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Karelian Pasties

Information about Finnish Karelian Pasties plus authentic Karelian Pasty Recipes

Speciality Dish - Finland


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Karelian pasties (karjalanpiirakka or Karjalanpiirakat) are derived from an age-old recipe from Russian Karelia. They were introduced to Finland during the late 1940s by refugees fleeing Eastern Karelia which had just been ceded back to Russia by Finland. They are now eaten throughout Finland and are considered by many to be one of their national dishes.

As with many old recipes, although the original pasties usually had a rye crust, variations have existed for a long time which use wheat and rye flours mixed together. The traditional filling was barley however, during  potato, rice, millet and buckwheat have become popular fillings.


Today in the most common recipe consists of a thin crust made with fine rye or a rye/wheat mixture, filled with rice and served hot spread with a mixture of boiled egg which has been mixed with butter (munavoi). Variations include being topped with cheese, slices of ham, roast reindeer slices, gravlax, shrimp, plain butter, lingonberries and blueberries.


Below is a recipe for these delicious pasties plus a couple of variations.

Happy Cooking!



Karelian Rice Pasties Veg HT CBF Finnish 60mins plus standing

Finnish name: Karjalanpiirakat

Makes 12      Hot   Vegetarian   Pasty   Baked Fayre   Finland  Scandinavia  Scandinavian  Europe

120ml/4fl.oz. Water
1 teasp salt
125g/-5oz Rye Flour
For the filling
240ml/8fl.oz. Water
225g/8oz White Rice
1L/34fl.oz. Milk
1 teasp Salt


1. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan then add the rice, mix well, reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.

2. Add the milk mixing well, reduce the heat to very low, partially cover the saucepan and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the milk has been absorbed and the rice resembles a thick porridge. Remove from the heat, season with salt and set aside to cool completely.

3. Once the rice mixture is cold, preheat the oven 230C, 450F, Gas Mark 8 and line 1 or 2 making trays with parchment paper.

4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour and salt then add the water mix to form a solid dough.

5. Divide the dough into 12 balls then roll each piece into ovals no thicker than 6mm.

6. Divide the filling between the pastry ovals leaving a 2.5cm/1-inch border, then fold the borders towards the centre, leaving the filling exposed and making neat pleats along the pastry edges.

7. Place on the baking tray(s) and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.

8. Once cooked, brush well with melted butter then cover the pasties with a towel to soften the crusts. Serve warm.

9. Serve warm spread with egg butter (click here for recipe)




Karelian  Lingonberry Pasties 
 Veg  HT  CBF 40mins plus standing

Makes 12      Hot   Vegetarian   Fruit  Vegetables  Pasty   Baked Fayre   Finland  Scandinavia  Scandinavian  Europe

225g/8oz Mashed Potatoes
4 tbsp Rye flour
50g/2oz Lingonberries, mashed
3 teasp Sugar
A Pinch of salt
Pastry crust as above


Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mash together until well blended. Leave the mixture in a warm place for a 2-3 hours.


Make up and bake the pasties as above.



Karelian Blueberry Pasties Veg HT CBF 40mins plus standing

Finnish Name: Mustikkakukko

Makes 12      Hot   Vegetarian   Fruit  Pasty   Baked Fayre   Finland  Scandinavia  Scandinavian  Europe

200g/7oz Blueberries
3 heaped tbsp Plain Flour (approx)
3 tbsp Sugar or according to taste
Pastry crust as above


1. Place the blueberries and sugar in a large mixing bowl and mash well.

2. Add the flour a tablespoon at a time until it has absorbed the excess fluid then make and bake as above. Serve warm.

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