Scandinavian Christmas Recipes: Karjalan Piirakka with Egg Butter

Karjalan Piirakka

Karjalan Piirakka

Some things that are common or plentiful in one part of the world can become a rare treat in another. Such is the case with Karjalan Piirakka (Karelian Pie), a common pastry in Finland.

This delicious little “boat” with its simple rice filling and salty egg butter is usually served as a side dish, common in Finland and made commercially and sold widely. Here, Karjalan Piirakka is usually made for special occasions and often thought of as a special Christmas recipe by many of our Finnish SNCA of UBC members. One of our members prefers the dough on the crispy side – it’s a nice contrast to the soft rice filling – although she says that the commercially baked variety has a softer dough. She makes them small, drizzles them with egg butter and serves them as appetizers. Yum! has what appears to be a good version of this recipe. It has only 3 reviews, but all of them are favourable.

Below is another recipe adapted from Maria Killam. Click on the link to see a lot of good pictures of how to make the little boats.

Feel free to post a comment about this recipe! Did you make it? Any tips? We’d love to hear from you.

Hyvää Joulua!

Karjalan Piirakka

Recipe for Crust

2 cups (course) rye flour

3/4 cup whole wheat or spelt flour

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

Combine flour and salt and then add water, stir until it looks like the above mixture. Let it sit for a few hours. Grind your own flour if you can because it’s better when it’s grainy and course.

Recipe for Rice Porridge

2 cups uncooked short grain brown rice

1 litre of whole milk

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter


Cover brown rice with water, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Add milk while stirring to make sure the milk doesn’t burn and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add salt and butter. If the whole mixture is too thick add more milk. Cool before making the rice boats.

Making the “Boats”

Preheat oven to 375°F

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

Take some dough and shape into a roll about two inches thick. Then cut about a one inch piece to make each individual crust.

Pat it out first using lots of flour (dough is very sticky)

Use a rolling pin adding flour each time you turn it to make it into an oval shape.

Spread a thin, even layer of rice porridge leaving an inch in the perimeter.

Fold over in the center and pinch along to each end.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Make sure they are brown, crispy and well done before you pull them out of the oven.

Final step, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a pot and melt 1/2 cup butter in it. Remove from heat. Dip each individual piirakka into the butter mixture immediately upon taking out of the oven.

Serve at room temperature with egg butter (below), or drizzle honey on it and top with a slice of cheese.

Egg Butter

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 pinch fresh ground white pepper (optional)
1 pinch ground ginger (optional)

In a small bowl, cream the butter. Stir in the eggs.
Season with the white pepper and ground ginger, if desired.
Cool the pastries and serve with the egg butter at room temperature.


4 thoughts on “Scandinavian Christmas Recipes: Karjalan Piirakka with Egg Butter

    • Hello – thank you for your comment. Yes, we are aware of this. In many Scandinavian countries, this mushroom isn’t picked to be eaten, but is seen children’s books illustrating folklore with little gnomes, and trolls, etc. These bright mushrooms become hats or houses or decoration. “Bland Tomtar och Troll” is a classic storybook. Check out these websites if you’re interested in the pictures: Bland Tomtar och Troll, Elsa Beskow

      Most Scandinavians grow up learning about mushrooms, what’s safe and what isn’t. In the fall, picking wild mushrooms is like a national past time!

      Thank you for your concern. It’s a good idea to always keep in mind what’s safe and what isn’t when it comes to mushrooms.

      Tack och God Jul!

      • Good, I’m glad you aware of it. And, thank you for the website! I love fairytales, folklore and myths!

        Merry Christmas to you too!

  1. Thanks for this! I went to Finland recently and fell in love with these. Now I can make my friends and boyfriend taste.

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