Fruit Piroschki – Mennonite Fruit-Filled Hand Pies

Mennonite piroshky - trust in kim

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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!

making piroshky - trust in kimpiroschki recipe - trust in kim


Rustic Apple Nectarine Galette

Wanting to use up some extra apples I had in my fruit bowl, I pulled out my friend Maureen’s pie pastry recipe and went to work on creating this galette.  It’s simple, and I added a little ground almond just to try something new.  Maureen’s pie pastry recipe is guaranteed to be flaky and tasty!

What you need for the crust: (enough for 2 galettes – you can keep half in the freezer)

2 & 1/2 cups flour

1 cup cold lard

1 &1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 & 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

9o mL ice-cold water

What you need for the filling:

2 apples

1 nectarine – unripe is fine

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary plus a sprig for the top

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 teaspoons sugar

What you do for the crust:

1.  Cut the lard into the dry ingredients(flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt).  I get in there with my hands, working the lard in until it is in pea-sized pieces.

2.  Beat the egg, then pour about half of it into another small bowl – this will be reserved for brushing on top of the pastry.  Add the 1/2 egg, vinegar and some of the cold water.  Mix with a wooden spoon until there are no more crumbly bits.  You can turn it out onto the counter the work the flour in a bit.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.  You can keep it in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a few weeks.  Just make sure it comes out early enough to be workable.

What you do for the filling:

1  Peel the fruit, then slice it thinly.  Combine in a bowl with the flour, brown sugar and rosemary.  Add the vanilla extract and mix it in.

2.  Take the dough out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you need to roll it.  Sprinkle some flour on the counter before placing the dough on the counter.  Roll it out into a rough circle until it is about 1 cm thick, working the edges with your fingers if they become jagged.  Transfer the dough round to a baking pan.

3.  Sprinkle the crust with the almond and sugar.  You don’t need to sprinkle near the edges, as these will be folded up.

4.  Arrange the fruit on top of the crust, then fold the edges over the top.  Brush the crust with the reserved egg. Place a sprig of rosemary on top.

5.  Bake at 450F for 40-45 minutes.  Check in half was through to see if it is browning too fast.  If so, just throw a piece of foil over the top.

I served mine with a little vanilla-caramel ice cream, but whipping cream would be great too, or just on its own.