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KARJALANPIIRAKKA (RICE PIES)

Google Finnish cuisine and you’ll be inundated with recipes for karjalanpiirakkas.  Yes they do look a little bit like lady bits, but who cares, they’re certainly not the first pastry out there to look a tad suspicious, and it’s what they taste like that counts right?  Whilst it was an obvious choice to whip up a batch of these for our Finnish night, I don’t care about being predictable I care about finding dishes to add to our approved list. 

These strike me as comfort food, the Finnish equivalent of Welsh rarebit, albeit slightly more time consuming to prepare.  I have to be honest, I would have preferred a filling which packed a bit more of a punch, say sweet potato and beetroot mashed up with butter and horseradish and served with a big old gherkin a couple of boiled eggs and some thick chunks of salted ham to keep carnivorous Cosmin happy.  That said, they were perfectly pleasant.

The pastry dries out very quickly, so if you give these a go be sure to cover it when not in use.  You need to roll it out as thin as you can for the best results which makes it very fragile to handle but with a bit of patience you will get there.  As an aside don’t be tempted to run it through a pasta machine, rye flour is not as strong as pasta grade flour, take it from somebody who found out the hard way you’ll wind up with dough stuck in the machine’s guts which is a bugger to clean out.

 Karjalanpiirakka are traditionally served with munavoi.

Makes Dulcie's List  

ingredients

 Filling
  • 250ml water (0.4 pints / 1 cup)
  • 125g short grain rice, i.e. Arborio (4.4oz / 0.6 cups)
  • 500ml milk (0.9 pints / 2 cups)
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp butter
Dough
  • 675g rye flour (24 oz / 6.75 cups)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 450 ml cold water (0.8 pints / 1.9 cups)
 To Cook
  • 3 tbsps melted butter

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION

  • Calories | 80
  • Fat | 1.9g

Serves | Approximately 35 pastries

Prep Time | 45 minutes

Cooking Time | 2 hours

Method

  1. To prepare the filling boil the water, add the rice and butter and simmer until the water has absorbed. Add the milk and simmer for 30-35 minutes, add the salt then leave to cook completely.
  2. Place the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the cold water and salt. Stir from the inside out, gradually incorporating the water mix into the flour.  Knead until you have a smooth dough.  Depending on your chosen rye flour and the temperature you may need to add additional flour or liquid to achieve the desired consistency.  Place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  3. When preparing the pastries, be sure to keep the dough covered as it dries out very quickly.
  4. Take a heaped teaspoon of dough and roll out into a disc on a floured surface as thin as you can get it.
  5. Put two heaped tablespoons of filling across the diametre of each disc, fold the two opposite sides into the centre crimping the edges of pastry as you go and leaving a strip of filling exposed.
  6. Paint the pastry with melted butter and bake the pies at 250°c/480°f for 10 minutes until golden

Based on a recipe found at www.snellman.fi

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