Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

 

A yummy, creamy rice filling encased in a thin rye bread and then topped with a boiled egg and butter mixture. I realise that it may not come across as particularly inviting, but they certainly are a joy to eat.

Karelian Pies are one of the most traditional of Finnish dishes and are in fact a protected dish by the European Union.

These pies are eaten at most gatherings that my Nana holds, with a friend of hers now the designated Karelian Pie maker for her and probably a majority of the Finnish community in Canberra.

I have only just come to learn the reason that Nana doesn’t make them herself, and that is because the first time she did made them, Grandpa had said to her, “If this is the best you can do, then don’t bother making them again”.

My husband is amazed that he lived past that point!

The number one key to making these is to make the rye base as thin as possible… and then go thinner.

Number two is to make sure there is enough salt in the rice mixture otherwise it will be just too bland.

Ingredients

Rice filling
150ml water
1 1/4 cups short-grain rice, rinsed – I use arborio rice
500ml milk
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
Rye crust
200ml water
300g rye flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
Baste
 50g butter
4 tsp milk
 
Egg topping
6 eggs, hard boiled
4 tbs butter
good pinch of salt

Method

Rinse the rice till the water runs clear.

Bring the water and rice to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the milk and cook on a low simmer for 45 minutes.

Stir in the butter and salt after the 45 minutes and then leave aside to cool. Ideally place in the fridge once cool enough as warm filling on the rye base will make the dough soften and it will be impossible to work with.

FinSkis Karelian Pies

To make the rye bread crust, put the water into a large bowl and and sprinkle the rye flour and salt and mix till you get a dough ball

FinSkis Karelian Pies

Knead the dough till it forms a smooth ball.

FinSkis Karelian Pies

Divide the dough into a couple of easy to handle sizes and roll into sausages, roughly the width of a standard rolling pin

FinSkis Karelian Pies

Divide the rolls into 2cm wide sections… You don’t need to be as anal as me by using a ruler but hey…

FinSkis Karelian Pies

Flatten the rounds into discs and keep covered with a towel to stop them drying out.

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Roll out the discs till they are really thin. This is when you will start going through lots of rye flour for dusting as 100% rye bread is notoriously sticky!

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Your spatula will be your best friend during this process.

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Once you get it really thin, make it thinner! The dough needs to be paper thin.

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Roll out all of the discs and lay them on each other with plenty of flour to keep them from sticking to each other.

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Place 1-2 tablespoons of rice filling into the centre of the rye base and spread out a little.

FinSkis Karelian Pies

Fold over the edges and crimp the edge by pinching the rye together

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Bake on a lined baking tray in a hot 220°c/425°f oven for 15 minutes or till the crimped edges start to brown.

Make the baste by melting the butter with the milk.

Once the pies are cooked and out of the oven, liberally brush the baste over each pie and then cover with a lined tea towel. This softness the pointy crimped edges.

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

Make the egg mixture by bringing a pot of water to the boil, pierce each egg and gently place into the boiling water. Cook at a gentle boil for 10 minutes.

When the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and then mash them with a fork, add the butter and then place in the fridge till you are ready to eat.

Serve the Karelian pies warm and topped with the cool egg mixture.

Finding Feasts - Karelian Pies_1

Delicious Finnish treats that freeze exceptionally well so be sure to make enough to have at a later date.

Finding Feasts - Karelian Pies

Finding Feasts - Karelian Pies_2

 

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Posted Sep 5th 2011

The first dish I have chosen to prepare for our blog is the traditional Finnish Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

A yummy, creamy rice filling encased in a thin rye bread and then topped with a boiled egg and butter mixture. I realise that it may not come across as particularly inviting, but they certainly are a joy to eat.

Karelian Pies are one of the most traditional of Finnish dishes and are in fact a protected dish by the European Union.

These pies are eaten at most gatherings that my Nana holds, with a friend of hers now the designated Karelian Pie maker for her and probably a majority of the Finnish community in Canberra.

I have only just come to learn the reason that Nana doesn’t make them herself, and that is because the first time she did made them, Grandpa had said to her, “If this is the best you can do, then don’t bother making them again”.

My husband is amazed that he lived past that point!

The number one key to making these is to make the rye base as thin as possible… and then go thinner.

Number two is to make sure there is enough salt in the rice mixture otherwise it will be just too bland.

I would love to hear from you if you choose to have a go!

Blondie

Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast | Lunch | Snack
Cuisine: Finnish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 pieces
 
A delicious Finnish rye base, rice pie that is served with a egg topping. It's a labour of love but make plenty as they freeze exceptionally well.
Ingredients
Rice filling
  • 300ml water
  • 2.5 cups short-grain rice, rinsed - I use arborio rice
  • 1 litre milk
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp salt
Rye crust
  • 300ml water
  • 250g rye flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
Baste
  • 50g butter
  • 4 tsp milk
Egg topping
  • 6 eggs, hard boiled
  • 4 tbs butter
Instructions
Rice Filling
  1. Rinse the rice till the water runs clear.
  2. Bring the water and rice to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add the milk and cook on a low simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Stir in the butter and salt after the 45 minutes and then leave aside to cool.
Bread
  1. Mix the flour and salt into the water then knead lightly to bring together and make a smooth dough.
  2. Roll into a log and then divide the dough in equal portions, flatten each section to make a round disk. Cover the disks with tea towel to avoid drying.
  3. Roll each disk into a paper thin round - ideally try to get it oval shape.
  4. Once the rounds are ready for the filling, pre heat your oven to 225 degree c / 440 degrees f
  5. Place 1-2 tablespoons of rice filling onto the dough, then fold up the sides pinching to create a crimped edge as you go.
  6. Place the pies on lined baking trays and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the tops are slightly browned.

 

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5 thoughts on “Karjalanpiirakat – Karelian Pies

  1. Hello, could you please confirm for me is it 300 water to 250 flour? I frequently bake bread and it is always flour more than water so I am a bit confused. But I have only once used rye flour in baking and it wasn’t great success so I am no expert… I had these pies in Russian Karelia and very keen to try to bake them at home so I am very much looking forward to your advice and then ready to roll up my sleeves and give it a go!!:) Thank you in advance, Maria

    1. Hi Maria,
      Thank you for pointing that out. There wouldn’t be too much of a difference with the volume of liquid to flour and being 100% rye means it will take more water than a blended flour base. But if you are feeling that it’s a little off then I suggest doing 250 and 250, you can always add more water if needed.
      I’ll be making it again shortly so will keep a close eye on my measurements, as I generally just guess the water these days and add enough flour to make a ball.
      Good luck, and yes, a 100% rye base is certainly an experience. Just remember to keep extra flour and a spatula close by 🙂
      Cheers, Blondie

      1. Hi Blondie,

        just wanted to say they turned out delicious! I have also made cardamom scrolls using your recipe from this website – they are too to die for:))

        Huge thanks and Merry Christmas!
        Maria

  2. I was an exchange student many years ago to Finland and this was my favorite Finnish food. I have tried to make Karelian pies in the past and I sucked at it. I wish I could find a place in the U.S. to order these through the mail or find a shop to buy them. I have had no luck so far. I love these pastries. I was nice to come across your website. 🙂

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