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Piragi: Latvian Bacon Buns

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Does anyone have a recipe for piragi? My "step-grandfather" is Latvian and gets them every Christmas from a Latvian bakery in Toronto. I have never made them, but have had a craving and do not know of any Latvian bakeries in my neck of the woods. Besides, I'm always looking for a new "cooking project" (I can picture my partner rolling his eyes). A quick internet search has turned up a few recipes, which sound straightforward enough, but I know that if there is a wealth of information to be found about any food-topic, I should look here first.

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In my opinion, being neither Latvian or Estonian (my wife is Estonian),

piragi appears to be the same thing as pirukad. These are stuffed

pastries with a variety of fillings.

A good modern cookbook is 'Estonian Tastes and Traditions' by Karin

Annus Karner which a friend lent to us. It has a number of pastry and

filling recipes.

Saying that it is important to remember that pirukad is comfort food

with all that entails :rolleyes:

I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Hi Khadija! My mother's family came from Latvia (to Philadelphia) and to me Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without these magical goodies. Even if my brother does goof 'em up by his incessant need to 'improve' on family recipes :rolleyes: Bless him, though; I certainly don't have the patience to do all that dicing - and you have to dice the meat by hand, otherwise you won't get that all-important mouth feel.

I'm a little nervous about the dough portion of my recipe for pierogs. I hand-copied it from my mom, who wrote it down after intercepting my grandmother's pinch-of-this and handful-of-that and measuring them. And, like I said, I haven't the patience to attempt them on my own, so I'm afraid it's not tried. So if you have a recipe you're happy with, I'd say go for it.

About the filling - I will say my recipe includes a lovely combination of about 3/4 lb. pork butt, 1/4 lb. bacon, and 1/2 a medium onion. Like Wayne said, there are other varieties, but we all know this one is the best :biggrin: Does it sound about like the other recipes you've found?

To hell with poverty! We'll get drunk on cheap wine - Gang of Four

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Here is a recipe for Piragi. You have to download the recipe.

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Are the buns themselves rich (egg enriched) with a hint of sweetness and a slow cooked bacon and onion filling? I have a recipe from Bernard Clayton's "The Complete Book of Breads" that is delicious, just not sure if it's what you're looking for.


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I just happened to see two friends who are native Latvians. I showed her the downloaded recipe that Swisskaese linked. She said that recipe is quite authentic, except that she used a filling mixture almost identical to that referred to previously- not just bacon, but ground pork as well. Their mouths were watering. She added that sometimes she adds just a little bit of chopped garlic as well.

Mark A. Bauman

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Thanks, everyone!

I did find a recipe for these on the internet awhile ago, which I downloaded and followed (I forget the source now). The recipe looked very similar to the one from Swisskaese, although it's not exactly the same (I don't have it in front of me now, and it's just too late for me to check, but I will tomorrow!) The piragi I made were very good, although at the time I only had a slab of pancetta, so they tasted like pancetta. They were good -- what's not to like about pancetta? -- but I would like to fool around with the filling a bit. I really like the idea of mixing pork butt with bacon!

Wayne, I will look into pirukad -- I have a good friend who is Estonian, and I hadn't thought about consulting her recipe file.

Tejon, yes the dough is rich and slightly sweet -- a very good foil for the bacon.

Markabauman, I was thinking about adding some garlic. When I made them, I wondered if garlic would be inauthentic, since I associate piragi with my grandfather, and he always says that he does not eat anything with garlic in it. However, since he cooks nothing but his own oatmeal porridge for breakfast, he doesn't realise that he eats garlic at dinner almost every day. So on second thought maybe garlic in piragi would be appropriate after all!

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