Pop Up Proper Piirakka in Finsbury Park

Written by: Sophie Taylor

One day I thought, why not just make them yourself?

In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re a light pastie made with rye flour and a customisable variety of filling options.

Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited his Finsbury Park abode, he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday Finnish life. One day I thought, why not just make them yourself?”

Next thing he had cultivated a real passion for baking, with friends and family suddenly asking him for his piirakka instead. Ah, the circle of pastry.

We relished the crimped and curly edged delights

North Four, North London magazine, proper piirakka, Karelian pasties, pies, pop up, cuisine, finland, Aapo Nieminen

We tried the more traditional potato recipe as well as the carrot and rice filling with Aapo’s special smashed egg butter topping. Transported to the tall forests of Finland, looking out over a frozen lake in the midnight sun, we relished the crimped and curly edged delights, finding them surprisingly filling for a snack.

Sneaking downstairs for a second helping we found an empty plate, every crumb scooped up and savoured by every piirakka convert of the office.

We looked back at our packed lunch boxes in dismay, miserably stuffing down spinach salad from our tupperware, wiping away tears of sadness and joy remembering the good times when piirakka once graced the office kitchen. 

The chic way to have your proper piirakka? Eat warm with a short cup of black filter coffee and an extra helping of full fat butter melted on top.

North Four, North London magazine, proper piirakka, Karelian pasties, pies, pop up, cuisine, finland, Aapo Nieminen

Proper Piirakka are currently working on new recipes, some sweet ingredients involving cinnamon and the ones we’re most excited about: Findian Piirakkas, combining Indian flavours and fillings with the Finnish rye pastry case. Aapo’s mission to make Proper Piirakka his full time job and put these Finnish treats on the map is fast becoming a reality.

We can’t wait.

Want to try some for yourself? Get in touch with Proper Piirakka and discuss your culinary and catering options (whilst salivating over the insta pics).

Photos by Mike Barry and Aava Anttinen.

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