Monday, April 11, 2011

Swedish Meat Pie (Biff Paj)

I was traveling the world of recipes with the My Kitchen, My World group, but honestly, I've always been more of a solo traveler than a group traveler. So, I'm taking my passport and setting off on my own. First stop, Sweden.
The Junction City Scandinavian Festival is always a good time and like most people, I go for three important reasons: Abelskiver, Biff Paj, and Fri-Jos! Then after a swing by the freshly squeezed lemonade stand, a shaved ice, and a tube of old-fashioned kettle corn I'm ready to enjoy the craft booths. Let's not discuss the calories okay.

At the Scandinavian Festival there are two lines that get quite long. One is for the abelskiver. The line is well worth it, but you will be dedicating part of your day to being in line! The other line is for the Swedish meat pies.  These delicious little pies are made in a sour cream pastry that is flaky and buttery.
The filling is quite simple and quite versatile:ground beef (or turkey), grated potato, cheese, parsley, garlic, dill, allspice, and nutmeg. I believe the ones at the festival also have onions inside. If not, I think onions would be a great addition!
Now, on to the pastry. The pastry dough is simple: flour, salt, and butter. The directions said to mix the butter into the flour with a fork or pastry cutter until there are only pea sized lumps.
I broke out my pastry cutter and set to work.
After awhile I switched to the fork. Whew, this is hard work! Pea-sized lumps? This is no fun at all.
After 8 minutes and very few pea sized lumps I was getting super frustrated and then I thought- what would Nick do? Nick Malgieri that is. (Author of the Modern Baker cookbook the book my Modern Baker Challenge group is baking from.) He has a number of doughs in the book and I've never seen the words- "mix with a fork until you get pea sized lumps." No, Nick uses the food processor!
One dump and 4 pulses later- perfection! I am officially in love with my food processor.
Roll out. Spoon in.
And bake.
Absolutely delicious! A huge hit with the adults! The kids loved the pastry but weren't into the filling. Silly kids! More for us!

Swedish Meat Pies (Biff Pajs)
Adapted From: The Barest Hint of Sweetness
Printable Recipe

Yield: 6 meat pies

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
* 1 pinch ground nutmeg
* 2 large red potatoes, grated
* 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cup cold butter
* 1 cup sour cream

1. Melt the 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in the ground beef (or turkey) and add parsley, allspice, dill, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and grated potatoes. Cook and stir until the meat is browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream until melted. Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix in the 1 1/4 cup cold butter with a fork or pastry cutter until only pea sized lumps remain OR pulse ingredients in a food processor to get pea sized lumps. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream a little bit at a time until the dough holds together. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. Divide into six equal portions, and pat into balls.

4. Roll out each ball of dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Place a heaping 1/2 cup of filling onto each one. Fold over into half circles, and seal by moistening the edges with warm water and pressing together. Crimp edges. Place on a baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown.


  1. These look tasty! Meat pies are always good!

  2. These sound lovely! And your little prep bowls are so cute. And ever since being introduced to NM, I NEVER cut in butter by hand! Some people claim that it's not worth it to have to clean the food processor, but I'm soooo willing to wash those 5 pieces (even w/o a dishwasher) to avoid cutting in butter by hand.

  3. These look the idea of making these for the guys, they look like portable food on a busy weekend...I need to make the empanadas from Bake! as well, maybe I should just go on a pie making weekend and freeze them, do you think they would freeze pre-baking nicely? I need to get with that MKMW routine again. Egypt this month...hmmmm...I might rather do Sweden with you. lol

  4. Kayte- we could travel together for awhile. :-)

  5. Finely chopped Celery and Onion are in the ones at the Scandinavian festival in J.C. Oregon. They also didn't think there was any garlic powder in theirs.


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