Ukrainian Party Appetizers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Once the dough is ready, I put it out on a dry, floured surface.

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I cut the dough into smaller pieces and rolled out each piece into a circle, then cut it into eight sections like a pizza.

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Next step was to put a little bit of the filling on each triangle.

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To roll up each pirozhki, I folded up the bottom corners, tucked in the sides, and then rolled up towards the point.

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Once they are all rolled, I put them in a baking pan and let them sit so that they would rise some more.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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