Karelian Pies and Homesickness -Karjalan piirakat ja koti-ikävä

I miss home. I miss Finnish food. Today during my lunch break I tried to think hard what would I feel like and everything in these local bakeries and lunch places seemed boring. Once again I started to think of food back home Karelian pies, Finnish meat pies, semolina porridge, rye bread with gherkins and cheese, Finncrisps (hapankorppu), potato salad, reindeer, lingonberry jam and new potatoes.Yummy!

To be completely open and honest, as much as there are many things to love in England, one thing I know I will never miss when I leave this country is its food. It surprises me over and over again how people here can eat fried fish, greasy chips and mayonnaise filled hamburgers day after day always smile on their face. I know Finland gets blamed for not having its own cuisine (which I think is ignorance), but this lack of dominant cuisine is worth praising when you are traveling, at least you won’t be overloaded by Finnish food where ever you go. In fact it is hard to find a restaurant serves Finnish food only. Things are totally the opposite here. When my Aussie husband and I did a romantic trip to English countryside last weekend, every place had basically the same menu: pea and ham soup, steak and ale pie, fish and chips, steak and chips, Angus hamburger…. In the middle of fried food and chips, fresh and healthy Finnish food seems suddenly very attractive. What makes things even funnier, it is not only the food that turns you off here, the names for dishes may freak you out. This happened to me when I noticed ”Spotted Dick” on the menu. Associations can be rather confusing.

All in all, I think it is time to make some home made Karelian Pies to satisfy my home sickness. My grandma is from Eastern Finland and therefore I have eaten these tasty pies for all my childhood. It is mixture of magic and tradition to bake Karelian pies. ”Not too much white flour” -that is what my grandma used to tell, ”It makes the dough easier to ’drive’, but hard and flavourless”. Well here you can find one Karelian pie recipe. It is tested and well perceived. There are millions of recipes and it is a milligram of flour that matters for some people, for others the real pies are made only with feeling and touch.

Filling:
50g butter
3dl rice (porridge rice, normal is ok too if you cannot find porridge rice)
2 1/2 dl water
1L full milk (Finnish red milk, English blue milk)
2tsp salt

Crust dough:
3dl water
1tsp salt
2dl white flour
3-4dl rye flour

1.) Make the porridge first. Cook the rice in water and when the water has been absorbed add milk. Cook for 1 hour and in the end spice it with butter.

2.)Mix water, salt and white flour together. Mix first white flour and water and add rye flour last.

3.) Make a skinny long loaf, cut small pats from the loaf and start ”driving” as it is called. ”Driving” means that you use rolling pin and roll the small pieces of dough into thing rounds.

4.) Fill the thin rounds with rice porridge and nip them with your fingertips to form the pies.

5.) Bake in 300 degrees approximately 10 minutes. After you take the pies form the over, remember to dip them in melted butter or melted butter-milk mixture, put them to a casserole and cover with the kitchen towel. This is how you can make sure the crust stays soft and nice.
Serve with egg butter!

Egg butter:
3 eggs
30g soft butter
salt

1. Cook the eggs hard.
2. Mash the eggs with the fork, mix the butter in add some salt and it is ready!

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