My daughter recently spurred me on to finally take action on a recipe I received seven years ago but which seemed way too sacred for me to even contemplate on making. My beloved grandmother passed away while I was expecting my daughter, and later I asked my aunt if she happened to have this recipe so specially connected to my early years at my grandmother’s. I hadn’t eaten these for over twenty years, and the taste brings back so many memories. Not a local recipe to where I grew up, but most likely it comes from the Karelian area of Finland. I remember my grandmother saying the recipe might be from Latvia or Lithuania, but my cousin supplied me with more accurate knowledge: her mum (my aunt) received this one from a fellow student while at university, gave it to her mother (my grandmother) who then mastered the making of these pies that we all in the family have since known as 'Mamman piirakat'. The name is quite interesting in itself: supposedly the recipe originates from Karelia, the very the Eastern region of Finland that borders to Russia, yet baking these on the Swedish speaking west coast of Finland, my grandmother referred to them as 'Mamman piirakat' - 'mamma' being 'mother' in Swedish and 'piirakat' being 'pies' in Finnish.
The dough is subtly sweet, filled with a mixture of pudding rice, finely chopped boiled eggs and salted butter. Soon after the first lot came out of the oven, I was bursting in my seams, having gobbled up most of them while the second lot was still baking... Certainly best eaten warm!
If any of you want to try this lovely recipe, I translated it into English for you:
Make the filling first:
9-10 eggs (boil for 11-12 mins)
3.5 dl pudding rice (boil in salted water until soft)
3-4 dl melted butter (not margarine)
Amount of added salt according to taste
Use fork to mush the boiled eggs, mix with the boiled rice, then add melted butter until then mixture resembles porridge. Add salt according to taste.
1/2 litre milk
1 dl sugar
50 g fresh yeast (or 25 g dry yeast)
1 tsp salt
2 dl melted butter (not hot)
approx. 12-14 dl plain flour
Melt the yeast, sugar and salt into suitably warm milk. Add eggs and melted butter, then flour through a sieve. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough rise in a warm, draught-free place until twice the size. Knead the dough on the baking table and roll (a chunk at a time) as thin as possible. Use a large round cup to cut out round pieces, add a good amount of filling and close the edges to form a ‘ball’. Place on a baking tray so that the dough’s seam is underneath, against the tray. Let the pies rise a while on the tray before placing into the oven. Egg the surface of the pies and bake approx. 8-10 mins in 175-200 degrees’ heat.