Karelian pasties

These savory pastries are one of the basics of Finnish cuisine. Originally from the Karelia region between Finland and Russia, they are now found in every bakery, pastry shop and supermarket in the country. The ingredients are very simple: rye flour, rice, milk and salt, but it takes some effort to achieve a perfect result. Traditionally, the art of making them was passed from one generation to the next, but today we’ll deliver you the secrets of these delights online.

200 ml  water
about 300 g rye flour
1 tsp salt
+ rye flour for rolling

Rice porridge
500 ml  water
3 dl  round rice
1 l  milk
2 tsp salt

200 ml water
50 g  salted butter

  1. Prepare the porridge: Boil the water and rice for a few minutes, then add the milk and bring to the boil again. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and let simmer stirring occasionally until the rice is thoroughly cooked. Add some butter and let cool awhile.
  2. Prepare the dough: Knead together the water, the rye flour and the salt adding flour or water if necessary. The dough should not stick to your hands, but must remain malleable. Cover the dough with a plastic film or put it in a freezer bag to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Prepare the crusts: You have two options for accomplishing this step. If you have a pasta machine, using it is surely the easiest way for getting the best results (see A below for this choice). If you’re looking for authenticity, a rolling pin will be your favorite tool (see B). In both cases, divide the dough into pieces of about 15 to 20 g and keep them under a damp cloth or plastic bag before starting. You should have some additional rye flour within reach to prevent the paste from sticking to the tools.
    A) Take a piece of dough and pass it trough the rolling mill of the pasta machine. Begin by turning the rollers to their widest setting and roll the dough between them. Repeat the operation two or three times folding the dough each time. Narrow the rollers by changing the machine setting notch by notch, sprinkling the dough with flour each time. Cut the dough in circles of desired size, stack them putting some flour between and cover with a cloth or plastic.
    B) Dust the worktop with flour, take a piece of dough and roll it very thinly into a round shape. Overlay the circles putting flour between them, then cover with a cloth or plastic.
  4. Fill the crusts: Place the circles of dough side by side on the working surface. Take a tablespoon of porridge, place it on the circle and spread leaving about a centimeter of empty space on the outline. With one hand on each side, fold the edges over the rice to form an oval shape. Press the edges with your fingers.
  5. Cooking: Bake the pasties in a very hot oven (about 250 ° C) for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top starts to brown and the bottom can be easily detached from the baking tray. Dip the pasties in a mix of hot water and salted butter or spread melted butter over them. Bite in as soon as possible – they are at their best straight from the oven.

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