Beatrice Ojakangas

Recipes from the Scandinavian Chef

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Location: Duluth, Minnesota, United States


Bumbleberry Pie

Bumbleberry Pie
Fruit pies are American comfort food. Summertime is when the abundance of berries and fruits call for the pie baker to get busy! With the rainbow of fruits and berries before us there is no lack of combinations to try.
If you opt to skip baking a pie only because the crust is a challenge, here is a simple recipe for a “press-in" pastry shell. It hardly takes more time and effort than pressing a commercial refrigerated pastry shell into a pie pan. What's lost in flakiness is gained in flavor (not to mention the comfort of knowing what's IN the crust itself!)
When you bake this type of crust, it doesn't shrink or change shape when you need a pre-baked pie shell. For a double-crust pie, I just press half the crumbs into the pie pan, and pour in the filling and top the filling with the remainder of the crumbly mixture.
A while ago I received a request for "Bunbleberry Pie". I had never heard of such a thing, but after some research discovered that this is a category of pie which mixes fruits and different kinds of berries. I've tested the recipe with a variety of fruit and berry combinations, including blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, with or without rhubarb, with or without apples all with delicious results. Just be sure to have a total of 5 cups of fruit.
The idea of bumbleberries fascinated our grandkids so much that they asked for bumbleberries and cream for breakfast almost every morning. We just combined different berries in a bowl and they were perfectly satisfied! Now I’m thinking – maybe a bumbleberry coffeecake or a bumbleberry cheesecake would be fun. But, here’s the pie for starters.


Pastry for a double crust pie, either your own recipe or Press-In-Pastry (recipe follows)

1 1/3 cups white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 small cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blackberries or blueberries

1 cup rhubarb, cut into 1 inch lengths

Water and about 1 tablespoon additional sugar for top of the pie

Preheat the oven to 425*F. Roll or press pastry into a 9 inch pie plate. Stir sugar and flour together in large bowl. Add apples, raspberries, blackberries, and rhubarb. Toss together, and turn into pie shell. Cover with top pastry (either crumb pastry as described in the Press-In Pastry recipe, or with your own rolled-out pastry). Seal the edges. If you use a rolled-out top crust, slash vents onto the top crust, if using crumb pastry, this is not necessary. Bake for 45 minutes, or until browned and filling bubbles. Makes one 9-inch pie, about 8 servings.


1 recipe Press-in Pastry

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 cups blueberries

1/2 cup fresh gooseberries or raspberries

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 425*F. Prepare the filling and press half of the crumbly pastry evenly into a 9-inch pie pan. Combine the berries, almond extract sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl; toss to mix well. Turn into the unbaked crust. Sprinkle with the remaining pastry crumbles, or press the remaining crumbs together to make a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and using a cookie cutter, cut into leaf, flower or other shapes and arrang on top of the fruit filling. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling in the center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool until barely warm or to room temperature before serving.


2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, or 3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 whole egg

Mix flour and sugar together. Cut in the butter (you can do this in the food processor) until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg until well blended. Press half of the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan, pushing it firmly to make an even layer. For a pre-baked pastry shell, preheat the oven to 300*F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned. Cool completely before filling.
For a double-crusted, filled pie, pour filling into the unbaked crust. Sprinkle the second half of the pastry mixture over the top. Bake as directed for a double crust pie.

It's the Year of the Casserole

The Year of the Casserole

Yes, it is! True, the glamour factor isn’t there, but I have read this headline more than once this year: “Casseroles make a comeback as easy, quick meals for the cash-strapped.” At least in our neck of the woods, exotic ingredients like truffles, fois gras, chestnut jam, wakami and the like, much as we’d like to use them, just don’t fit into the budget. It's almost a year now since my casserole cookbook's pub date, and I've had wonderful response to it.
Published by Chronicle, The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever includes 500 comfort-worthy recipes, and each one is made with ingredients you can find in Duluth. In fact, I have tried to go beyond that. The first chapter “Basics” includes recipes for sauces that can take the place of the “cream of – “ series. Of course, I have to acknowledge that cream soup manufacturers and their creative recipe development departments should be honored for bringing casseroles to the forefront of family acceptance and they did that shortly after WWII.
If you are curious about what the original cream of mushroom soup tastes like, start by making your own beef broth (page 26). It’s not as tough as you think, as you simply simmer beef bones (they can be leftovers from a pot roast), with onion, carrots, and celery, and add salt, pepper, garlic, if you like, and herbs. Then go ahead and make the Basic Mushroom Sauce (page 22), which is what you’d use in place of the cream of mushroom soup in any favorite casserole. But, thin it with a little more of the broth and then enjoy the best tasting mushroom soup ever.
Even though we think of casseroles as wintertime comfort food, there are plenty of ideas for summer, too. June, July and August are the times when we are likely to have overnight guests, and to think of how to serve good and simple breakfasts can be a challenge. So, I thought “How about breakfast casseroles?” The beauty of breakfast casseroles is that they can be assembled the night before and popped into the oven in the morning. Here are two from my book that feature fresh blueberries that come into the market about now (or that we will soon be picking in the wild.)

