Karelian Pie

Karelian pie

A classic treat in Scandinavia, this 9 Grain Flours version ups the spice profile while paying accurate homage to the original. Traditionally served with chopped boiled eggs, Karelian pies are an any-time-of-the-day food. They keep well under refrigeration too, and can be readily warmed in a microwave.

Yield: About 6, three-ounce pies.

Time to make: About 1 hour.

Tools needed: Small saucepan. Spice or coffee grinder. 2 medium bowls. Measuring cups and spoons or kitchen scale. Large saucepan. Spatula. Bakers parchment.

Wet ingredients

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup luke-warm water

For rice filling

1/2 cup short-grain white rice
1 3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Put the milk in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to a boil. Add the rice, stirring as you do. When mixture returns to a boil, turn down heat to a bare simmer. Let mixture simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for crunchiness, and add more milk or cooking time as needed. The goal is a slightly al dente cooked rice. Add salt to taste, stir well, and set aside to cool.

"Rye" flour

3 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 cup teff flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca, potato or corn starch
3/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Place the caraway seeds and fennel in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. Run motor for 30 seconds, shake grinder vigorously, then run another 30 seconds.

To a large bowl, add the teff flour, the sorghum flour, the tapioca or other starch, the salt, the gum or husk powder, and 1 tablespoon ground spices, Mix well with a fork or a whisk. 


1) Heat oven to 450. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a large, flat-bottom pan.

2) To the flour mix (see left column) add the canola oil and stir well, then add the water. Stir until a cohesive ball forms, then set aside to finish absorbing water. 

3) Remove dough from bowl and roll into a ball. Place the ball on a lightly dusted work surface and roll into a log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Divide the log into 6 relatively equal pieces. Roll each of these pieces into a small ball.

4) Working one ball of dough at a time, dust with sorghum flour and use the heel of your hand to gently press the ball into a round disc about 1/4 inch thick, turning and re-dusting frequently. Finish with a rolling pin, making a thin circle that's about 6 inches in diameter. (See center photo.)

5) Place about 3 tablespoons of rice in the center of the circle. Lift one edge of the dough with a spatula and, working from the lifted edge, use your fingers to pinch the dough edge into serrations so that dough fits firmly around the rice in an oval shape. A gentle touch is helpful. (See right photo.)

6) When all the circles are turned into pies, place the pies, one at a time, on a spatula with a sharply angled handle. Lower into the melted butter and press the tool down so the bottom half-inch of the pie submerged. You can swirl the pan if you wish, but the butter does not need to come up more than 1/2 inch on the edges of the pies. Return each pie to a parchment-coated baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is flecked with brown. Remove from the oven, cool for 10 minutes, then remove the pies with a spatula to a cooling rack. 

Photos of the process