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

 

Grapefruit Olive Oil Poundcake

photo by justin cathcart
photo by justin cathcart

Aside from chocolate desserts, a lemon cake is one of my favourite treats.  Since it’s also a citrus cake I thought I’d give this grapefruit cake a try, and I like it for the same reasons I like lemon cake – it is tart and sweet at the same time, and it is nicely moist.

This is the first recipe I am trying from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook that my sweetheart gave me.  And everyone who tried the cake liked it!

What you need for the cake:

1 & 1/2 cups flour

2 tablespoons grapefruit zest

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (I used yogurt)

What you need for the syrup:

2 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

What you need for the glaze: (optional)

1 cup icing sugar

2 tablespoons grapefruit juice

pinch of salt

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Rub butter in a 9×5 inch pan, then coat it with flour.

2. Combine the grapefruit zest and the sugar in a large bowl.  Rub the zest into the sugar using your fingers to release the oils.

3. Whisk the oil into the sugar mixture until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a measuring cup combine the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice.  Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top down, and tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake for 45 minute to 1 hour, testing with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.

6. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  In the meantime, prepare the syrup.

7. In a small saucepan, combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice.  Cook over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

8. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes and you have removed it from the pan, place it on a wire rack to cool.  Poke holes in it with a toothpick or skewer, then brush the syrup on top.

9. To make the glaze (although it would be amazing even without the glaze), combine the icing sugar, grapefruit juice and salt in a bowl and whisk until it is smooth.  Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and allow the glaze to drip down the sides of the cake.

photo by justin cathcart
photo by justin cathcart

Thank you Justin for the amazing photos!