Friday night for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies, we hosted a party where we asked everyone to pick a country to represent then bring a dish from that country to share. I picked the Baltic country of Latvia just so I could make these.
There is a pretty big Latvian community in the Twin Cities & if you ever go to one of their events or parties you are bound to see a plate of these Piragi. Whenever I say the name people assume I'm talking about the more commonly known pirogi. Piragi though, are little loaves of sweet white bread that has been enriched with an egg & then stuffed with a combination of onion, bacon & ham. When there is a batch of them available I can't get enough, so its a good thing this recipe makes a lot (though they do freeze well if you aren't as piggy as me).
These are irresistible hot fresh out of the oven but I think I like them just as much at room temperature. I think they are taste just the way they are but Matt thought dipping them in a little mustard was a good addition.
Piragi - Latvian Ham Rolls
2 1/4 t yeast
1/4 c warm water
3/4 c warm milk
1/2 c butter, at room temperature
2 t salt
3 T sugar
1 large egg, beaten
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
In a mixer combine the warm milk, butter, salt & sugar. Mix in the dissolved yeast, egg & 1 1/2 cups of flour & mix well. Add the remaining flour & mix to create a soft dough. Knead either by hand or with a dough hook in the mixer until the dough is smooth. This dough is quite soft. Put into a greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel & let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
5 oz yellow onion, finely chopped
5 strips of good bacon, finely chopped
1/2 lb smoked ham slices, finely chopped
1/4 t ground pepper
In a skillet over medium-high heat cook the onion & bacon until the onion is translucent & the bacon is starting to crisp. Add the ham & pepper. Mix well. Cool to room temperature before using.
1 large egg, beaten well
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 2-inch circles. Place a teaspoon or so of the filling in the middle of each circle. Fold the edges in over the filling & pinch to seal. The final shape should be like a little loaf of bread.
Place on a baking sheet that is either greased or topped with a silicone pad seam side down. Let rise again about 15 minutes. Brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown (mine took 11 minutes).
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 80
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