Karelian pasties – Finland

These are little open pasties that are sold everywhere in Finland, supermarkets and cafes a like. But they are always best when baked at home.


200ml water

1 ½ tsp salt

400ml fine rye flour

100ml plain flour

(1 tbsp vegetable oil)



300ml pudding rice / or I sometimes use Arborio rice too

1500ml full fat milk

2 ½ tsp salt


1 egg


Butter (melted) & milk



I often prepare the filling the night before so it has cooled down to use in the morning.

Bring the milk to boil, add rice and boil about 15 minutes. It will still be a little bit runny when turning the hob off but it will settle, once cooled down a bit add the salt.

To make the pasty mix plain flour, rye flour, water and salt together – if it feels very dry little bit of oil can be added although I never do. Transfer the dough to well-floured surface and roll it into a long sausage shape. With a knife cut approximately 25 slices. Roll each one into a ball. With a rolling pin roll each one into a thin round shape, approximately 12 centimeters wide. It’s useful to cover other dough balls with cling film or a dish so they don’t dry too much.

Once you are ready to assemble the pasties and the filling has cooled down mix one egg into the filling.

To assemble to pasties put filling in the middle of each round shaped wrap, leave space on the sides. Then lift the sides to make an oval shape open pasty – with your fingers pinch the pasty to encase the filling.


Melt butter and mix little bit of milk in.

Bake in 300℃ (or any high temperature if your oven does not reach this) for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Once Karelian pasties are baked they are hard, when you remove them from the baking sheet brush them with the melted butter / milk mixture and pile together in a dish with a lid. Leave for 15 minutes to soften the pasties.

They can be served on their own, or with any topping you like.




Cinnamon Buns (Nordic)

I’m being diplomatic here, I think there are few nations that would like to claim cinnamon buns as theirs so to save an argument between Danes, Finns and Swedes I’ve called these cinnamon buns Nordic.

I mainly use my mum’s old recipe (origin not known), but also refer to Nordic Bakery’s recipe book at times.



500ml milk (full fat is best)

50g of fresh yeast or 2 sachets of dried yeast

1 egg

200ml caster sugar

2 tsp crushed cardamon (you can leave this out – I sometimes do)

1500ml strong white flour

150g softened butter



100g softened butter

200ml granulated sugar (caster sugar is fine too)

3 tbsp cinnamon


If using fresh yeast mix it with warm milk. If using dried yeast mix it with the flour. To make the dough mix milk, egg, sugar and cardamon. Slowly add margarine and flour. I use mixing bowl and a wooden spoon but food processor with a dough hook works too. Mix until the flour is fully incorporated and dough doesn’t stick to your spoon. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in a warm place (mine goes in the airing cupboard) for about an hour to prove. Dough should roughly double in size.

Transfer your dough onto work surface with plenty of flour. Work the dough until there’s no air.


Then divide the dough in 2. With using rolling pin make 2 rectangle flat pieces, roll them until about 1cm in height.

spread the butter evenly on the dough and then sprinkle sugar & cinnamon (I often mix the sugar & cinnamon together in a bowl before sprinkling). Roll the dough up and then cut slices slightly diagonally going opposite way each time. Once cut press the cinnamon buns onto baking sheets with the narrow end on top. Cover baking sheets with tea towels and leave to prove for 30 – 40 mins.

Before baking the cinnamon buns glaze with egg and sprinkle some sugar on top.


Bake in 200c for 10 to 15 mins until golden brown. And then enjoy!

There are many variations of how to use the dough, I sometimes just straight pieces and place all in round cake tin to speed things up a bit. Or you can fold the dough in half after spreading butter and sprinkling sugar – cinnamon mix and cut thin strips and then twist them into buns.


Coq Au Vin – France

Coq Au Vin is a chicken casserole in a rich wine sauce. I used six chicken thighs and followed this recipe.
The ingredients were easy to get in any British supermarket, although I made a point of buying an authentic French red wine.

It’s a recipe that takes a little time. No “simply throwing all ingredients together and popping them in the oven”. The onions, shallots and mushrooms want to be gently caramelised and the wine sauce reduced to the right consistency. But it’s worth it.

Once it is in the oven, there is little left to do that pour the juices over the meat at half time.
I opted for peas as an accompaniment, and crusty French bread – although potatoes or even rice would have been good too.
Family feed-back: We really liked the thick rich sauce. Two chicken thighs each didn’t seem enough – we all wanted more. Another plus point: after cooking the meal there’s half a bottle of lovely red wine left!

If you have any suggestions, corrections or alternative versions of the recipe, please let us know in the comments section. Thank you.