September 23, 2012

Rahkapiirakka - Finnish Quark Pie

There are a few things any Finn living overseas will miss from his/her home country: sauna, salted licorice and rye bread are usually on top of that list, but quark (maitorahka) will most likely also make the top 5.

I've been looking for 'proper' quark since arriving to Australia almost seven years ago. I've tried using thick yoghurt and smooth ricotta in place of quark, but they never quite had the same flavour or texture of the quark I used to get back in Finland. Recently I found 'German style' quark in my local green grocer and I was keen to try how it would work out in a traditional Finnish recipe: quark pie.

This pie is certainly rich and lemony, but such a perfect treat for a sunny weekend afternoon.

Hope you are all having a lovely relaxing weekend!

Koti-ikävän iskiessä tulee tarve leipoa perinteisiä suomalaisia herkkuja. Löysin paikallisesta ruokakaupasta saksalaistyyppistä maitorahkaa ja päätin kokeilla miten se toimisi rahkapiirakassa. Tuloksena makean sitruunainen ja täyteläinen piirakka. Täydellinen herkku viikonlopun kahvihetkiin!  

Rahkapiirakka - Finnish Quark Pie*
(Recipe adapted from


250ml milk
11g dry yeast
120g raw caster sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon ground cardemom
1/2 teaspoon salt
480-500g plain flour
100g butter


450g quark
300ml thickened cream
3 eggs
160g raw caster sugar
75ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon raw vanilla sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
90g sultanas/raisins

1 egg, for brushing

* All ingredients are organic, eggs are organic and free-range, butter is unsalted. Quark is organic and biodynamic (German style) from B.-d. Farm Paris Creek.

1. Start with the base. Warm up the milk to about 42C. Mix yeast with a small amount of flour and whisk the mixture into the warm milk. Add sugar, salt, cardamom and egg. Whisk well to combine. Add flour bit by bit, kneading to form a smooth and elastic dough. Add soft butter towards the end of the kneading. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to double in size.

2. Turn the dough on a sheet of baking paper and roll to a size of a large baking sheet. Using the baking paper, lift the dough on the baking sheet, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.

3. In the mean while, preheat oven to 200C and prepare the filling. 

4. For the filling, combine all ingredients except for the raisins in a large bowl. Whisk well to make a smooth texture, then add the raisins.

5. Brush the edges of the base with the egg. Pour the filling on to the base and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the edges are brown and the filling feels firm to touch. Leave to cool completely before cutting. This pie can be frozen.