Sunday, September 9, 2012

Karelian Rice Pies (Finnish)

Karelian Rice Pasties (karjalanpiirakat)

These delicious pies were an experience the first time I visited Finland in 2004.  My friend took me to a farmer's market, and she bought one for me to try.  The traditional version has rice in the middle, but you can also make them with a potato filling.  The last time I was in Finland, I discovered that you could buy them in the grocery store.  Though not quite as good as the memory of the first time I tried them, they were also pretty good.

 I loved them from the first bite, but never ventured to make them until now.  I had heard they were difficult to make and time consuming.  When I read through the ingredient list, I realized they needed very few ingredients to make them....basically water, salt, flour, milk, rice, and butter.  Really it isn't very many ingredients, but the way they are cooked that makes everything so delicious.  The simpleness of the ingredients would lead you to believe that it cannot be all that great, but it reminds me of sourdough bread which again has few ingredients, but creates a product so delicious!

While these little, wonderful pastries are so good, it does take some time to prepare the rice filling.  The rest of the process is relatively quick.  Give them a try!

Karelian Rice Pasties (adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)

Makes 16 pasties

1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups rye flour
1 cup all-purpose flour

 Rice Filling:
1 cup water
3 cups milk
1/2 cup rice
salt and butter to taste

1 cup milk, heated to boiling
1/4 cup butter

Start the rice filling first.  Combine the water, milk and rice in a heavy saucepan.  Simmer for an hour or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.  Add salt and butter to taste.

While the filling is cooking, prepare the pastry.  Mix together the water, salt, and two flours.  Roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter.  Cut into 16 pieces.  Shape each piece into a flat round disc about 6 inches in diameter.

 Cover your baking sheets with parchment paper.  (Prevents a mess and makes transferring the pies easy.) Preheat over to 500F.

Fill the center of each circles with rice filling and fold over the edges of each pastry.  Place pies on prepared baking sheets.  Prepare the glaze.  Brush the glaze on each of the pies and bake for about 8 minutes, or until bubbling.  Remove from oven and glaze again.  Return to the oven until the pasties are golden brown.  Remove and brush one last time with the glaze.  Serve cooled.  In the morning you can reheat them in the toaster.

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