! My recipe is extremely forgiving, remember that I adapted it to Mini Blueberry Tarts just like that.

PS Looking for visuals? Enter "rahkapiirakka" in your search engine, then select "images" to show only photos of various rahkapiirakka looks and presentation styles.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with blueberries, also try golden raisins, cherries, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

How to Eat a Finnish Fruit Tart (Rahkapiirakka) Like a Finn

With relish, savoring each and every bite! LOL but really, do enjoy!

MAKE IT SOCIAL Sit down with a friend or two in a café or at home, sharing conversation, a cup of coffee and a piece of rahkapiirakka.

Seriously, Finland has a serious coffee culture, a social activity vs sitting alone at home. Finns drink more coffee than any other nationality!

Perhaps it's because coffee is the choice throughout the day, in the morning yes, but also in the afternoon and in the evening.

During the holidays, in the afternoon or evening, hot red mulled wine becomes popular.

MAKE IT A SPECIAL Finland is also home to a charming social tradition, what's called a kahvipöytä. Those words translate to "coffee table" but isn't so much about the table itself but instead a carefully curated spread of small, sweet pastries and coffee, including small coffee cups, saucers and napkins with bold patterns from Marimekko and Iittala, two of Finland's famous design houses.

For birthdays and other celebrations with family and friends, the kahvipöytä goes big and becomes a buffet with both savory and sweet offerings.

In Finland, the kahvipöytä tradition is so important that when the "godmother" of Finnish recipes in the U.S. wrote her first cookbook, an entire chapter was devoted to special recipes.

Curious? Look for The Finnish Cookbook (affiliate link) by Beatrice Ojakangas. That's the original edition, the cookbook my Finnish mother gifted to my own mother the year I was an exchange student in Finland. It is a faithful representation of authentic Finnish cuisine, adapted for American ingredients and measurements. There's also a newer edition of The Finnish Cookbook.

Pie or Tart vs Individual Squares

You can see just from my photos that I go back and forth, some times baking rahkapiirakka in a round pie/tart/cake shape and other times in a square pan.

Which one works better? Well, it depends.

For More Formal, Structured Occasions Whenever I'm serving this as an official "dessert" after a meal, pie slices/wedges seem more appropriate.

For a More Casual Snacking Cake This is the choice more often, nowadays. I love the rustic appearance, how it's easy to cut small squares over the course of a few days.

So the choice, of course, is yours. Do what works for you!

How to Make a Finnish Fruit or Berry Tart

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in just three easy steps. You can definitely do this!

  • MIX THE CRUST Use a large bowl and mix with a fork, just egg, sugar, butter, half white flour and half whole-wheat or rye flour and a little baking powder. Yep, that's it. Then just press the crust dough into the baking pan you've selected, up the sides by a generous inch first, then then bottom.
  • MIX THE FILLING & FRUIT Use the same bowl, the same fork and just whisk together an egg, sugar, sour cream and a little vanilla. Then stir in some fresh fruit or berries, or dried fruit.
  • BAKE! It takes less than 30 minutes for the tart to bake and while it may be eaten warm, usually it's best to eat once the dish has cooled down and even been chilled.

Bookmark! PIN! Share!

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe traditional Finnish pastry inspires you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with blueberries, also try golden raisins, cherries, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.

Finnish Fruit Tart (RahkaPiirakka) ♥, here with golden raisins, also try blueberries, cherries, rhubarb and more. One Bowl. Press-in Crust. Super Easy.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to finish: 1 hour
Time to table: 2 - 4 hours, preferably
8 generous servings in a pie or tart
12 or 16 squares in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g) salted butter, very soft or melted
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 95g
  • 3/4 cup rye (my favorite) or whole wheat flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 95g
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (full-fat or low-fat sour cream work well, do avoid non-fat sour cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
  • Zest of a lemon or lime, optional
  • 2 cups fresh fruit (sweet cherries, sour cherries, blueberries, rhubarb, mangoes, say, cut into small bites if needed) or 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins or snips of apricot, say

Heat oven to 400F/200C.

Spray a round cake pan, pie tin or tart pan with baking spray ~or ~ spray an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with baking spray and if you like, form a "parchment sling" that makes it quite easy to lift the entire thing from the pan. To create a parchment sling, cut a rectangular piece of parchment as wide as the pan and long enough to line the bottom and overhang the lip on opposite sides. With your hands, press the parchment along the bottom and up the sides, the first spray will keep it in place. Give the parchment another spray and then clip the parchment with binder clips to the parchment will stay in place without flopping over.

CRUST In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the egg with a large fork, then whisk in the sugar, further breaking up the egg. Work in the butter until no signs of butter are visible, then the flour and baking powder, forming a thick, pliable dough.

Press the dough into the prepared pan, first working it evenly up the sides by a generous inch, then across the bottom.

FILLING In the same bowl (no need to wash it!), use the same large fork to whisk the egg, then the egg and sugar together. Whisk in the sour cream, vanilla sugar or vanilla until completely mixed. Fold in the fruit, stirring just enough to distribute. Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly.

BAKE for 25 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (IMPORTANT The time seems to vary a lot depending on pans, start checking at about 20 minutes.) Cool and serve.

TIMING Baked as a pie, this tastes best on the first day but holds its shape and taste for two or three days. Bakes in squares, the texture changes a bit as the filling softens the soft crust and the flavors meld: Day Two is my favorite! 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 – together 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 do know it will be soft and won't hold the shape of a crisp slice or square.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice (assumes 8, cut in half if recipe is cut in 16 squares): 354 Cal; 19g Tot Fat; 11g Sat Fat; 43g Carb; 3g Fiber; 83mg Sodium; 97mg Cholesterol; g Sugars; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 8 & PointsPlus 10 & SmartPoints 16 & Freestyle 15 & myWW green 15 & blue 15 & purple 15 & future WW points. To reduce some calories, cut thinner slices or substitute low-fat sour cream (which saves about 20 calories per piece) or for further Weight Watchers friendliness, try non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

The Sweet Side of My Finnish Recipes

~ Finnish recipes ~
A collection of Finnish recipes ♥
Finnish Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake ♥, layers of sponge cake, fluffy whipped cream and strawberries, a real celebration cake.

Finnish Tiger Cake ♥, a mini chocolate marble pound cake with stripes just like a tiger, easy to double for a large family or a party.

Finnish Glögi, Red Mulled Wine ♥, served hot in Nordic countries during winter.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ sour cream ~
~ blueberries ~
~ raisin recipes ~
~ cherries ~
~ rhubarb ~
~ mangoes ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

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, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. 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, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2003 (print), 2009 (online), 2014 (repub), 2015, 2019 & 2023 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. 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.

  2. 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 -

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Easy and delicious! I used blueberries. Will definitely make again.


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