Monday, June 27, 2016

Long-time pierogi lovers, first-time pirozhki makers


This month, we embraced the wonderful world of fried food. Normally healthy eaters, and predominantly vegetarian, we turned to the dark side of oil and some serious meat consumption.

Sara (through longstanding family tradition) and I (through my Polish-extracted husband) are connoisseurs of pierogis, which are typically boiled and then baked or fried, and whose dough does not involve yeast. We were excited to try our hands at making Russian pirozhki (or piroshki) this month, which can be baked or fried, and which involve a very yeast-heavy dough.

Sara made the dough in advance, which, as we were warned, was very, very sticky and somewhat difficult to work with. Then we made one veggie filling, involving cabbage and mushrooms and dill, among other things.

And we made one meat filling, involving ground beef, onions, eggs, and more. 

 Then we folded up a whole lot of pirozhkis.

Fortunately we had some helping hands from another Sarah and my husband, TJ. 

Then into the oil they went!

Thanks also to Sara's husband, Will, who picked up and then fried up some delicious kielbasa while we deep-fried the pirozhkis. What a treat. In the end the pirozhkis puffed up to an almost doughnut-like consistency, without the sweetness.

This challenge was a huge hit and enjoyed by two sets of Sara(h)s and Wills, plus me and TJ. I don't think either Sara or I would ever give up our long-loved pierogis, but they've certainly got some delicious competition.

The Daring Kitchen:

Challenge Host (another Sara!):

Deep-Fried Pirozhki (Zharenye Pirozhki)


1 recipe Classic Meat Filling and/or Classic Cabbage Filling and/or filling of your choosing
We used a half recipe each of the classic meat and cabbage fillings below
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!

Classic Meat Filling (Myasnaya Nachinka)
Servings: 24


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.

Classic Cabbage Filling (Kapustnaya Nachinka)
Servings: 24


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.

Yeast Dough (Drozhzhevoe Testo)
Servings: 24


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.

1 comment:

Sara Stall-Ryan said...

Yay! I'm so glad you came over to the dark side of fried foods and meat!!! Your piroshki turned out great and I'm glad they tasted good. Thanks for trying something new :)