How To Make Karelian Pasties

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Since I’ve now successfully made traditional Karelian pasties one time and am therefore an expert I thought I might as well teach you guys too haha! The reason I’ve never made these delicious Finnish pies is that I’ve always thought them to be really tricky to make. Encouraged by my Jordanian friend (who actually made them before me!) I finally took the bull by the horns – and they turned out great! No, better than great actually!

You might wonder what “Karelia” refers to. It’s basically an area covering both Finnish and Russian territory. I will just borrow Wikipedia here to explain it further: “Finnish Karelia was a historical province of Finland, and is now divided between Finland and Russia, often called just Karjala in Finnish. The eastern part of this chiefly Lutheran area was ceded to Russia after the Winter War of 1939–40. This area is the “Karelia” of the Karelian question in Finnish politics.”

More than 400,000 evacuees from the ceded territories resettled in various parts of Finland, including my grandfather with family from my father’s side. That means that I’m actually one quarter Karelian – even more reason to be ashamed of never having attempted making Karelian pasties!


The recipe is very basic, all you need for the rye crust is:

  • 3,5 dl rye flour
  • 0,5 dl wheat flour
  • 2 dl cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil

Just add all the ingredients into cold water and mix. Then put the dough in the fridge whilst you make the porridge.

For the filling you’ll need:

  • 2 dl pudding rice
  • 1 l full fat milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter

Just slowly heat up the milk and add the rice and salt and let simmer on low heat about an hour until the rice has absorbed the milk. Then mix in the butter and leave to cool while you roll out the dough. I divided it into 16 pieces and rolled them into slightly oval shapes.


Make sure you use a lot of flour when rolling so the dough doesn’t stick! My Jordanian friend and her son supervising 🙂


Then you add the rice porridge and “pinch” the sides into the filling.


My first pasty was also the best one 🙂


You bake them in a really hot oven, around 250-270 degrees, for 15-20 minutes. After you take them out they’re brushed with melted butter. I used slightly salted butter which worked fine. Traditionally the pasties are eaten with “egg butter” – boiled eggs mixed with butter. Yum!

This is a very hearty dish that you can just eat on their own or with soup for example. It’s a dish Finns really love and eat a lot. In Finland you can buy them in all supermarkets, either frozen, fresh or from the bakery section. Although I don’t mind shop bought pasties, home baked ones are just sooo much better! Try for yourself 🙂

x Nina x