Basic Karelian Piirakkaa (Karjalan Riisi Piirakkaa)


Rye-crusted, filled with creamy rice or a savory potato filling, these thin, oval-shaped pies are served with soup or with cold cuts and cheese for lunch. Karelians who carry lunchboxes eat piirakkaa in place of sandwiches.

Makes 12


1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter, shortening, or salad oil
1½ cups white flour
1½ cups rye flour

Basting Sauce
½ cup hot milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup uncooked white rice (not precooked or instant)
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter


To make the crust, mix the water, salt, and liquid shortening in a large bowl and stir int the white flour. Beat until smooth. Add the rye flour and mix until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes). Shape the dough into a roll about 2 inches in diameter, divide into 12 equal portions, and dust with flour. Pat each into a small round cake, then roll out into a circle about 6 to 8 inches in diameter, keeping the shape as round as possible.

To make the filling, combine the rice, salt, and milk in the top of a double boiler. Cook over boiling water, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the milk is absorbed and the rice is creamy. stir in the butter. Cool.

To fill, place 3 or 4 tablespoons of the filling on each round of dough and spread to within an inch of the edge. Fold two sides of the dough onto the filling, forming an oval shape, but leave an inch-wide strip of the filling exposed. Crimp the edges of the dough. Place the piirakkaa on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a very hot oven (450°) for 15 minutes or until lightly browned, basting twice during the baking with the milk-and-butter mixture. Baste once again upon removal of the piirakkaa from the oven. Cover the pies, while they are still hot, with a clean towel to soften the crusts, or wrap the entire batch in foil, in one package. Serve hot or cold with egg butter..


Source: The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Tags: rice rye finnish
Submitted by samuel on Thu, 24 Sep 2009