Taavi is a first generation American, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Estonia after World War II. He's a great cook and I especially love it when I get an invitation to join Taavi and Stephen in their home for a traditional Estonian meal. Of course everything prepared in their kitchen is a delight, both exceptional in the cooking arts, but I was particularly taken by the Pirukad. This little pastry's substantial dough is tender and melts in your mouth. I like that it has a hint of sweetness, which nicely off-sets the savory filling. This Pirukad recipe is from Estonian Tastes and Traditions by Karin Annus Karner. Taavi received the book as a gift from his sister.
Presented below is the Parmitainas (means yeast dough in Estonian) recipe. The fillings are up to your discretion to make. These lovely pastries are great for brunch, appetizers or to eat with no other purpose in mind, but to enjoy them.
Note: Taavi baked these Pirukads, but they can also be fried in about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot or deep fryer.
Also, these little pastries take some time to make. It might be fun to share the experience with friends.
PÄRMITAINAS (Yeast Dough)
Makes 60ish small Pirukad.
4 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ cup warm water (from the tap works)
2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon salt
1 ½ cups half-and-half, warmed
6 cups all-purpose flour (Taavi used bread flour)
1 egg, lightly beaten (for baked pirukad, Taavi used two)
Mix ½ teaspoon of sugar into the warm water and sprinkle with the yeast. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then stir. Cover and let stand in a warm place to proof for about 10 minutes.
|add two packets of yeast to warm water and sugar|
|This is what the yeast looks like after proofing for 10 minutes.|
Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the butter, eggs, cardamom, salt, half-and-half, and the remaining 4 teaspoons of sugar.
Stir in the yeast mixture and slowly incorporate the flour and then knead vigorously for at least 5 minutes.
|Need vigorously for 5 minutes|
Add more flour if necessary, until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Put the dough into a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let it rise for about 1 hour. (Taavi adds about 15 more minutes on to that.)
|Cover greased bowl|
|This is what it looks like after an hour.|
|divide the dough into fours|
|roll it out|
Cut out the dough using something that is about 3” in diameter, a drinking glass works fine. Pull on the rounded cut, stretching it to an oval shape, place your filling into the center, be generous with the portion, brush the edges of the pirukad rounds with beaten egg and pinch shut. Seal with a fork and then brush the tops with egg. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden.
|seal with egg|
|crimp with a fork|
Taavi used chopped ham with spices and ground veal/pork with cabbage for the fillings. The fillings are already cooked before putting in the pastry.
|ground pork and veal with cabbage and spices|
|in the metal bowl has the chopped ham with spices filling and included in the picture are the ingredients to make the yeast dough.|
|Look at all these golden lovelies!!|