Pierogui (Pot pie) or Pierozhki (Hot Pockets)
Yeast – 2 envelopes (1/4 oz ea)
Water – 1/2 cup
Milk – 1 +1/2 cup
Egg – 1 + 1 for brushing
Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup
Butter – 4 tbsp + 3 tbsp for brushing
Salt 3 tsp
All-purpose flour – 6 cups
Add yeast to warm water, add 2 tbsp sugar, let it sit for 10 min. Warm milk for 1 min on high in microwave, add 1 egg, butter (melt for 20 sec in microwave), 3 tsp salt, flour and yeast mixture. Leave the mixture for 2 hrs in a warm place (I usually put it in the oven – it isn’t on). Once dough rises, put it in a mixer bowl and knead with dough hook for 20 min. If you don’t have a mixer, knead manually for 20 min. Note: Dough will be far better if you leave it (after kneading) in bowl covered with kitchen towel for another 2 hrs – it’ll rise again, then knead it for 20 min more.
Cut the dough into small pieces, place it on a slightly floured surface, flatten it with a rolling pin, cut a circle*, put 1 tbsp of the filling of your choice in the middle, press edges and seal it tightly. It looks like a hot pocket. To save time, I sometimes form a rectangular, cut it into 4×4″ and after I put the filling, tear off extra dough. Put these “pierozhki” (hot pockets) on a greased baking pan spacing them as when baking, they’ll increase size, and brush each with a mixture of 4 tbsp and 1 egg. Let it sit for 20 min. Preheat oven to 420 F and bake for 15 min, lower heat to 350F and bake another 10 min until the color turns golden brown. Take the baking pan out, cover with a dish towel and let it sit for 20 min – that’ll make it juicier. We call these small hot pockets – pierozhki (plural) or pierozhok (singular).
You can also choose a rectangular, square, or round baking dish, though in Russia people use only big rectangular pans. Grease pan with butter, divide dough into 2 equal parts, flatten each with a rolling pan customizing it to the shape of the baking dish. Place one piece of dough on the bottom of the pan, add filling of your choice, and cover it with the 2nd piece of flat dough. Brush the upper crust with the mixture of egg and butter, let it sit for 20 min. and bake at 420F for 15 min and 10 min at 350F until the color turns golden brown. It resembles quiche, though dough tastes different.
You can use a variety of fillings, like spinach, cheeses, etc. Here, I’ll suggest most typical fillings for Russian cuisine. I won’t suggest to try all fillings at the same time. Choose one; otherwise, it’ll be too time consuming.
Green Onion with Boiled Eggs
Take a bunch of green onions, cut off white ends, and finely chop the green part. Finely chop 1 boiled egg. Sear onion on high with 1 tbsp of butter and 2 tsp of salt, so that it’s soft but retains color. Add egg, and mix it.
Cabbage and Onion
Finely chop 1 small cabbage or 1/2 of a big one. Fry finely chopped sweet onion until it’s light brown with 1 tbsp of butter, in another pan sauté cabbage with 1 tbsp of butter and 2 tsp of salt, mix cabbage and onions, add 5 finely chopped boiled eggs.
Fry 1 sweet onion in 1 tbsp of butter. Boil mushrooms (I use Baby Bella – 12 oz) for 15 min, discard water, chop/slice mushroom (I use food processor and slice it), add mushrooms to onion and fry the mixture with 2 tsp of salt. You may also add 3 chopped boiled eggs (optional).
Ground Meat and Onions Filling
Fry 1 sweet onion and 1 lbs of ground meat in 1 tbsp of butter with 2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of black pepper.
My family prefers meat filling, though you can use your imagination and come up with any kind. For example, another favorite (though not Russian, but American) – BBQ-ed pulled pork
*To speed up cutting dough, you can buy a dough cutter or use any dish with round edges. I’m using a bowl for cereal 5 3/4 inch in diameter. You can also cut a flatten sheet of dough into squares and after you add filling, seal it and tear off any extra dough.