There are plenty of dishes I could have chosen for Ukrainian week, but I had busy week and I happened to also be invited to a party, so I decided to make pirozhki to share with everyone.
Ukrainian food has a lot of Russian and German influences, and there are versions of pirozhki in a few different cuisines. Pirozhki, or pirozhok, means “small pie”and are baked or fried buns that can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. They are usually made with a yeast dough and I decided to make two kinds: sweet and savory.
To start making the dough, I heated up some milk and added the yeast.
I stirred the yeast into the milk and then let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I added some sugar and flour and whisked everything together. Once the dough starts forming, make sure to keep it at room temperature in order to have it rise properly.
Once the flour is well blended, I added eggs, melted butter, and salt. You can use a dough hook to mix the dough, but I just used my hands. I kneaded the dough until everything was well blended and then put it in a bowl, covered in plastic wrap, and set it in a warm place to rise.
While the dough was rising, I made the fillings. The first one I made had ground beef, onions, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.
The second filling I made was the sweet dessert one. I chopped up some apples and tossed them in a frying pan with cinnamon and a little brown sugar. I cooked them on medium low until the apples are fully coated and the sugar caramelized slightly.
Once the dough is ready, I put it out on a dry, floured surface.
I cut the dough into smaller pieces and rolled out each piece into a circle, then cut it into eight sections like a pizza.
Next step was to put a little bit of the filling on each triangle.
To roll up each pirozhki, I folded up the bottom corners, tucked in the sides, and then rolled up towards the point.
Once they are all rolled, I put them in a baking pan and let them sit so that they would rise some more.
Unfortunately, I decided to let the pirozhki rise and had to run a few errands. When I got back, I had let them sit a little too long and they had completed puffed up enough that they all squeezed together and formed almost a casserole type thing.
Still, one must keep going and there was nothing I could do about it now, so I brushed the top with melted butter and baked it anyway!
What resulted was a kind of pirozhki pie. I baked them until the tops were golden brown, and then I brushed the top of the apple ones with some sugar water glaze. The dough was nice and fluffy and they were a big hit at the party. I have to say, I think I enjoyed the apple ones better than the beef ones, but they were both a huge hit with all my friends. It wasn’t exactly a full meal, but since I created this challenge for myself, I decided that I was allowed to bend the rules slightly. And there was definitely enough work that went into these pirozhki to make it seem like a full meal.