Piragi are traditional Latvian filled mini-buns, commonly served at special occasions
and holidays. They're wonderful as an hors d'oeuvre, or with soup; serve at room
temperature, or warm from the oven.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon Lora Brody Dough Relaxer (optional, but very helpful)
5 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound fully cooked ham steak, diced in 1/4-inch cubes (2 cups)
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1/2
cup of the water. Set aside. (If you're using instant yeast, skip this step;
add the yeast along with the flour.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining sugar, salt, and 2 1/2 cups
of the flour.
Cut in the butter, then add the yeast mixture. Stir in enough of the remaining
flour to make a soft dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it's smooth and
elastic, about 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning to grease the top, cover
with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Prepare
the filling while the dough is rising.
Filling: In a small pan over medium heat, cook the bacon. Drain it, chop,
and set aside.
Sauté the onion in the butter until soft but not brown.
Add the ham, stirring till it's combined with the onions. Stir in the caraway,
pepper and bacon, and remove from the heat.
Assembly: Punch the dough down, and divide it into four pieces. Working
with one piece at a time (cover the remaining pieces with plastic wrap), roll
each piece of dough into a 1/8-inch thick circle. If the dough "fights
back" (the dough relaxer helps prevent this), give it a 5-minute rest,
and resume rolling.
Use a cookie cutter to cut the dough into 2 3/4-inch rounds. Place 1 teaspoon
of the filling mixture into the center of each round, fold in half (to make
a half-moon shape), and pinch the edges closed.
Place the piragi on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Shape them
into crescents, and brush with the egg wash.
Bake the piragi in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 10 to 15 minutes,
or until golden brown.
Remove them from the oven, and cool on a wire rack.
Yield: 75 to 80 piragi.
Posted by Olga at Recipe Goldmine March 21, 2002 11:59:38.