Finnish Ryes With Beet and Feta, Sweet Potato and Onion


Of all the foods you expect to stumble upon at the Park Slope Greenmarket, a relatively obscure savory tart from the Finnish-Russian region of Karelia probably isn’t one of them. But there the galette-like snacks sat this Sunday afternoon, the dark rye crust encasing jewel-toned, vegetarian fillings.

The woman behind Brooklyn’s Northern Rye calls the snacks Finnish ryes, although they are better known as Kerelian pasties. The crust is usually made from a simple rye dough, and the fillings are traditionally rice, mashed root vegetables, or a combination of the two. Although they originated in Kerelia, which is divided between Finland and Russia, you can apparently find the tarts all over Finland now, where they are eaten for breakfast or lunch, often spread with chopped egg and butter.

Northern Rye offers fillings of rice, beet-feta, spinach-garlic, or sweet potato-caramelized onion. The slipper-shaped snacks cost $1.90 apiece, and are about five inches across. Two would make a light lunch. Toast them briefly in the oven before eating; otherwise they can be a bit soggy. The beet-feta needs a sprinkle of salt to bring its flavors out, but the sweet potato version is just perfect as is.