Hello! My name is Sara and I blog at Sassy Suppers. I am an ambitious cook but a lazy blogger. Lots of what happens in my kitchen never makes it onto the World Wide Web. I’ve been a Daring Baker since 2008. This is my very first time hosting a challenge. Way back in my college days I was a Russian major. I remember very little of the language but I do remember the food we used to cook and eat. One of my favorites was pirozhki. These are little hand-sized pies filled with meat or vegetables. They are tastiest when fried but can also be baked.
According to Anne Volokh in her book The Art of Russian Cuisine, pirozhki have been sold as street food since Peter the Great’s time. They have also been served during elaborate banquets both in Russia and Paris. At the turn of the century, one could find fabulous pirozhki at the Filippov Bakery. The hand-held fried pies would be stuffed with all sorts of things . . . meat, mushrooms, rice, eggs, cheese and jam. Pirozhki are still sold on the street in Russian cities today and many a home baker has a favorite recipe.
I am hoping that this month we will roll up our sleeves and roll out some dough to fill, fry, and fatten up on pirozhki!
Dough #1 – The Art of Russian Cuisine by Anne Volokh
Dough #2 and classic fillings – Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman
You can find the challenge PDF here
The Yeast Dough recipe is the dough you will use if you choose to fry your pirozhki. It is VERY sticky and tender. It will make you frustrated. When I tried to rush filling and pinching them I ended up throwing a few out. But be patient; don’t rush. Flour your work surface well and only work with one pirozhok at a time. Take your time and you will succeed.
I’ve given you two classic fillings to try but feel free to use your imagination with the filling. Remember that a good filling is juicy, not dry, but not too wet because it will make the final product soggy.
Dough #1: 30 minutes active + 3 hours resting
Dough #2: 10 minutes
Filling #1: 20 minutes + cooling
Filling #2: 30 minutes + cooling
Fried pirozhki: about 1 hour
Baked pirozhki: about 1 hour
Stand mixer with all-purpose beater and dough hook
Pastry cutter or two knives
8 – 10cm or 3 – 4″ round cookie cutter
Deep fryer or large pot with frying thermometer
Paper towels or cooling rack
Two large pans
Parchment paper or silicone mats
Measuring cups and spoons
Recipe 1: Deep-Fried Pirozhki (Zharenye Pirozhki)
1 recipe Classic Meat Filling or Classic Cabbage Filling or filling of your choosing
1 recipe Yeast dough
Vegetable oil for greasing pans as well as for frying
1. On a well-floured surface, roll out half of the dough to about a 1/2cm or 1/4″ thickness. Use your 8 – 10cm or 3 – 4″ cutter to cut out circles.
2. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of a circle of dough. Bring up the sides of the dough and pinch them together to seal the filling in. Gently form the turnover into an oval, rounding out the pointed ends. Place on a greased cookie sheet or plate while you repeat with the remaining dough circles.
3. Repeat this whole procedure with the second half of the dough and filling.
4. Allow the pirozhki to rise for about 30 minutes before frying. They will not double but will look puffy.
5. Fill a pot or deep-frying with vegetable oil to a depth of 10cm / 4″ and heat the oil to 190°C / 375°F. Line a plate with paper towels or use a cooling rack set over a pan to drain the fried pastries.
6. Carefully lower 3 or 4 pirozhki into the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. If you are using a pot of oil make sure you use your thermometer to watch the temperature. You may need to raise and lower the burner temperature to keep the oil at the correct temperature. Remove the pirozhki from the oil and drain on the paper towels or the rack.
7. Continue frying until all the pirozhki are cooked. Enjoy right away!
Recipe 2: Baked Pirozhki
1 recipe Classic Meat Filling or Classic Cabbage Filling or filling of your choice
1 recipe Sour Cream Pastry
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk
1. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the Sour Cream Pastry to a thickness of 1/3cm or 1/8″.
3. With an 8 – 10cm or 3 – 4″ round cutter, cut out rounds from the dough.
4. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle of dough. Fold the edges up so they meet in in the center and press firmly to seal. (You may like to brush the edges with water or an egg wash before pinching them together if you are worried about leakage.) Place on the baking sheet.
5. Brush the pirozhki with the egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy right away!
Recipe 3: Classic Meat Filling (Myasnaya Nachinka)
15ml / 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
455g / 1 pound lean ground beef
2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
30ml / 2 Tablespoons beef broth
30ml / 2 Tablespoons sour cream
8g / 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes or until browned.
2. Add ground beef to skillet and cook until browned, breaking up clumps with a spoon or spatula.
3. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool completely before using to fill your pirozhki. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Recipe 4: Classic Cabbage Filling (Kapustnaya Nachinka)
1/2 head of cabbage (about 680g / 1 1/2 pounds), finely chopped
30g / 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
15ml / 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 hard-cooked egg, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Blanch the cabbage in boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain well and squeeze the cabbage to remove excess liquid.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring, until soft and colored, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Cool completely before using to fill your pirozhki. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Recipe 5: Yeast Dough (Drozhzhevoe Testo)
7g / 1/4oz / 1 package active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
45ml / 3 Tablespoons warm water
455g / 1 pound / 3 2/3 cups (spooned & scraped) instant-blending flour (such as Wondra); or substitute all-purpose flour if necessary
415ml / 1 3/4 cups warm milk (35°C / 95°F)
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
45g / 3 Tablespoons softened butter
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and warm water. Proof the yeast for five minutes.
2. 190g / 6.6oz / 1 1/2 cups of the flour and all of the warm milk to the yeast mixture and beat using the all-purpose beater on low speed or a wooden spoon by hand for two minutes, scraping down sides if necessary, until well-blended. Cover with plastic wrap or a cloth and set in a warm place for about 2 hours.
3. After 2 hours the dough should be very bubbly. You can hear the bubbles forming and popping actively. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt for three minutes by hand or 30 seconds with an electric beater.
4. Add the egg yolk mixture and the remaining flour to the dough. Using the dough hook, beat the dough at a moderately low speed, or beat with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Then add the softened butter and beat for a minute more. Switch to medium-high and beat the dough for 12 minutes, stopping twice for 2-minute intervals to allow the motor (or your arm) to cool off.
5. The final dough will be very wet and almost like gum-like, pulling away in strings when you take the beater out. With a buttered spatula, scrape dough into a generously greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough by spraying with cooking spray or lightly brushing with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for an hour or until the dough is doubled in bulk. The dough is now ready to use. Refrigerate until ready to form your pirozhki.
Recipe 6: Sour Cream Pastry (Rassipchatoye Testo so Smetanoy)
190g / 6.6oz / 1 1/2 cups (spooned & scraped) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
100g / 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
80ml / 1/3 cup sour cream
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Mix the egg yolk and the sour cream together and then add it to the flour mixture. Use your hands or a spatula to stir it together.
3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough together very briefly, only about 30 seconds. Form dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour. Now your dough is ready to use.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Pirozhki do not keep well after cooking so I recommend only making the amount you plan on serving and eating. If you need to halve or double the recipe in order to do so, go ahead. You can, however, freeze them unbaked or unfried and then bake or fry them when you want to serve them. I imagine you would have to bake/fry them a bit longer if you are cooking them from frozen, though.
The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! [