Jan 11, 2011

carelian pastries - karjalanpiirakka

baking carelian pastries had been on my mind for the longest time, years in fact. somehow i had always felt that they would be too much work, too difficult and what-not. sopankeittäjä made them few days ago and about posted her efforts. sopankeittäjä had used a regular oven to bake them, the oven being one of my main hinders. i had thought a wood-burning oven was needed to have an oven hot enough.

now, these pastries have history, there are probably even rules and regulations as to which ingredients can and should be used. well, if something can be done easier, i'm prone to go that way...someone who has been baking these pastries for decades might not agree with my methods and perhaps even accuse me of sacrilege, but this was my way.

i followed more or less the same recipe as sopankeittäja (pretty basic) but i didn't use any wheat flour. there are several recipes online, even how-to videos on youtube.

getting good quality rye flour might be the first obstacle for someone not living in the nordic countries. i used sunnuntai fine ground rye flour. sorry about the PW style photo-marathon, i thought it served a purpose here.

for the dough you'll need:

2 dl cold water
1 tsp salt
5½ dl rye flour (or, a mixture of rye and wheat if your rye isn't very finely ground)

mix the ingredients in a bowl, after they come together as one lump...

...remove the dough onto a work surface and knead it for a few minutes. it will stick a bit at the beginning but will firm after some vigorous kneading...

...enough to be rolled into a log and cut into 30 (or so) pieces

the pieces are then flattened, i used a glass to do it, made the job easy. all the recipes warn that the dough will dry out and should be covered when not being worked. also, at this point you'd want extra flour on the counter and the baking sheet in order for the pieces of dough not stick together

flat as a pancake

this particular type of rolling pin, pulikka, is used to roll out the dough. i have had this rolling pin for, hmm, must be close to 15 yrs, never been used before...you should aim to roll the dough into very thin rounds, approx 10 to 12 cm in diameter

a pastry brush is needed to brush off extra flour before filling the pastries. a pastry brush? you ask...well, i got mine from the hardware store...

for the filling i used:

2 dl water
2 dl (porrige) rice
1 liter milk
1-2 tsp salt

as the luck would have it, i had originally decided to make these on saturday, therefore made the rice porridge (the filling) on saturday morning, before i realized that i might not be ok. i had put the pot on, the rice and milk in when i started to feel quite woozy.

long story short, it's never a good idea to leave a pot with milk in it on stove unattended...i managed to save the porridge, and myself from a huge cleaning job, in the last minute. only to forget to tell certain someone that i had made the porridge for the pastries. he so likes rice porridge...fortunately there was enough to fill the pastries.

the pinching then, i was quite intimidated about the pinching, this is where you make it or break it. remember, i had not made these before... you start in the middle...

...then move on...

...keep pinching...

...until you get something like this. i was trying to be smart and form the dough into ellipticals rather than rounds, at this point i realized rounds would have been better. but that's trivia, one needs to make a few mistakes to ever learn anything.

mine are certainly not traditional in form, far from it, i would call them personal, these here are ready for 275C oven (fan on) for 14 mins

just out of the oven

after the oven, when still hot, each and every pastry gets a dip in hot water&butter bath (to a small kettle, add 1 dl water, 50 gr butter, bring the water to a boil, mixture is ready when the butter has been melted)

sopankeittäjä was right, with warm pastries, you really don't need anything besides a glass of cold milk...

although the traditional way to serve the pastries is egg-butter spread, i like to eat mine with emmental cheese and pickles or gherkins.

these pastries aren't something you just "whip up", lots of hands-on work involved, therefore rather time-consuming. however, the recipe easily doubles (or triples), do what sopankeittäjä did, have a friend over, make a huge batch together. unbaked pastries freeze beautifully and bake without thawing. if freezing, first place them on a baking sheet, when frozen place in a plastic bag to store in the freezer

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