Let me explain-- I'm attending an event titled, "Battle of the Pies" tomorrow. I've been pretty excited about it for a few weeks now. I love pie. It's not often that pie gets to be the center of attention. Cake certainly does (much to my chagrin as a true "cake hater"). Take a moment to consider: birthday parties, cake walks, t.v shows, etc. Cake shows up everywhere. It's time for pie to have the spotlight!
I started considering what I would take with me a few days ago. My original thought was to attempt a complex recipe for moon pies included in a recent issue of Garden & Gun Magazine. When I mentioned this to my wife, she starred at me over her glasses for a long time trying to decided if I was joking or being serious. I quickly reconsidered and decided I better look for something simpler for my first attempt at baking something from scratch. That's probably not entirely true. . . I've certainly helped assemble pies and assisted with mixing. I know the concepts of a pie. I just haven't ever attempted one of my own from start to finish. . .
Speaking of "Finnish" (does this pun hold up in print?) I woke up this morning and realized that since I'm spending this year discovering everything I can about my ancestry that I should attempt a traditional Finnish pie. There is a BuzzFeed article out there called, 42 Traditional Finnish Foods That You Desperately Need In Your Life, so. . . I started there, and that's when I saw it, # 35 Omenapiirakka -- APPLE PIE!
It struck me like a bolt of salama (that's the Finnish word for "lightening"). A recipe for omenapiirakka has been part of my life since a very young age. I remember a framed burlap bag from Finland that hung in my Mom and Dad's kitchen for many, many years. I immediately called by Dad:
Me: (excitedly) Hi.I'mmakingapieandneedtofindtherecipeforomenapiirakka.Doyouknowwhereitis?
Me: Can you please look in the attic and see if we still have the framed recipe for Finnish apple pie?
Dad: Oh, that! Mom made it once. I didn't like it very much, but other people seemed to. . .
Me: Great! Do you think you can also find the translation.
Dad: I'll see what I can do. . .
I never met my Aunt Eileen. She was born in Fairport Harbor in 1920, eight years after my Grammie was born. She was the youngest of my great grandfather's children and one of the four Ojala children that lived to adulthood. I recently met one of Eileen's grandsons, Eric, on a trip to New York. He had vivid memories of visiting her in Fairport Harbor during the summers and on holidays and of her cooking abilities. I never got the chance to meet her because she died the year I was born, but it occurs to me that making this pie might let me get to know her, or at least her cooking.
1/2 lb of sliced apples (viipaloituja omenoita)
2 eggs (munaa)
5 tbsp of sugar (sokeria)
6 tbsp of wheat (white) flour (vehnajauhoja)
Almost too simple. . . shouldn't there be some other ingredients, or am I just used to recipes and products with 50 + ingredients?
I ask my Finnish friend, Pia on Facebook:
So that's that. I'm pretty proud of myself!
The true test will be tomorrow. I just received an email stating that all of the pies will be put into tasting cups for the "battle". I'm crossing my fingers that Pia is right about not being able to go wrong with eggs, sugar, and flour. . . I have a back-up plan. It involves strapping two cans of whip cream to my belt. I'll just pretend to be, Arvo Ojala, a famous Hollywood gunslinger and quick draw (who I may or may not be related to). If all else fails I'll be ready to quickly dollop out a delicious topping to "enhance the flavor".
However it tastes, I'll lovingly serve up my first homemade pie with my great Aunt Eileen in mind and in heart.
Wish me luck!
Arvo Ojala, most famous for his role as the unnamed man shot in the opening sequences of the long-running television series, Gunsmoke.