Rich, sweet rolls with savory centers are a memorable treat with borscht or at a holiday buffet.
They are a fair bit of work, but most can be done a day or two in advance. You can schedule various steps like preparing the filling(s) at your convenience.
Endless variations of the recipe and pronunciation are to be had from all over Eastern Europe. To me, this family recipe is the definitive one.
Below is one recipe for a mushroom and dill filling. Make a batch with more than one filling for an element of surprise when serving. The fillings are where you should be inventive. Pick a combination from this list or try something else: Saute in butter, bacon fat, etc: finely shredded carrot, cabbage, onion, bacon bits, ground meat. Season with: paprika, mustard, garlic, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix with a little flour, and sour cream or water or other liquid for a spoonable consistency. Plain sauerkraut makes a fine filling. Some people use seasoned mashed potatoes.
1Combine the water, teaspoon of sugar, yeast and let it bubble up.
2In a big bowl, beat 3 eggs and one yolk. (Save the white for a wash before baking). Mix in the milk, butter, sugar, salt, yeast mixture and half the flour.
1Slowly add the rest of the flour. Keep chunking it up with a big wooden spoon. It should get smooth, yellow and shiny and not stick to the bowl or spoon. Form it into a ball, cover loosely and let it rise in a cool place overnight or in a warm place until it doubles in size.
2Make the filling. Gently saute the mushrooms and garlic in the fat until they cook way down. If there is a little juice left in the pan, you can sprinkle in a little flour.
3Add the dill and sour cream. Season to taste. You want a moist spreadable paste. If you make 2 fillings, this is more than you will need. No problem, it can keep a few days and is great on crackers or as a sandwich ingredient.
4Lightly grease a baking sheet.
1Knead the dough on floured surface. Do not overdo it, just knead enough to get all the air out of it.
2Pinch off an egg sized piece and flatten it out. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling on the center and pull the sides up over it. Pinch the edges together and place it seam side down on the baking sheet. You should get about 24 piroshkis.
3Let them rise loosely covered in a warm place for about an hour, until they look puffy. If the timing is better for you, you can let them rise overnight in the refrigerator.
4Preheat oven to 375.
5For a glossy crust: Mix a teaspoon of water with the eggwhite and brush on before baking.
6For a richer, softer crust, brush with melted butter. Better yet, do some of each.
7Immediately after placing in the oven, lower heat to 350. Bake about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Test with a toothpick. When no dough sticks to it, they are done.
Member recipes are not tested by the CHOW food team.