Sunday, June 23, 2013

As Russian as it gets: little pies

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do was helping in the kitchen. The food tastes better for kids when they help making it, and in addition, being in the kitchen always involved listening the conversations of grown-ups, which I always loved. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom and with my grandma “babushka”, whom I went to spend every single summer vacation with, along with my sister and cousins. One of my favorite memories of those summers is making pirozhki with babushka.  Everybody participated! 

The literal translation of “pirozhki” is little pies. It’s one of the most versatile dishes you can make. All it is -  dough and filling. Filling could be sweet or savory. Some of the most traditional filings are braised cabbage, potatoes and scallions, mushrooms, apples or berries. Since my favorite is pirozhki with cabbage, that’s the recipe I share.


Little pies (Pirozhki) with cabbage filling 


For the dough
1 C milk
2 1/4 C flour
5 Tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
2 eggs + 1 egg for brushing
1 Tbsp dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tsp salt

For the filling
1 small cabbage
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt

In a bowl mix 1/2 C flour, 1/2 C milk, 1/2 Tbsp sugar and yeast. Mix well until there are no longer flour lumps. Place in a dry warm spot and let stand for about 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, warm the rest of the milk, add oil and salt, mix well and add into bowl #1. Then separate yolks from the whites. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and add them into the dough. Beat the egg whites well and add into the dough. Add in the remaining flour. Mix the dough well with your hands for about 5 -10 minutes. It's ready when it stops sticking to your hands. Cover with a clean towel and let sit for about 2 hours in a warm spot.

In the meantime, prepare the cabbage filling. Shred the cabbage, add it into a pan with the butter, season it, cover with a lid and let cook for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

When the dough rises, it's ready. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a glass as your cutter, cut circles of dough. Take one of them stretch into a size comfortable to work with. Fill it with about 1 Tbsp of cabbage filling, bring the sides of the dough together and with your fingers stick them together. Place a prepared pirozhok on an oiled baking sheet seam side down. Continue with the rest. Let pirozhki stand on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Whisk an egg and brush each pirozhok with an egg. Transfer into the oven. Let bake for 20-25 minutes until pirozhki are lightly browned.


Enjoy with a glass of cold milk.

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