The perfect arranged marriage of three ingredients rye flour, rice and milk makes very traditional pastry from Eastern-Finland called Karelian Pasty or Karjalanpiirakka in Finnish. I am certain Asians and Arabians will approve the marriage as well. Keep on reading… Surely I always find the link of my culture to the culture of Emirians or any other culture we can experience here in Dubai. The taste of these crumpy looking little Finn pasties is like freshly baked crepes yet so different of any other pastry you can get here in Dubai. And hey I made these first time in my life thanks to my sister in law Tuula, who shared top tips to succeed. Tuula is from Nothern Karelia, eastern part of Finland, from the land of Karjalanpiirakka. She is our family chef for Karelian pasties, and that title is difficult to take from her. She has made thousands of these little savoury buttery rice pies.
Karelian Pasty – Karjalanpiirakka Recipe
Makes ax 30 small pies
200 g rye flour
60 g wheat flour
200 ml cold water
1 ts salt
1 tbs sunflower or other cooking oil
Mix all ingredients together to make dough and leave it rest for a while. Dough can be frozen for later use and it lasts well in fridge few days.
200 g Egyptian rice (or any sticky rice like Calrose), for EMIRATI version use Harees
1 litre milk, for EMIRATI version use Camel milk
1 ts salt
1 tbs oil
Melted butter for brushing ready baked pasties
Cook rice (or harees or barley if you use) together with milk to texture and consistency of porridge. In heavy bottom pot combine milk, oil and salt bring to boil and add rice (harees or barley). Stir constantly to prevent sticking and burning. Continue cooking and stirring at low heat for 30-45 minutes or until rice (harees or barley) is done.
Now assemble the Karelian (Emirian) pasties like this:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 250-300°C.
2. Roll rye pasty crust dough into 4 equal size, 10 cm long rolls.
3. Cut ax 1,5 cm button like pieces dip each in flour (half rye and half wheat).
4. With rolling pin roll each piece into a thin oval.
I used pasta machine to make thin crusts. First use your fingers to flatten the dough button, then pass it through the machine to make it thinner, the knob on the machine on mark 3.
Repeat once again dusting the dough with flour if needed on both sides before passing it through the machine, the knob on the machine on mark 7.
5. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rice (harees or barley) porridge on the middle of each pasty crust.
6. Pull the sides of the pastries up and crimp them up to close the sides around the filling (watch one minute how to video clip).
7. Bake the pastries on parchment lined baking sheet in the very hot oven for 10 minutes. Until slightly golden brownish.
8. Brush with melted butter straight after taking them from the oven.
***And now eat at least one when still hot ***
8. Cover with parchment paper and tea towel to allow pasties to soften
Traditionally we eat Karelian pasties with egg-butter spread (just mash together soft butter and boiled eggs with fifty-fifty ratio, can substitute part of the butter with cottage cheese to lighten up the eggy-spread.
Pasties keep days in fridge and are so good and crispy when toasted. Eat as open sandwich topped with all your favorite sandwich fillings. Mine is warm smoked salmon with the sprinkle of dill and spoon of cottage cheese.
TIPS from novice first time Karelian pasty baker:
* Traditionally Finns used barley to make porridge for filling
* or Talkkuna which is cooked and roasted barley flour or a mixture of roasted barley, rye, oat and pea flour.
* Dip the spoon to cold water to get porridge sliding off easily.
* When folding the dough use tips of your index fingers to fold finely edges of pasties over the filling.
* Gently push crust even to avoid burning, any pointy edge of delicate crust dough will easily burn in oven.
* Make sure rice (harees or barley) porridge is evenly layered on top of the crust (again to avoid burning, see I’ve learned my lesson).