I want to share with you a recipe of my family's favorite meal. These Ukrainian hand pies are called pyrizhky or pirozhki or piroshky. They are made from yeast dough, stuffed with apples and fried to golden color. The pyrizhky also can have other fillings, such as mashed potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, ground meat, jam, and others.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes + time for dough to rise
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
50 g (1.8 oz) compressed fresh yeast
1 cup warm boiled water
1 cup warm milk
1 kg (8 cups) sifted flour
vegetable oil for frying
Mash fresh yeast with a fork.
Add sugar, 100 ml warm water and 3 Tbsp flour. Stir well.
Cover the bowl with film and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes until the yeast activates.
Pour the sifted flour on a table or on a board. Stir the flour with salt.
Form a well in the flour.
Add eggs to the well and mix with flour.
Add yeast to the well and mix with flour.
Gradually add warm water and milk to the well, stir with flour.
Knead the dough. It should be smooth.
Place the ball of dough into a floured bowl. Cover with film and a warn towel, leave in a warm place for about 1 hour (dough will double in size).
Once the dough has risen, prepare filling for the first pies. Cut an apple in half, then into quarters. Cut out the middle with the seeds. Cut one quarter of the apple into slices - this is the filling for one hand pie.
Cut off a piece of dough, form a ball, flatten it.
Place apple quarter slices in the center of the flattened dough.
Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar on top of the apple slices, add some cinnamon.
Pinch the edges of the dough to seal. Make sure the sealed crimps are on the flat side. Place it on an oiled surface.
Shape 4-5 hand pies for one pan.
Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan and preheat it. Put the hand pies in the pan with the sealed crimps down. Fry them on both and then on all sides until golden brown. While the first hand pies are frying, make the next hand pies.
Transfer the cooked hand pies to paper towels to drain excess oil. As a result, you will get about 28 hand pies. Serve the hand pies warm or a room temperature. You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can refrigerate part of the risen dough and make hand pies the next day.
The Mennonites, who settled for a time in the Ukraine (then known as Russia) by invitation of Catherine the Great to work the land, brought this recipe with them to the U.S. Similarly, a favorite of theirs is Verenika (often cheese filled) and still a popular dish.
My great-grandparents were among those who came to America in the early 1890s and settled in Kansas, and were among those who brought the Turkey Red Wheat seed to the frontier (the cheapest land), which then eventually became the Wheat Belt. For info, see www.goesselmuseum.com/.