This month’s challenge is hosted by Sara from Sassy Suppers who challenged us to make pirozhki, little hand-sized pies filled with meat or vegetables. 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. The hand-held fried pies would be stuffed with meat, mushrooms, rice, eggs, cheese or jam.

The yeast dough recipe is the dough to use if you choose to fry your pirozhki. It is very sticky and tender. It will make you frustrated. When Sara tried to rush filling and pinching them, she ended up throwing a few out. Be patient; do not rush. Flour your work surface well and only work with one pirozhok at a time. Take your time and you will succeed.

DEEP FRIED PIROZHKI/ ZHARENYE PIROZHKI

Ingredients:

For the Meat Filling/ Myasnaya Nachinka

15ml / 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 small onions, finely chopped

455g / 1 pound lean ground meat

2 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped

30ml / 2 tablespoons chicken broth

30ml / 2 tablespoons sour cream

8g / 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the 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 instant-blending flour

415ml / 1 3/4 cups warm milk (35°C / 95°F)

2 egg yolks, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

45g / 3 tablespoons softened butter

Vegetable oil, for frying

Method:

  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes till browned.
  • Add ground meat to skillet and cook until browned, breaking up clumps with a spatula. Transfer to a bowl.

  • Stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool completely before using. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and warm water.

  • Proof yeast for five minutes. Add 190g/1 1/2 cups of the flour and all of the warm milk to the yeast mixture.
  • Beat on low speed with a blender or by hand for two minutes, scraping down sides, until it is well-blended.

  • Cover with plastic wrap or a cloth, set in a warm place for about 2 hours. The dough should be very bubbly.
  • You can hear bubbles forming and popping actively. In separate bowl beat egg yolks with remaining sugar.

  • Add salt and beat for three minutes by hand/ 30 seconds with an electric beater. Add the egg yolk mixture.
  • Then add the remaining flour to the dough. Using the dough hook, beat the dough at moderate low speed.

  • Alternately, beat with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Add the softened butter and beat for a minute more.
  • Switch to medium-high and beat dough for 12 minutes. Final dough will be very wet, almost like gum-like.

  • It should pull away in strings when you take the beater out. Scrape dough into a generously greased bowl.
  • Grease the top of the dough by spraying it with cooking spray or brush with oil. Cover it with plastic wrap.

  • Set dough in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in bulk. The dough is now ready to use.
  • Refrigerate until ready to form pirozhki. To assemble, roll out half of the dough on a well-floured surface.

  • Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm or 1/4″ thickness and use a 8 – 10 cm or 3 – 4″ cutter to cut out circles.
  • Place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of a circle of dough and bring up the sides of the dough.

  • Pinch them together to seal the filling. Gently form the turnover into an oval, rounding out pointed ends.
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet or plate and allow the pirozhki to rise for about 30 minutes before frying.

  • They will not double but will look very puffy. Fill a pot or deep-frying with vegetable oil to depth of 10cm.
  • Heat to 190°C / 375°F. Line a plate with paper towels or use a cooling rack set over a pan to drain pastries.

  • Carefully lower 3 or 4 pirozhki into the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Remove the pirozhki from the oil and drain on the paper towels or the rack. Serve immediately. Makes 24.

Daring Bakers July Challenge

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