Carrot-Potato Tarts/Sklandrauši (Latvia)

Rye %: 100%
Stages: Straight dough
Leaven: None
Start to Finish: 1 hour
Hands-on Time: 40 minutes
Yield: About 1½ dozen three-inch tarts

During my first full day in Riga, I had lunch with Ieva, who helped me plan the 2018 Baltic Rye Tour. We met at a traditional Latvian restaurant nestled by a cobblestoned street and surrounded by 18th century buildings in the Old City. As we discussed the itinerary, which centered on Riga and southeastern Latvia, she said, “You should really go to Kurzeme (Latvia’s western province). They make these wonderful rye tarts filled with carrots.” I sipped my beer and filed the thought away for further consideration.

The next day, a Saturday, I went to the Kalnciema Street farmer’s market, a weekly event that draws some of Riga’s best craft bakers, cheese makers and charcutiers – along with crowds of shoppers. My first stop, naturally, was at a table piled high with dark-crusted Latvian rye breads, some of which had been baked on maple leaves. I wanted to speak with the bakers, but they didn’t speak English, French or German, three of the languages I’m comfortable with. However, they did point to an elderly woman, wrapped against the early autumn chill, sitting a couple of booths down, behind a table piled high with round orange pastries .

I walked over, introduced myself and we embarked on a lovely conversation. She told me that she was in her mid-80s and had learned German when the Nazis made it compulsory during their occupation of the Baltics from 1941 to 1945. As I left, she offered me one of her pastries, refusing my offer of payment. When I ate it later in the day, I discovered that it was one of the carrot tarts Ieva had spoken of the day before, but with the delightful addition of a dollop of sweetened sour cream on top.

I came home determined to make the sklandrauši and did some research, discovering in the process that the European Community has granted them protected status – Latvia’s first food product to receive that coveted designation. I also learned that there isn’t one single recipe for these delectable tarts, but many variations using any combination of sugar, salt, honey, butter, lard, heavy cream, sour cream, eggs, milk and/or caraway seeds. I decided to start with the basics and waited for a good excuse to try my hand.

I got my chance on Election Night, when we were invited to spend the evening planted in front of the TV, ready to cheer or grumble with a group of friends. To my great satisfaction – and everyone else’s – the sklandrauši got gobbled up even before the first races were called. As unusual as they sounded to eaters accustomed to fruit, custard and cheese tarts, their sweet flavor and smooth mouth feel were an instant hit – even without the sweetened sour cream. I’ll definitely  be making them again during this holiday season – and again, whenever the spirit moves me (which I think will be often).

Potato Filling:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Potatoes peeled, boiled, drained and mashed

450

15.85

100.00%

¼ cup heavy cream

56

2.00

12.44%

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

56

2.00

12.44%

Salt

8

0.30

1.78%

Combine the potatoes, cream, butter and salt and mix until smooth.

 

 

 

 

Carrot Filling:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Carrots, peeled, boiled and drained

800

28.20

100.00%

Sugar or honey

80

2.80

10.00%

2 large eggs, beaten

100

3.55

12.50%

¼ cup wholegrain rye flour

30

1.05

3.75%

In a separate bowl, mash the carrots, then add the sugar or honey, egg and flour and mix until smooth.

 

 


Dough:

Ingredient

Grams

Ounces

Baker’s
Percentage

Wholegrain rye flour

250

8.80

100.00%

Water

100

3.55

40.00%

Salt

5

0.20

2.00%

1 large egg, beaten

50

1.75

20.00%

¼ stick unsalted butter, melted

30

1.05

12.00%

In the mixer bowl, combine the dough ingredients and use the dough hook at low (KA2) speed to mix until the dough is fully blended into a firm mass that leaves the sides of the bowl, 3-4 minutes.

 

 

 

Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and roll to a thickness of about ⅛ inch/0.3 cm. Use a circular cutter to cut the dough into 4-inch/10 cm circles.

 

 

 

Carefully fold the dough over the bottom of a glass to form cups with a rim of about ½ inch/1.25 cm.

 

 

 

Arrange the cups on a parchment-lined baking sheet and fill each with about 1 Tbs/15 ml of potato filling and 2 Tbs/30 ml of carrot filling, smoothing each layer. Top with a dollop of sweetened sour cream or a sprinkling of caraway seeds or sugar, if desired.

 

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C with the baking surface in the middle. Bake the sklandrauši until the top is lightly browned and the crust is cooked, 15-20 minutes.  Eat warm or cold.


9 Comments

  • Lynette

    November 20, 2018

    This is going on my to do list for this weekend! They look fantastic.

    Reply
    • Julia

      November 20, 2018

      Mr. Stanley Ginsberg, you have one talented palate to be able to recreate the carrot and potato tart yumminess. That is a true sign of a decerning palate. How wonderful to look, see, smell and taste this delicious tart and to try it on your own and succeed. Pictures make them look delectable. A nice addition for my Thanksgiving leftovers I think, to plump them up a bit. I am looking forward to making them.
      Fondly, one of the 2 bread nerds you met in Asheville, NC this past May

      Reply
  • Donna

    November 20, 2018

    Oh boy….me too! These sound and look delicious

    Reply
  • Donna

    November 20, 2018

    Please give me a phonetic pronunciation of these Stanley…

    Reply
  • Karin Anderson

    November 20, 2018

    How interesting! I love the idea to use rye in pastry. Will definitely try those.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Karin

    Reply
    • Jorge

      November 21, 2018

      Me too! I would love to know more ways of using rye flour in pastry and take advantage of its fruity taste.
      Any other suggestions?
      Happy holidays!
      Jorge

      Reply
  • Yuliya

    November 20, 2018

    This looks awesome. I am adding them to the Thanksgiving menu as a side dish. Down with mashed potatoes! Enough of the green been casseroles!
    Anything from Baltic countries tastes delicious. When we traveled to Lithuania in early 1980s, they had most unusual and phenomenally tasting desserts. I’ll never forget whipped cream sprinkled with salted and toasted rye bread crumbs – so simple, yet so decadent! Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

Leave a Reply