Jan 7, 2010
In our family, we celebrate Russian Orthodox Christmas, which always falls on 6th/7th January. This quiet family holiday concludes the chain of season’s holidays. Yet the Christmas tree stays until 14th January – thus symbolizing the old-style New Year’s Eve which followed Christmas just as New Year follows Catholic/Protestant Christmas nowadays.
Look at our wonderful Ded Moroz (Russian Father Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden)! Aren’t their outfits beautiful?
For Christmas dinner Mom baked her specialty – super-fluffy, super-moist cabbage&egg Pirozhki (say Peeroshkee). They are perfect in their simplicity: there’s just that soft dough with a warming filling of boiled cabbage and eggs inside. Sometimes we sprinkle a couple of cilantro seeds on top. That’s it. This recipe doesn’t require anything else – just good mood, a few spare hours (because this is a time-consuming process), and fresh products.
Russian Pirozhki are always made in big batches – the minimum amount of flour for a top-quality, fluffy dough is 1kg. The recipe you’ll find below yields 32 pieces. Pirozhki can be easily microwaved or reheated in the oven (sprinkle them with water before reheating). They are great with chicken broth or vegetable soups as well as a standalone dish.
I strongly recommend not using a food processor at any stage of cooking Pirozhki. There’s that magical warmth in human hands that makes food special!
- For the dough:
1kg wheat flour, sieved
700ml whole milk, lukewarm
150g margarine, slightly melted
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
- For the filling:
1 small head of white cabbage
6 eggs, hard-boiled
Salt to taste
- For decoration:
Cilantro seeds (optionally)
1 egg, beaten
Makes 32 Pirozhki
Wash the cabbage; remove the stump and chewy white parts. Shred the cabbage and boil it in salted water for approximately 7 minutes.
Drain the boiled cabbage and add 150g butter.
Leave to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Dice the eggs. Combine cabbage and eggs. Season with salt so that the filling is slightly over-salted to your taste. That’s because the dough will absorb some of the salt while baking.
Combine 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tsp sugar, and yeast. Stir with fork until well-blended.
Add 1/3 of the flour (roughly 330g) and gradually add in milk. Stir to break any lumps.
Wait for about 30 minutes until the sourdough rises.
When the sourdough has risen, add in salt, margarine, and the remaining flour.
Knead the dough by hand until it’s smooth and non-sticky.
Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours (1 hour is enough in our Tupperware bread-rising bowl).
Divide the dough into small balls (ping pong ball size or bigger), roll out each ball, put 2 teaspoons cabbage&egg filling in the center of each piece, then seal the edges and tuck the corners under to form oval shape.
Brush each piece with beaten egg and (optionally) sprinkle a few cilantro seeds on top.
Lay the Pirozhki on a flour-sprinkled baking surface and bake on a medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Happy Orthodox Christmas!
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