Finland: Karjalanpiirakka

Finishing off the last country in Scandinavia with some Finnish food!

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Ok. “Piirakka” in Finnish means pie. And approximately 0% of these pies are healthy. Which means, by default, they’re going to be delicious.

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I went for a savory thing this time, instead of something sweet like I have been doing. Also, these are apparently super Finnish, originating in the region of Finland known as Karelia. These little pie things are made of a sort of rice porridge, wrapped in a thin rye crust, topped with a butter and egg mixture.

The oldest versions of these I believe were made with only rye flour, but more modern versions today are made with a mix of rye and wheat flour (which is how I made mine). The original traditional fillings were barley and…something called talkkuna ( which I discovered is finely milled flour mixture). But later potato and buckwheat were used, and even later, rice and millet were used. In the modern day, the most common versions are as I made them, filled with rice, and topped with the egg/butter mixture.

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They have a pretty mild flavor, but its a nice mix of crunchy, creamy, buttery and a little salty. I’d never used rye flour before, and I had a surprisingly difficult time getting my hands on some! The usual near by grocery stores did not carry it, and neither did the Whole Foods that I stopped into! I finally found it at a Mariano’s (Chicago based grocery store), which is where I intended on going in the first place but didn’t because..well, who even knows. I had also never made rice with milk before, nor had I ever made rice pudding or rice porridge (which I think this rice filling is kinda between the two??), so that was a new experience as well.

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I halved the recipe, since I didn’t want or need 24 of these pies on my hands. And the only thing I would change about the ingredients is the amount of water used in the dough. It was approximately 1/2 cup of water to about 2 cups of flour, and I ended up adding a few more tablespoons of water, since the dough was still pretty dry and crumbly.

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That fox is our salt shaker. 

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I think this is right???

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Fresh from the oven!

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Noms!

And as per usual, let’s see what’s in the headlines for Finland this week!

-Oh boy! The Wife-Carrying World Championship was held in Finland this year! (yes this is an actual thing! I’m cracking up omg). Apparently, men navigate through an obstacle course, while carrying their wives, trying for the fastest time. I can’t decide if a lighter woman or heavier woman would be ideal, since the winner apparently gets his wife’s weight in beer! This year’s winners were Russian couple Dimitriy Sagal and Anastasia Loginova. Congrats to the happy couple!
-This is kind of interesting..This article entitled “Finland proves wealth is not the only way to get maximum quality out of life”, talks about some research done on the correlation between wealth and social progress. Social progress, (paraphrasing from the article) is defined as the ability of a society to “meet the basic human needs of its citizens” and basically allow them to live good lives, and flourish and meet their full potential. The results suggested that there IS indeed a correlation between wealth and social progress, but wealth is not the only factor in creating a decent life. Things like healthcare, education, opportunity and tolerance are taken into consideration. Finland ranked as one of the highest in social progress, even though they were not the highest in GDP. I guess that’s kind of enlightening in a way?? Here’s the full article for anyone else interested.
-Ok, and with this last headline, I think I want to move to Finland. It just seems like such an awesome and quirky place! A Burger King in Helsinki opened the world’s first in-store spa! Yes, that’s right. This Burger King offers a 15-person sauna, shower room, locker room AND a media lounge with a TV and gaming facilities! Because who wouldn’t want to have a good steam in a sauna with your cheeseburger?? But hey…I guess there can be no doubt that Finland is indeed pretty socially progressive! 😉 Read the full article HERE .

Alright, recipe time!

I got my recipe from a food photographer/blogger who has Finnish roots, and got this recipe from her mother. I love a good family recipe! 🙂 You can find her lovely post HERE,.
I’ll post the recipe with my halved amounts. I only got 10 out of it, instead of 12.

Karjalanpiirakka (Finnish Rice Pies with Egg Butter)

Filling:
1/2 litre whole milk (just over 2 cups)
7/8 cups water
1/2 cup short grain rice (I used sushi rice)
Salt to taste
Place milk, water, rice and salt into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Be sure to stir regularly and when it starts to thicken stir continuously so it does not stick to the bottom. It is ready once thickened and all the liquid is absorbed. It will resemble porridge.
Crust:
1/2 cup cold water (I need a few extra tablespoons)
1 1/8 cups plain flour
3/4 cups rye flour
1/2 tsp salt
Mix cold water, salt, rye flour and plain flour into a hard dough.  Roll the dough out into a log and cut it into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and press into a flat round cake on a floured board.  Using a rolling pin, roll each cake into a paper thin round shape. Use flour sparingly to ensure surface and dough do not stick. Stack up the rolled out circles with a sprinkle of rye flour in between each sheet.
Egg topping:
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup creamed butter
salt to taste
Mix all three ingredients together. Set aside.
Once the filling has cooled down brush off excess flour and spread about 2 tablespoons of rice porridge in the middle of the dough in an oval shape.  Ensure the filling reaches the top and bottom of the circle but leave the sides empty. Start to shape the piirakka by pinching the top end into a point, then with hands on either side of the circle pinch the sides from the top end to the bottom. As you pinch the dough will drag in, pinch the bottom end to a point
Place finished piirakat onto a baking tray and bake in the oven at 240oC for approx 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is crispy and lightly browned. After you remove from the oven brush the top with butter while hot, add on a nice dollop of the egg butter, and EAT!
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2 Comments Add yours

  1. GoneHiking says:

    Well done! I like the idea of your blog! great way to travel around the world with tastes! And when it comes to karjalanpiirakka, I think, as do many other Finns, that the crust done with more rye flower than wheat is better, adds character to the pastry. And often we add en egg yolk to the porridge, makes it extra tasty and a tad more unhealthy 🙂 Just in case you want to give it another go 🙂

    Like

    1. megyod says:

      Oh, thanks for the advice!! I’ll remember that!!

      Liked by 1 person

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