It is a festive Russian dish (the word ” pirogui ” comes from the word ” pir ” – “feast”). Pirogui – are big stuffed brioche breads, and pirojki are smaller. In Russia a lady of the house worthy of the name knows how to prepare “pirojki”. Pirojki sell like hot cakes in Russia and in Ukraine and we can buy it wherever. Culturally, they are weaknesses, snacks, fast mouthfuls that we savour to calm small hungers, in particular when we do not have time to take a real meal. Russia without pirojki would not be any more completely itself.
There are uncountable varieties of “pirojki” opened and closed, small, big and round or squared, baked or pan fried, sweet or salted. The most diverse ingredients enter the stuffing. A pirojki is thus always a small mystery – indeed, the dough is not always the same and the stuffing is totally invisible when it is a closed pirojki. The Russian lady of the house gladly marks their pirojki: they make rows of small holes in the dough with a fork; the number of holes is a kind of code which allows to know what is in the pastry. Giants pirojki are called “coulibiac”. This is an enormous pastry which can satisfy up to ten persons! The classical coulibiac is filled with fish and rice but the classical stuffing with mushrooms is also much appreciated.
They are made with some raised dough, but if you want to make your life easier, nothing prevent you from using some ready to use puff pastry, pie pastry or short pastry.
Preparation of the raised dough
- 800 g of flour
- 100 g of unsalted butter
- 300 g of milk
- 2 soup spoons of sugar
- 3 eggs
- 10 g of yeast
- 5 g of salt
- Dilute the yeast with the milk at room temperature by means of a whisk add the flour and mix little with a spatula.
- Beat slightly 2 entire eggs. Add in the mixing bowl the sugar, the salt, and half of 2 beaten eggs, keep mixing with the spatula but not too much. Then incorporate the rest of eggs, begin to work the dough with the spatula until you obtain compact ball dough. Then for more ease, you can continue to work the dough with hands on the work surface.
- Once the dough homogeneous, firm and smooth, you incorporate little by little the third egg, slightly beaten, always by kneading the dough with hand. As long as it sticks on fingers, it is not ready to receive more egg. Do not add flour as long as you knead thinking that you are going to unstick the dough.
- Knead again the dough approximately 10 minutes. When it unsticks well from the table and fingers, when it is supple and stretches easily, incorporate little by little the softened butter.
- Continue to knead the dough until it gets beautifully elastic, it must be smooth. Then make a ball of dough in a mixing bowl beforehand sprinkled with flour, and cover it with a dishcloth, and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour, 1 hour and a half.
- When the dough has doubled in volume, on a floured work surface, make it fall again, but do not knead it for a long time. You can now spread it. You can deposit the stuffing on dough disks which you fold up and you seal well edges by moistening them and by pressing strongly with fingers. Put then the pirogui or pirojki on a baking sheet and let them rise again for 15-20 min. Then, cover them with a beaten egg. Cook them in a hot oven (220 °) during 20-25 min. Check the cooking with a knife – it has to get out clean.
The stuffing can be varied infinitely. Give your imagination free rein! Here are for information purposes, some variants of stuffing.
Salty Stuffing Suggestions
1 kg of cabbage,, 3 hard-boiled eggs, 2 onions,, 4 soup spoons of oil, salt, pepper.
Wash the cabbage, remove the core and the withered leaves, and blanch quickly in some boiling water. Throw the water and refresh the cabbage under the cold water and drain. Cut it in small pieces. Glaze the onion in the oil, add the cabbage, the salt, the pepper and cook during 1 hour-1h30. Let it cool; mix with hard-boiled eggs cut in pieces.
600 g of fish filet, 80 g of rice, 2 onions, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 2 soup spoons of oil, parsley, salt, pepper.
Cook the filets cut in small pieces in the court-bouillon, cool it. Cook the rice, add cut onions and glazed in the oil, the fish, the eggs, the salt, the pepper, the parsley, mix the whole.
5-6 onions, 3 hard-boiled eggs, 10 g of butter, salt, pepper. Glaze the cut onions in the butter, season, and mix with eggs.
800 g of mushrooms of your choice, 100 g of crème fraiche, 2 onions, salt, pepper.
Cook onions and mushrooms with the crème fraiche, season, let it cool.
500 g of cooked meat, 3 onions, salt, pepper.
Glaze onions in a little oil, Let it cool. Cut the meat in small cubes, season, and mix with onions.
600 g of cheese like Swiss cheese, 1 soup spoon of mayonnaise, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1 garlic clove. Grate the cheese, chop finely the garlic, mix all the ingredients.
Sweet Stuffing Suggestions
You can increase the quantity of sugar in the dough intended to receive the sweet stuffing.
With fromage frais
600 g of well drained fromage frais, 2-3 eggs, 1 bag of vanilla sugar, 80 g of sugar.
Beat the fromage frais with eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar.
500 g of stoned cherries, 3 spoons of sugar Dust the cherries with sugar.
You can also use other fruits – pears, apples, bananas, peaches etc., cut in small pieces, or even some jam.