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The pasties described below (also known as pirogues) come from the province of Karelia, which is now divided in half by the Finnish-Russian border. The Karelian evacuees took their recipes with them and now these pasties are eaten all over Finland. They are a very traditional food, and these recipes offer only one of many methods of preparing them.
Karelian Rice Pasty
This is the most common version of the Karelian pasty.
- 200ml Water
- 150ml Pudding rice
- 500ml Milk
- 1tsp salt
- 200ml Cold water
- 1.5tsp Salt
- 350ml Rye flour
- 150ml Plain flour
- 100ml Milk
- 50g Butter
Making the Filling
This should be made beforehand, since it takes a while for it to cool down. On the other hand, if your local store sells ready-made, unsweetened rice porridge (or boiled pudding, as some would call it), you can use that and save a couple of hours.
Bring the water to a boil, pour in the rice and stir.
Cook until all the water has been absorbed by the rice.
Add milk and keep stirring until it boils.
Lower the heat and let the porridge simmer, remembering to stir occasionally, so you don't burn the milk, until the rice is done.
The porridge should be quite thick after about 45 minutes. Mix in the salt and let the porridge cool down.
Making the Crust
Mix all the ingredients. For best results, don't use a machine - the dough is done when it no longer sticks to your hands (you may need to adjust the amount of plain flour).
Divide the dough into about 15 parts, roll them into small buns and flatten them a bit. Cover with clingfilm so that it doesn't dry up.
Assembling the Pasties
Preheat the oven to 300°C, or as hot as it will go.
Use a rolling pin and roll the buns into thin, round discs, 15-17 cm in diameter.
Place two tablespoons of rice porridge on each disc.
Turn the edges over the porridge and 'wrinkle' them with your fingers.
Bake the pasties on a baking tray (you may want to use non-stick paper on the tray) for 15 to 20 minutes. The porridge is supposed to acquire a bit of colour, but don't let the crust burn.
While the pasties are in the oven, heat the milk and butter together. As soon as they're out of the oven, brush them on both sides with the milk/butter mixture.
Stack the pasties and let them cool down under a sheet of non-stick paper and a kitchen-towel.
Serving the Finished Pasties
As an accompaniment, you can mix some butter with one or two hard-boiled, chopped eggs, and serve it with the hot Karelian pasties.
You can make a lingonberry pasty, or Rönttönen using the same crust as for rice pasties, but substitute the following for the filling:
- 300g Boiled potatoes
- 75ml Rye flour
- 100ml Mashed lingonberries
- 2tsp Sugar
- A Pinch of salt
- Mash the potatoes and mix everything together.
- Leave the mixture in a warm place for a few hours to let it sweeten, and then make the pasties just like you would do with rice filling.
Blueberry pasties, or Mustikkakukko, can also be made using the same crust used for the rice pasties. Fill with the following:Ingredients
- 500ml Blueberries
- 50ml Wheat flour
- Sugar, according to taste
- This time, simply mash the blueberries and add enough flour to absorb the excess fluid. Make the pasties as above, and enjoy. Warm blueberry pasties aren't too bad with vanilla ice-cream.
Replace the porridge with mashed potato for a tasty potato pasty.
So there you go, some lovely Karelian pasty recipes to try. They're not that difficult to make, so give them a go!