It’s Sunday and time for the “free choice”-day. As our first week has been about the eastern parts of Europe, we’ll finish it off with something truly special: a pie from the Mari El Republic.
Maris are of the same Fenno-Ugric language family as Finns are (earlier we covered another part of the same family, Hungarians) even though we live thousands of kilometers apart. So, in a way they’re our eastern cousins or something like that. The Mari have their own republic within the Russian Federation, but are still under a campaign of heavy russificiation, with closures of many Mari language newspapers and such. If you wish to learn more of their struggles, click here for further reading.
Some time ago Ville Haapasalo, a popular actor in both Finland and Russia, hosted a new travelling tv-show called “Suomensukuiset 30 päivässä” (or “The Finnic people in 30 days”) where he travelled in various republics of Russia meeting Finnic people. In one episode he participated in baking this pie with local Mari women and it looked so great we just had to try to reverse-engineer the recipe. This is what we were able to decipher from the episode, if there are other unmentioned ingredients, we’re completely unaware of them. However the pie is very tasty even like this and puts your pumpkin harvest into great use!
2 dl soy milk
1 tsp baking powder
0,5 tsp salt
5 dl wheat flour
2 dl rice
1 ball basic seitan
about 50 g margarine
4 dl pumpkin cubes
Mix soy milk, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add enough wheat flour to form a soft dough.
Bring water to boil, add the rice and cook 10 minutes. The rice should be only half cooked. Dice the seitan. Melt about 1 tbsp margarine on a frying pan and fry seitan until lightly browned. Mix rice, seitan and pumpkin together and season with salt.
Roll about 3/4 of the dough into a large circle. The circle should be big enough to cover bottom and edges of a oven proof dish with some dough overlapping on edges. Put the dough to the dish and add the filling on it. Put lumps of margarine on top of the filling. Roll the rest of the dough into a smaller circle, put it on top of the pie. Pinch the edges of the doughs together tightly to create a decorative edge. Bake in 175-200 Celsius degrees 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
According to the tv-show, this pie is eaten at various festivities. It’s also quite filling, so if you plan on not freezing leftovers or so, invite a couple of friends over and have a good time.
It’s also a bit hard – or at least was to us – to keep the pie in one piece after cutting it. Maybe that is how it’s supposed to be.