Karelian pasties

Karelian pasty with egg butter
Finnish rye pasties filled with turnip mash and topped with egg butter

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.

Karelian pasties before and after
Rye pasties before and after baking

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.

Karelian pasty with turnip and dill
Turnip mash flavored with dill


6 thoughts on “Karelian pasties

  1. Diana

    I lived in Finland for 6 weeks and ate these every chance I got. There is something so wholesome and addictive and delicious about them! I will have to check out the recipe.


    1. Rowena Post author

      That’s the key word, wholesome! I rarely, if ever, bake with rye flour so it was a huge discovery to see these on Bourdain’s show. How lucky for you to have had them in Finland!


  2. Sam

    To think that it took a facebook fan to get Tony over to Finland in the first place. The GILF/pasty and Ron Jeremy’s rum segment were hilarious, but from a touristic point of view, I’m not convinced that it was the wisest move to show the blood-sucking cups (maybe for vampires?).



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