Karelian pasty: a pie that originated in the Karelian region of Finland


The Karelian region in eastern Finland has long been home to a dish called Karelian pasty.

Karelian pasty is a local dish of the Karelian region, characterized by its unique recipe of rice porridge wrapped in rye dough.

In this article, I would like to introduce the taste, origin, and recipe of Karelian pasty, a pie loved by the Finnish people.

What is Karelian pasty?

Karelian pasty is a type of pie eaten in Finland, consisting of milk porridge wrapped in rye flour dough. 

It is a local dish from the Karelia region in eastern Finland, and is so famous that it is considered the national dish of Finns. 

Karelian pasty is also known as Karelian pie. 

The dough is made by kneading rye flour, and the standard filling is milk porridge wrapped in the dough. 

Karelian pasty is a fusion of two major carbohydrates, rice and bread, but you may be wondering about its taste. 

The pie is not too heavy, but light and rustic, and is even eaten as a light meal in Finland. 

The slightly sour rye flour is said to be an excellent combination with the creamy sweetness of the milk porridge.

Originating in the Karelia region in the 18th century

Karelian pasty originated in the Karelian region located in eastern Finland, along the border with Russia. 

In the Finnish dialect of Southern Karelia, “piilakka” means “pie”. 

The dish has been made in the Karelian region since around the 18th century.

However, Finland’s extremely cold climate is not suitable for growing rice, so in the past, people used to stuff the pasty with barley or green pea flour instead of porridge. 

It was only after the 19th century, with the development of trade, that rice started to be imported to Finland, and it became a common stuffing for Karelian pasty.

How to make Karelian pasty

Karelian pasty is mainly made of dough kneaded from rye flour and milk porridge cooked with milk.

First, milk porridge is made by adding milk to a regular porridge recipe.

The milk porridge needs to be well chilled before wrapping it in dough, so it is recommended to make the milk porridge the day before and leave it in the refrigerator for smooth cooking.

The rye flour dough is made with only rye flour, flour as a binder, salt, and water as ingredients.

These ingredients are kneaded and stretched into a thin oval shape with a rolling pin.

The rye flour dough does not need to be fermented.

Next, after placing the milk porridge on top of the dough, pick up the edges of the dough and wrap it up while making folds.

It is easy to understand if you think of the feeling of making dumplings.

After folding the dough, bake it in the oven at 250 degrees Celsius for 10 to 15 minutes.

When the surface is golden brown, remove it from the oven and brush the surface of the pie with melted butter to finish.

It can be eaten simply with rye flour and milk porridge alone, but we also recommend trying it topped with berries or salmon.

You can also change the recipe by filling it with mashed potatoes or oat porridge instead of the orthodox milk porridge.


Karelian pasty is a pie originating from the Karelian region in eastern Finland and is a simple dish of milk porridge wrapped in rye flour dough. 

It is a kind of soul food for the Finnish people, with a light and gentle sweetness, and is a familiar dish to rice-eating Japanese due to its similarity to onigiri.