Karelian Pies are a traditional Finnish delicacy that originated in Karelia, a historical province in Eastern Finland. These little savory pastries are made with a thin rye crust and a filling of milky rice porridge. I know, I know… Rice porridge isn’t really the first thing anyone thinks about when they think delicacy, but I’m telling you – these things are amazing. If you’re alive and you have a mouth, you’ll love them.
I’m originally from the west coast of Finland and over there we weren’t really that into Karelian Pies, but most people I know have very fond memories of these treats from early on in their childhood. It’s not just a memory, though – you can still find these in literally any bakery, café and supermarket in Finland!
P.s. The only real way to enjoy Karelian Pies is with egg butter, a mixture of… you guessed it, hard-boiled eggs and butter!
for the crust:
1 cup cold water
1 cup rye flour
1 cup fullwheat flour
2 tablespoons butter
for the filling:
2 cups water
2 cups rice
6 cups milk
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup milk
You can start by preparing the rice porridge filling a day before if you want. Start by mixing the rice with the water in a pot and bringing to a boil. After most of the water has vaporized you can start adding milk, half a cup at a time, mixing gently to make sure porridge doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan too much. Add salt and let cool.
Prepare the crust by mixing the flour and water in a bowl. Mix the cold butter into the batter by hand and form into a smooth dough. Add a pinch of flour if the dough is too sticky.
Divide the dough into 30-40 pieces, roll into smooth balls between your palms and roll on a floured surface, as thin as possible. Spread a few spoonfuls of the rice porridge on the crust, leaving some crust visible on all sides. Turn the sides on the filling and pinch to a wavy form.
Mix melted butter and milk and spread on the pies with a brush. Bake in 550°F / 290°C for approximately 12 minutes, until the pies begin to brown a bit on the top and sides. Store in an airtight container to keep soft and delicious.
P.s. For the egg butter: just mix three hard-boiled egg with a stick of butter and a pinch of salt. You can also add some cottage cheese or fresh herbs if desired.