My childhood was filled with these beautiful little pies, made by my Mom, Oma and Aunts, filled with various fruits and sometimes even meat. So I figured it’s about time I made them myself. Instead of using my Tante Kantja’s recipe (see below), which is the only one I had access to at the moment, I opted for the pastry recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. So while it’s not the traditional Ukrainian piroschki I grew up eating, it’s the same idea: a square pastry filled with fruit. Yum! My favourite result was the apricot/nectarine combination, but the blueberries were pretty good too.
I made the whole recipe, then baked a few and put the rest in the freezer. They were just as good when I pulled a few straight out of the freezer and baked them up for just a little longer than the pre-frozen version. I like them best when they are freshly baked, but they will keep for a few days.
This is a great picnic food!
What you need:
- 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very cold butter
- 1/2 cup ice-cold water
- about a pound of apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums or apples, or a combination of those
- 1 egg
What you do:
- Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into medium-sized dice and add it to the flour. Use a pastry blender or your hands (better if they aren’t too hot) and break the butter up, combining it with the flour mixture, into pieces the size of tiny peas.
- If it is a very warm day put the bowl in the fridge for a while to let the butter get cold again before rolling it out.
- Drizzle most of the water over the mixture and stir it in, adding more as you need it. Use floured hands to knead the dough briefly until it comes together in a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Before you are going to roll out the dough, chop up the fruit and sprinkle it with a little bit of flour or cornstarch and stir that together gently.
- Dust the countertop and rolling-pin (or wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling-pin) with a little flour. Cut the dough ball in half and roll out one half. Cut the dough into 15cm/6 inch squares and fill each with some fruit (pictured below). Run a wet finger along each of the edges of the pastry, then bring two corners together to and press them together; do this with each corner until they all meet in the middle. (See picture at the top of the page) Do the same thing with the rest of the dough.
- Put the piroschki into the fridge for about 30 minutes. While they are chilling preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with some parchment paper (optional – I didn’t have any and they didn’t stick to the pan).
- Crack the egg into a bowl add a teaspoon of water; mix with a fork. Use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with the egg.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are a beautiful golden brown. Let cool only slightly before devouring.
If you are not baking for a large crowd I advise that you freeze part of the batch for a later date. Just put the baking sheet into the freezer until they are solid, then but them into a freezer bag. To bake just take a few out of the freezer and place them on a pan and into a preheated oven, 375 F for 35-45 minutes. Just as yummy as the first batch!