Thursday, January 24, 2013

Karjalanpiirakka - Karelian pies

Piirakka is one of the things we kinda got accustomed to in Finland and now we are missing them. They are not the top of gourmet, but a very good and filling snack instead of bread for a change. They suit very well a cocktail party with some add on and fresh salad. 
With a light crumbled egg on top is a perfect breakfast (traditionally hard boiled eggs mashed with butter, salt and pepper), and I will definitely make some variations tomorrow, but for now here are only the piirakka's..
Bad side: too much time to prepare, good side: freeze half of the portion and warm them up in the oven any time with butter (and ham and cheese) on top. Works perfectly fine.

Ingredients (makes ~20-25 half palm sized piirakka) time to make ~2 hours
380 ml rye flour
120 ml all purpose flour
200 ml water
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt

250-300 g (2-2.5 sticks) of butter for baking
extra milk for brushing

Rice porridge filling
0.4 l sushi or short grain rice(it should stick together not like the Basmati rice for example)
0.5 litre (2 cups) milk
1 litre (4 cups) water
1/5 tsp salt (adjust if needed, should be a salty rather than neutral taste)

scrambled eggs
ham, ham & heese
"munavoi" - alias hard boiled eggs coarsely mashed with butter, salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the rice in the water for ~10 min, then add the milk, season with salt and cook under lid over very low heat for additional ~25-35 min, until the rice is soft enough but not over boiled. It should be soft, easy to spread.
Let it cool under the lid, meanwhile prepare the dough.
In a bowl mix the rye flour with the salt, white flour, and water. It should be a rather soft though, barely dry enough to separate from the walls of the bowl.
Knead them together, roll it in a ~5 cm (2 in) rod, and cut ~1cm slices from the rod.
Roll the slices into small balls.
Half of the dough is enough to cut and roll at a time, or it will dry, and leave the dough you are not working with under a cloth all the time.
Now roll the small balls into circle-oval shapes (~10-12cm), quite thin, using a lot of flour on to and under not to stick to the table.
Place an oval shaped, flat scoop of rice in the middle (~7mm thick), leaving about 2 cm of though around the rice.
On the sides fold the dough on top of the rice,  and start lifting with your finger the rest of the dough and kinda folding it on top of the rice towards the top. Turn and repeat with the other side until it looks like the ones on the picture.
Place the piirakka-s in the tray. Melt some butter and spread on the piirakka, sides as well.
Bake them at 300 C, (550 F), for ~10 min on the top most rack, (or second top most), until bits on the top get a little golden-brown shade.
Meanwhile melt some more butter and mix with milk, approximately 2/3rd butter - 1/3 milk.
Remove the piirakka from the oven and spread the butter-milk mixture ALL OVER the piirakka, bottom, sides, top.
Place them under a cloth and let the piirakka soften.

Serve with chopped hard boiled eggs mixed with butter, scrambled eggs and many more...
We also placed a slice of ham & cheese on top, and let it in the oven for couple of minutes for the cheese to melt..

Cut the dough slices depending how big pirrakka you want. I cut about 22-25 g / piece dough and got half of a palm sized piirakka. Not the cutest cocktail piirakka :D, but at least no need to eat too many, 2-3 will have your tummy full.

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