In season 8/episode 6 of the show No Reservations, you can bet your food porn jollies that these unusual-looking Finnish pasties didn’t stand a chance when it came to the typical Bourdain commentary. In fact, I was cracking up so much while simultaneously taking notes that I didn’t catch the name of them during the segment. A bit of sleuthing on the net told me that these are karjalanpiirakat (or just karelian pasties to make it easier). The pleated open-faced pasties are made with a rye flour crust and filled with either a rice porridge (as they were in the episode), cooked potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, carrots or whatever you like. Trust me, they make interesting finger food as part of a holiday smorgasbord.
The savory, wholegrain flavor of the rye and vegetable mash makes these an exception to the dessert theme for my reverse Advent calendar, but mark my words, these will disappear from the table in no time. There are several blogs on how to make them, but the best one, hands down, is detailed with great care on Blooms ‘n’ Food. I made turnip, adapting it to what I had on hand. For the crust I used stoneground rye flour (the recipe calls for part rye and wheat). Make a variety of these for your next party. The nice thing is that you can also freezer them for later.