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Pirog

Pirog is a big Russian pie which could have a savory or sweet filling. There is a great number of pirog recipes. Besides a huge variety of dough – leavenous, puff or sponge - there are also different types of pirogs, such as open (with filling on the top), closed (with filling inside) or layered.  Some kinds of pirogs are specially prepared for certain celebrations, such as matchmaking or a wake ceremony. Traditionally, in Russia, pirog was a distinguishing characteristic of a good  housewife.

During your tour in Moscow do not miss a chance to savor Russian pirog or pirozhki (smaller pirogs) in local eateries such as Mumu and Grabli  or local restaurants such as Taras Bulba.
Enthusiastic housewives might also try to cook one of these versions back at home. 

Here is the recipe of a cabbage pie

•    1/4 ounce dry yeast  
•    2/3 cup lukewarm milk  
•    1 large egg  
•    1 cup margarine, melted and cooled to lukewarm
•    1/4 teaspoon salt
•    1 tablespoon sugar
•    3 3/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour  
Filling
•    1 green cabbage, finely chopped
•    1 large onion  , chopped
•    3 tablespoons olive oil
•    4hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
•    1/4 teaspoon salt
•    1 pinchfresh ground pepper  
•    2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill  or 1 tablespoon dried dill

Directions:
1.    In large bowl, combine yeast and milk, let stand until foamy about 5 minutes.
2.    Beat egg lightly with salt and sugar, then add to yeast mixture. Mix in margarine.
3.    Stir in 3 1/4 cups flour, a cup at a time stirring well after each addition.
4.    Place dough on a floured surface. Knead gently until dough is smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes adding just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour to prevent sticking. Shape dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place, knead a bit and let it rest for 10-15 minutes more.

Filling:
1.    Blanch cabbage in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze to remove excess water.
2.    Heat oili in skillet and add cabbage, onion. Saute until soft and lightly brown about 15 to 20 minutes.
3.    Remove from heat and stir in eggs, salt, pepper, and dill. Let cool to room temperature.

Assemble:
1.    Preheat oven to 375°F. Divide dough into 2 nearly even pieces. Roll out to rectangle with rolling pin to fit the bottom of the pan with overlap. Spread the filling evenly, unfold it carefully over the filling and bringing the ends to meet the bottom layer of dough. Pinch or crimp edges all around.
2.    Roll out remaining dough to rectangle. Place on top of filling and seal by the ends to meet the bottom layer of dough. Pinch or crimp edges all around.
3.    Brush with egg-wash. Make slits with kitchen shears to allow steam to escape. Bake on center rack of oven until golden about 40 minutes. Check crust after 15 minutes.
4.    Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. 
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