Finns are big fans of bread and dough-like treats and we’ve long indulged in bread and pastries in our family. In keeping with tradition, I decided to give a favourite Finnish savoury dish known as Karjalanpiirakka, or Karelian Pies, a shot.
Karjalanpiirakka are traditional pasties from the region of Karelia, but ask any Finn and they will know what they are and most likely love to indulge in them. Karjalanpiirakka are essentially rye crust with a filling of rice porridge. You can also fill them with mashed potato. You can eat them as is with a brush of butter on top or with a creamed butter and egg mix known as munavoi. I remember eating these as a kid and still enjoy them.
This recipe was handed down by my Mum. Makes 24 pieces and is suitable to freeze. As with any homemade pasty or pie these are best eaten fresh out the oven however can be eaten the next day. Simply heat or pop into the toaster for a few seconds and smother with butter.
1 litre milk (I use full fat)
1 ¾ cups water
1 cup short grain rice
Salt to taste
Place milk, water, rice and salt into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Be sure to stir regularly and when it starts to thicken stir continuously so it does not stick to the bottom. It is ready once thickened and all the liquid is absorbed. It will resemble porridge.
1 cup cold water
2 ¼ cups plain flour
1 ½ cups rye flour
1 tsp salt
Mix cold water, salt, rye flour and plain flour into a hard dough. Roll the dough out into a log and cut it into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and press into a flat round cake on a floured board. Using a rolling pin, roll each cake into a paper thin round shape. Use flour sparingly to ensure surface and dough do not stick. Stack up the rolled out circles with a sprinkle of rye flour in between each sheet.
Once the filling has cooled down brush off excess flour and spread about 2 tablespoons of rice porridge in the middle of the dough in an oval shape. Ensure the filling reaches the top and bottom of the circle but leave the sides empty. Start to shape the piirakka by pinching the top end into a point, then with hands on either side of the circle pinch the sides from the top end to the bottom. As you pinch the dough will drag in, pinch the bottom end to a point (like the top).
Place finished piirakat onto a baking tray and bake in the oven at 240oC for approx 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is crispy and lightly browned. After you remove from the oven brush the top with butter while hot, and EAT!
To make the egg topping mix boiled eggs with creamed butter (6 eggs to 1/2 cup butter) and salt, then smother on top.