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Piragi

June 9, 2010

As part of my Eurovision celebrations, I decided to cook something that was traditionally Latvian. This wasn’t a random country I picked out of a hat – my father’s actually from that country, so it was he who I first consulted about what to cook. He suggested cooking things such as pork cabbage rolls (to be served with schnapps), sauerkraut (to be served with schnapps), rollmops (to be served with schnapps), and what I eventually cooked – piragi (to be served with schnapps).

I asked what the deal was with all the schnapps, and the only answer he could come up with was it was traditional to serve everything with schnapps. Fine by me.

Piragi essentially are bacon rolls. They can be served hot or cold, and can be eaten as a canape or a light lunch.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
500g white flour
250ml milk
150ml warm water
2tbl yeast
75g butter
25g sugar
pinch salt
1 egg
For the filling:
350g streaky bacon
50g white onion (around 1 large onion)
black pepper

Method:

You start by first making the dough, as this needs time to rise (I usually make mine the night before, but you can also do a quicker version on the day).

Mix the yeast with the warm water, and a bit of sugar to give it a kick-start. Let this sit for 15 minutes, until it develops a foam.

Sift the flour to aerate, and which will assist the yeast. Add the beaten egg to the flour mixture, then add the milk and the yeast mixture. Mix well, and knead for 10 or so minutes (adding more flour if necessary). Leave the dough in a bowl covered with a tea towel, until it has doubled in size (or overnight as I usually do).

For the filling:

Dice the onion and bacon. Saute in a non-stick pan until the bacon is cooked. Add some pepper.

Divide the dough into roughly 35g pieces. Roll into a ball, then roll out flat into a half-moon shape. Take roughly a tablespoon of filling, place in the centre of the rolled out dough, and press together the edges.

Just out of the oven - eat straight off baking tray, or serve on plate

Place on a non-stick baking tray and brush with a beaten egg. Leave for around half an hour to rise, then cook in a pre-heated oven of around 200 degrees for around 20 minutes (or until the piragi are brown) and cool on a wire rack until serving.

Serve with schnapps.

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