Fresh Blueberry-stuffed French Toast Casserole
Assemble this simple casserole 12 to 24 hours ahead, or just before baking. For other flavors check the variations below.
Serves 4
4 large slices sourdough bread, crust removed and cubed
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
2 cups fresh blueberries
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Arrange half the bread cubes in an 8-inch square baking dish. Distribute the cream cheese cubes evenly over the top of the bread. Distribute the blueberries over the top.
2. Top with the remaining bread cubes.
3. Beat eggs, milk and cinnamon together and pour over. Bake for 35 minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Blueberry Maple French Toast
You definitely need to use fresh blueberries with this one! I made it with frozen blueberries and in baking, the blueberry juice turned the French bread and custard a sickly shade of purple.
Serves 8
1 large (1 pound) loaf of French bread, crust removed
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and spread half in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and sprinkle over the bread. Sprinkle blueberries over evenly and top with second half of bread cubes.
2. Mix the eggs, milk and maple syrup and pour over the bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then uncover and bake 30 minutes longer until set. Slice and serve warm with warm blueberry sauce.
Blueberry Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
1cup blueberries
1. Combine sugar, water, cornstarch and butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium heat and boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
2. Stir in blueberries, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes until blueberries burst.

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The Best Lefse Recipe Ever

This recipe makes a large amount of lefse - about 100 rounds. If you like you can easily cut the recipe in half or even in quarters. Just a couple of things I would like to emphasize. 1) That you refrigerate the mashed potato mixture UNCOVERED overnight or at least 8 hours until it is really cold. 2)That you do NOT add flour until just before you're ready to start rolling out the lefse. If it stands too long, either at room temperature or in the fridge, it will water down and you'll have a mess on your hands. However, this makes delicious lefse.
Oh, I know - many people have their own favorite recipe, but this one works!
I will be teaching lefse lessons at First Lutheran Church in Duluth, Minnesota in November. This is to be able to make enough lefse to serve some 1200 guests at our annual Lutefisk, Salmon and Meatball dinner, which is always held on the first Wednesday in December (Hours go from noon to seven P.M. - we're not really sure of the price, yet, for his year as it depends on the costs incurred.)
10 pounds Russet/Burbank or Russet potatoes (very important that they are Russets!)
1 pound butter (not margarine)
1 pint (2 cups) whipping cream
1 and 1/2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
Flour (added later)
Utensils you will need:
Lefse grill
Lefse sticks
Rolling pin and sock
Pastry cloth covered board
Potato ricer
Potato masher
Ice Cream Scoop that measures about 1/3 cup
Large piece of plastic, like a garbage bag split open
Terry Towels
Ziplock bags for storing the finished product

Peel, boil (just until done, don’t let the potatoes get mushy), drain, rice, and mash the potatoes.

Mash in the butter, whipping cream, salt and sugar until no lumps remain. Turn into a large bowl, smooth the top and cool, UNCOVERED, in the refrigerator overnight.
Next day, preheat the grill to 480 to 500*F. (You don't grease it, it must be dry.)
Place a large plastic bag on the counter and lay a terry towel on top – you will stack the cooked lefse on one end and fold the towel and plastic over. The towel absorbs moisture, the plastic keeps it just moist enough.
Rub the rolling surface with flour. Rub flour into the sock-covered rolling pin.
Cut cold mashed potato mixture into quarters. Remove one quarter into a bowl and put the rest back into the fridge.
Working with one quarter at a time, mix in 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
Using your hands, mix the flour into the potato until well blended. Once you add flour to the potatoes, you are committed to that batch of dough – if you let it stand too long it will get soft and sticky. (You can keep the remaining 3 quarters in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 24 to 48 hours.)
With an ice cream scoop, scoop out balls about the size of a golf ball and form quickly into a ball. Dust the ball with flour and flatten it out.
Place onto the floured, cloth-covered, pastry board and with a floured sock-covered rolling pin, roll the dough out evenly into a large circle. Don't hesitate to use plenty of flour at first. Wet spots can become a problem. (If you do get a wet spot, rub flour onto it and with the straight edge of a plastic dough cutter, scrape carefully to remove as much of the wet spot as possible.)
Using a lefse stick, transfer the round onto the heated grill. The lefse will begin to bubble. Peek at the grilled side – you’re looking for nice, light brown spots. Slide the stick under it and carefully flip it over.
If edges of the lefse begin to get dry, brown and curl, you are grilling them too long. If it is not browning well, but remains light, your grill temperature is to low.
Stack the cooked rounds one on top of the other and cover with the towel and plastic. You’ll need a towel and plastic for each quarter of the dough. Cool 4 to 5 hours, then carefully, fold each lefse into quarters and place into ziplock bags (I usually put a dozen in a bag). Refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze. Makes about 100 lefse

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