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Karelian-style rice & egg butter pies with smoked salmon fillets
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6 lightly smoked salmon fillets
Olive oil or groundnut oil, for brushing
Dressed watercress or green salad leaves, to serve
For the rice filling
175g short grain rice
1L whole milk
For the pastry
25g cold butter, cut into small cubes
175g stoneground rye flour
125g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
Approx 50-150ml whole milk (you may need more or less)
Approx 50g melted butter
Chopped dill or chopped chives, to serve
For the egg butter
4 British Blacktail Large Free Range Eggs
60g butter, at room temperature
1. Make the filling for the pies. Put the rice into a saucepan with 150ml water and bring to the boil. Boil hard until the water has been absorbed. Add the butter, milk and a little salt and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and cook, stirring every so often, until you have a mixture like rice pudding. It will take about 45 minutes. Leave to cool while making the pastry.
2. Preheat the oven to 240ºC, gas mark 9. To make the pastry, rub the cold butter into the flours. Add a pinch of salt and enough milk to bring the pastry together. Knead a little on a lightly floured surface. Pull off a chunk of pastry and, on baking parchment, roll it into a thin disc 10cm across. Keep doing this until you have 18 rounds. Put these onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Put a big spoonful of the rice mixture across the middle of the first disc then pull the pastry up around it so that it encases the rice. Pinch the pastry at intervals. Do this with every round. Brush the pastry and the top of the rice generously with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pies are cooked and the pastry pleats are golden brown.
3. While the pies are cooking, boil the eggs for the butter for 7 minutes, then plunge them into cold water. While still warm, but cool enough to handle, shell and mash the eggs roughly with the butter and some seasoning. Cover this to keep warm while the salmon is cooking, and cover the pies as well.
4. Turn the heat down to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Brush each fillet of salmon all over with some oil, season, put into a roasting tin and bake for 12-14 minutes.
5. Spoon the egg butter on top of the rice pies, and sprinkle with dill or chives. Serve alongside the salmon with the lightly dressed watercress or green salad leaves.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in March 2020.