Friday, 15 December 2017

Finnish Up Your Food

I have enjoyed reading the Nordic Bakery Cookbook, and decided to try another one of the recipes before it went back to the library. Something Finnish, in celebration of their centenary. I opted for "Karelian Pies". The cookbook says "These are an old favourite in Finland, sold everywhere in supermarkets...The contrast between ... rye crust and sift rice filing is unusual but addictive"
The recipe is complex and time-consuming. You make the filling, then the pastry and then combine and cook. Meanwhile you prepare the optional topping. It took over an hour and a half - but the results were surprisingly delicious. I made half quantities
150gm pudding rice, 2m0l water, 750ml milk, 1 tsp sea salt
Put the water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the rice, simmer 5-10 minutes. Add the milk, and simmer for 30 minutes until rice is cooked to a thickened pudding consistency. Stir in the salt and set aside to cool while you make the pastry.
250gm wholemeal rye flour, 1 tsp sea salt, 200ml water, 1 tbsp oil, plain flour for dusting, 75gm unsalted butter, melted.
Preheat oven to 220ÂșC. Line two baking trays with nonstick baking paper.
Put flour and salt in a bowl, add oil, and stir in water gradually with round bladed knife, or by hand, till dough is formed. Transfer to a surface lightly dusted with plain flour, shape into long sausage shape. Divide into 20 pieces and roll out with pin to circles about 10cm in diameter.
Now spoon 2tbsp filling into the centre of each circle leaving 2cm border all round. Lift up the edges of the pastry to make an oval shaped open pie. Pinch with thumb and forefinger all round, so edge stands up and encases filling. The thinner the crust, the better the piePour melted butter into a medium sized bowl. Put a pie onto a spoon and lower into the butter, coating the pastry crust generously with butter. Put pies onto baking sheets. Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crispy round the edges.
1 hardboiled egg, 40g softened unsalted butter, pinch of sea salt.
Chop the egg finely and mix with softened butter and salt. Serve topping alongside the pies in a small dish, with a spoon - this is traditional .
My rye flour is from Marriages- the old Essex Millers. Bob's pewter tankard is a lovely 10cm measure for the circles.
These were a delight to eat - the pastry worked, and the sea salt flavour complemented the soft rice. Bob suggested that in future I chop the egg more finely. Mine look authentic too - it was worth taking time over.

Karelia is a disputed region on the Russian/Finland border, celebrated in the fabulous eponymous piece of music by Sibelius.

My other favourite piece by Sibelius is of course "Finlandia" - used as a tune for a number of popular hymns [Be Still My Soul, We rest on Thee etc ...and Girls' Brigade Vespers] This year at UCF we've sung this modern carol to the Finlandia tune.
Come now with awe, earth's ancient vigil keeping;cold under starlight lies the stony way.Down from the hillside see the shepherds creeping,hear in our hearts the whispered news they say:                `Laid in a manger lies an infant sleeping,                Christ our Redeemer, born for us today.'
Come now with joy to worship and adore him;hushed in the stillness, wonder and behold,Christ in the stable where his mother bore him,Christ whom the prophets faithfully foretold:                High King of Ages, low we kneel before him,                starlight for silver, lantern-light for gold.
Come now with faith, the age-long secret guessing,hearts rapt in wonder, soul and spirit stirred;see in our likeness love beyond expressing,all God has spoken, all the prophets heard;                born for us sinners, bearer of all blessing,                flesh of our flesh, behold the eternal Word!
Come now with love; beyond our comprehendinglove in its fullness lies in mortal span!How should we love, whom Love is so befriending?Love rich in mercy since our race began                now stoops to save us, sighs and sorrows ending,                Jesus our Saviour, Son of God made man.
[by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith]
Here is a translation of the original words written for the tune. A song for peace among the nations. Very pertinent right now...


  1. If I can get goooogle to let me send this,
    I wanted to say that this was just beautifuL! I looked up the words and it’s a wonderful song for this time of year and with all that is going on in the world. I hope God is listening and sends peace for us all!

  2. These little tarts look very good. Well worth taking the time to do something new and unusual. I love this Finlandia tune and chose "We rest on thee" for our wedding. The new words you have posted make it possible to sing that tune at Christmas too. Lovely.


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