sorry friends, this recipe is looong overdue... i promised six months ago to share this after making these for lucy's 2nd birthday party...
since she had a 'muumi-themed' celebration, i wanted to make a finnish classic: 'lihapiirakat' (meat-pies). every country has their own version of savoury pies; the finnish one basically consists of deep-fried dough pockets filled with ground beef, spices and normally rice. i searched online for recipes, asked a friend for tips and basically combined all the ideas to make my own version...
-6 dl low-fat milk
-3.5 tsp yeast
-2 tbs oil
-12 dl flour (i used 6 dl whole wheat/ 6 dl white)
-1 tsp sugar
-600 g ground beef
-1 c. pot barlet (= 2 c. when cooked)... this was a friend's fantastic tip in place of the traditional rice
-1 tsp allspice (classic finnish spice...)
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp white pepper (another classic finnish spice...)
oil for deep frying
to make dough:
-in a pot, heat the milk then add oil, salt and sugar
-mix the yeast with flour then add the milk mixture slowly, stirring constantly
-cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rise for 40 mins.
to make the filling:
-rinse the barley then place it in a large pot with 3 c. water. bring it to a boil then turn down to a simmer and let simmer for 20-30 mins.
-sauté the onions and add the beef. then add spices.
-combine barley and beef. let it cool.
-divide the dough in half then cut each half into eight pieces (you can try making them even smaller by cutting into 10 or 12 pieces)
-roll out each piece into 15 cm circles
-press a fork around the edges of each dough circle to create shallow ridges (this will help with the next step)
-add about 2 tbs of the filling to one half of the circle, brush the edges with water, then fold the circle in half and press the edges firmly making sure to squeeze out any air pockets. press the fork along the closed edge to make sure the pie is closed tight.
-fill a large pot with 2-3" of oil.
-when the oil has reached 180 degrees (use a cooking thermometer... you don't want it to get any hotter), you are ready to fry the lihapiirakat... place a couple into the pot at a time. turn them over to check: when they are a light golden brown, you are ready to fry the other side (i like them as light as possible... less oil is saturated into the dough)
-place them on a paper towel to cool
these freeze easily .. so don't worry about the large amount this recipe makes - if you're going through the trouble of deep-frying something, you might as well make a large batch. in fact, most finns when they make lihapiirakat, they first make a batch of 'munkit' (sugar doughnuts) since it uses the same ingredients as for lihapiiraka dough and the same deep-frying method... but don't reverse the two: you don't want any savoury flavours in your munkit!