Thursday, September 15, 2011

Karelian Pasties!

In 2008, I studied abroad for my fall semester at the University of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland. It was an amazing experience to be able to spend a solid five months learning not only about other cultures, but also a lot about myself. Around this time in my life, I really started to appreciate good food and drink. So, I decided that my first recipe on here would be something I learned first about when I was in Finland: I had this the first time ever for breakfast my first morning in Finland!
The Karelian Pasty comes from Karelia, which is an area located on the border between Finland and Russia. This pasty, a thin crust of rye dough filled with rice porridge, is a common breakfast food in Finland. I really found this food to be so interesting because of the interesting combination of flavors and textures. The porridge is slightly sweet and gelatinous while the dough has a strong rye flavor and has a texture comparable to pita bread. On a side note, it is supposed to be eaten hot from the oven, but the porridge becomes a different texture when it is room temperature and it almost becomes like a totally different dish!

*I found my recipe while in Finland, so the measurements are in metric. I have included approximate cups where deciliters are given. This recipe makes 6 pasties.

1 1/2 dl water (.64 C)
1 Tbsp cooking oil
3/4 tsp salt
3 dl rye flour (1.26 C)
1 dl weat flour (.42C)

2 1/2 dl water (1C)
2 dl porridge rice (.84 C)
7 1/2 dl milk (3.17 C)
1/2 tsp salt

1) Begin by preparing the filling. Boil the water, add the rice and continue boiling for 5-10 minutes until the rice begins to soften.
2) Add the milk & salt and boil over medium to low heat for 30-40 minutes while stirring. Let it cool.
3) Next prepare the dough. Stir the oil, salt, and flour into the water with a wooden cooking fork. Form the dough into a bar shape and cut into 6 slices. Cover in a mixing bowl with a cloth the keep the air from drying the dough out.
4) Roll each slice into a thin oval (5-6" long/ 2-3" wide) and put a spoonful of cooled porridge into the middle of each, leaving 1/2" edge. Then, turn the edges up over the filling and crinkle it with your fingers.
5) Place on baking paper on a baking sheet (or grease it in place of paper) and bake in a 500F oven for 10-20 minutes. Remove when tips of rice begin to brown. You can serve plain immediately or add melted butter on top. Enjoy this classic Karelian dish!


  1. For a very first breakfast in Finland: hangover and pasties :D

  2. Ah yes! The perfect breakfast combination, and so many good memories... :)