Last week Mary-Jane took upon herself the post-GBBO challenge of making a princess cake befitting its name. She’s made us and a good portion of Harrogate very proud, and has thoroughly mastered the art of this majestic dessert.
This week’s GBBO featured all kinds of weird and wonderful pastries – we thought this would be the excuse we need to introduce Anna’s Karelian Pasty – a truly Finnish response to the art of pastry-making.
The right way, the wrong way & the Finnish way:
Hailing from outside Tampere, Finland, Anna holds a large share in Baltzersen’s Nordic Authenticity stock. Her father’s side of the family originate from the Karelian Republic in Russia; they fled with many others to Finland during WWII. She learnt this recipe for the traditional Karelian pasty from her grandmother, though how old the recipe is, is anyone’s guess.
A little research revealed however that the dish is formally adorned with a “traditional specialty guaranteed” seal of approval from the European Union, whose purpose is to “certify that a particular agricultural product objectively possesses specific characteristics which differentiate it from all others in its category, and that its raw materials, composition or method of production have been consistent for a minimum of 30 years.”
Good to know! Now, without further ado:
Anna begins by rolling out a rye dough; round shapes for the potato and squares for a savoury rice pudding.
After filling the squares with rice pudding, she carefully folds up the sides of the dough and pokes an indented form around the pasty with her fingers. “After you’ve mastered the squares,” she says, “you can move on to the round ones. They’re a bit harder.”
The round pasties receive the same treatment, with mashed potatoes made with plenty of butter and seasoning. The rice pudding uses milk, butter, seasoning and an egg to bind it. In a world obsessed with carbs, the Finns really do know their comfort food.
The pasties are egg washed and in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at around 200 degrees, until lightly coloured. This is a comfort dish for the cold winters, Anna explains. Nothing like retreating from the -25 C Finnish winters into a room offering a fire place and some buttered comfort. Although Anna left that home long ago – a desire to see the world and improve her English lead her overseas. After spending some time in Scotland and travelling, she met her future husband on her travels and eventually settled in his hometown – Harrogate. However Anna isn’t done exploring yet; New York is even mentioned at one point.
The pasties are out of the oven. Anna’s prepared a pot of half-and-half melted butter and boiling water. She proceeds to dip each rice pudding pasty in the mixture briefly, before covering them with a tea towel and letting them sit for another 15 minutes.
If you’re not risking a cardiac arrest just yet, Anna ensures that you can add additional butter – for us she’s prepared something special. Hard boiled eggs, seasoning, chives and of course more butter are mixed together and spread on the rice pudding pasties. Some more chives for both flavour and effect, and there you have it:
Anna’s Karelian pasty: if you need a couple extra carbohydrate layers to fend off winter cold, we recommend breakfasting on one of these puppies. We’ll be serving them in the café tomorrow.