Our family would make these Latvian filled buns for special occasions. The family would all crowd in the kitchen to help prepare - someone chopping bacon, another chopping onions - and then everyone would help place the filling into the dough. My family would usually have to make double the batch, one for the day of creation, a 'taste-test batch', and the other for the special occasion (Birthdays, Christmas, anything else we could think of really). Piragi go really well with beer, and are great if unexpected guests arrive and you need to feed them. They are freezable and microwavable and most importantly delicious!
500 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
15 g instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
300 ml milk
200 g butter
200 g sour cream
500 g bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste (see note) *
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time: 1 hour
Cooling time: 1 hour
To make the dough, sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Warm 150 ml milk until it reaches blood temperature, then stir in the sugar and yeast, cover with plastic wrap and stand for 10 minutes.
Melt butter, add remaining 150 ml milk. Check it is all at blood temperature. Add both liquids to flour, mix to a soft dough. Knead dough until it is smooth, elastic and leaves the sides of the bowl cleanly. Add extra flour if necessary to make the dough come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough over so it is smooth on top, cover bowl and stand in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until it doubles in bulk. If you have no warm place I have discovered that you can put the oven on as low as possible, and place inside with the door open for an hour and it will do the same thing - plus heat the house in winter.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the fat has started to render. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden. Seasn to taste with salt and pepper ( You need a lot of pepper so it is quite spicy, about 1/2 will disappear when being cooked in oven so make the filling a quite a bit over the top!). Remove from the heat and cool. Punch down dough and add sour cream and extra flour if required (keep it tacky, not too much flour!). Divide dough into 4 pieces for easier handling. Break off walnut-size pieces or cut rounds. Press dough into 5 cm rounds, place in a teaspoon of bacon mix into dough and pinch sides together. Place join side down on baking tray. Brush with beaten egg and bake in very hot oven (230°C) for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Pirogi can be made in advance and frozen but they generally won’t last that long.
This recipe makes about 65 small appetizer-sized perogi. You can make them larger if you like.