1 November 2008

Karelian Pasties

The first time I had these things was in 1998, when I spent a couple of weeks in Helsinki. One evening we went to Zetor, owned by the Leningrad Cowboys. The whole concept is of a barn with bales of hay and various agricultural equipment. The food is Finnish food at its best.

I think these definitely qualify as comfort food. This was my first attempt, so some fine tuning is in order, but overall, I think they worked out quite well.


2 dl pudding rice
4 dl water
8 dl milk
1 tsp salt

6 dl rye flour
1.5 tsp salt
2.5 dl water

1 dl milk
1 tbsp butter

3 hard boiled eggs
150 g soft butter

  1. Mix rice, water, milk and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then cover and let simmer for around 50 minutes. After that leave to cool. To speed things up, fill the sink with cold water and place the saucepan in there and stir.
  2. Pre-heat the oven at gas mark 7 or 225 degrees C.
  3. Mix the flour and salt, then add the water and stir into a dough. It will be sticky when it first comes together, but this goes away after a couple of minutes of kneading.
  4. Shape the dough into a roll and cut into 15-16 pieces. Sprinkle some rye flour on the work surface and roll out each piece into a round of about 15 cm diameter. Lay one on top of the other with a bit of flour in between.
  5. Put a spoon of the rice filling in the middle of a round, then fold two opposite sides of the dough over it. After that fold the rest and press in lightly, leaving the middle of the filling exposed.
  6. Sprinkle flour on the baking sheets and bake high in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until some colour appears on the pasties.
  7. In the mean time, melt the butter and mix with the milk.
  8. Take out the pasties and brush with the milk-butter mixture, then place a pasty over another and place between tea towels to cool.
  9. Peel and chop the hard boiled eggs finely, then mix well with the soft butter.
  10. Serve the pasties warm with a bit of the egg butter on top.

The original recipe called for 2 tsp salt for the dough, but it ended up a bit salty. Also I should have rolled out all the dough rounds, then layed them out and evenly distributed the rice filling. Today, I did a few at a time and ran out of filling for the last ones.

These are the original Karelian pasties, there are versions with potatoes and I suspect any scrumbled mixture would do the trick. They are also surprisingly filling, the pasties were slightly smaller than my hand and I could only eat one, Lundulph just about managed two. We've saved some for breakfast tomorrow, the rest I've put in the fridge.

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