Pages

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Breadmaker Version of My Mom's Pīrāgi (Latvian Bacon Buns)

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

Absolutely nothing in our family home was coveted more than piragi, Latvian bacon buns. My mom rarely baked yet every now and then, especially near the holidays, something magical would happen. Mom would bake these sweet fabulous bacon buns that would remind her of home in Latvia. They now remind me of home in Toronto with my family.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

She sent me this Latvian Cookbook available only from the Latvian Canadian Centre in Toronto, as far as I know, a couple of years ago when I had decided to begin my foodie odyssey. I was shocked to find that there was not one quintessential recipe in there for piragi... there were three! And, none of them resembled my mom's recipe. So I called her up for her recipe and the following is a breadmaker adaptation of her recipe that she had printed in my public school's cookbook many years ago.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns) My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

The original recipe calls for nine cups of flour. When my mom made these, she was going to make so many that they would last. I decided to divide the recipe in half so it would fit in the breadmaker and make my life easier. Fill loaf pan in this order:

1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) milk
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 egg + 1 yolk
4 3/4 cup flour
2 3/4 tsp of yeast

Select dough cycle. As you can see in the photo above on the right, this made quite a wet dough so I added some more flour until it all came together. Always check on the dough when you use a breadmaker to see if it is too dry or wet!

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

I got one package of turkey bacon and my mom said to cut them into strips which looked weird to me. I ended up using a spatula to cut them into finer pieces. I also added one finely minced onion, some salt and a ton of pepper. You really want to go heavy on the cracked black pepper. Cook together on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, do not brown. Let filling cool. (BTW, if you can use regular bacon, do it. The flavour is irreplaceable. The turkey bacon is OK but it is not the same.)

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

OK, maybe you only need 2 tsp of yeast! I made the dough and filling the day before. I did not have enough energy to make it all in one day. I put the dough in a greased bowl, made sure it was covered in oil, then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge along with the cooled filling.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

The next day I divided the dough into four sections.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

You want to divide each quarter into 15 pieces. Roll into a ball, flatten until 1/8" thin.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

Fill with as much filling as you can. Seriously, this is my Mom's secret to the perfect piragi. Believe it or not, I did not have enough filling for all the dough! I suggest adding an additional 1/4 of a package to bacon to the filling.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

Pinch seam together and then use a glass to cut and seal the edge. Filling all those piragi took a while, even with me making only half a batch. Turn on the radio or some good music. You are going to be here a while.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

Whisk an egg with 1 tbsp of water to make an eggwash and brush on to the buns. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

Next you are going to need very strong and sweet coffee. Right after the buns come out of the oven, brush coffee generously onto the buns.

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

This is absolutely essential! After each bun has been brushed with the coffee mixture, cover with a tea towel moistened with hot water. Let the buns steam for a quite a few minutes but do not leave on too long or else they were wrinkle. Trust me, I learned the hard way!

My Mom's Latvian Piragi (Bacon Buns)

Yes, these take quite a while to make but for me, they taste like Christmas at home. I am missing my family terribly this year. This will be the fourth Christmas I spend away from them and I am more than just a little homesick.

These are of course not a substitute for family but I will indulge in the unique flavours of my childhood with pleasure and nostalgia.

24 comments:

  1. Yum!! I've been thinking about piragi this season - almost enough to make them :) Yours look absolutely perfect!

    Reading your description I see just how many things feel like little family secrets and/or a bit of family history. Remember the year we made them at my place and tried making them both with the filling cooked and uncooked? And the coffee wash is Grandma's special addition. It's absolutely amazing not only how many memories certain foods hold but also the preparations of those foods.

    I'll look forward to making these together again - though I may have to get both a food processor and a bread maker!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, these look and sound absolutely delicious! When I saw your post title, I thought "Hmmm, piragi sounds like perogy, but it says they're buns so they must be completely different." And of course they are, but still somewhat similar, having a filling and being pinch sealed. But they're also sort of like oriental steamed buns, aren't they? What I'm trying to say is: mmmmm, bacon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Jamie! Oh yes, I totally remember us making them altogether at your place. I can't remember if we liked the uncooked version better or not? I didn't know the coffee wash was Grandma's idea, so cool! I would love to make these together again but if we do, we'll have to make the nine cup version, LOL.

    Thank you Debra! It's true, they are kind of like a baked perogy aren't they? Just as much work too! Yes, the texture is similar to steamed buns, just with a golden exterior. I know, bacon, dough and onions... what could be bad?

    ReplyDelete
  4. These look beautiful Suzie and how much more special to have all of the memories and family treasures "baked into them". They look like they were well worth the time and effort! xoO

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, like Drebra said I thought from the title that these would be like a ukranian perogy! I love the idea of these, and as soon as I read that you brush them with coffee I was sold!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh I am SO going to make these this weekend! Thank you for sharing one of your holiday traditions.

    Do you use bread maker yeast or just regular old yeast?

    ReplyDelete
  7. So glad you like the stories as well as the look of them! The coffee glaze really makes these unique, you will love them! Tanaya, I used breadmaker yeast but you could use whatever, just not instant.

    ReplyDelete
  8. These look awesome! I've never heard of them before, but I think we'd love them!! I'm gonna have to try. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These look yummy. How unusual, bacon stuffdd and the coffee for a top glaze. It is so nice to have traditional dishes that remind us of family and good memories. Hope you are having a peaceful day today. I have been so busy lately, no time to visit many blogs.Talk to you soon. xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm practically drooling. Those piragi look so delicious. I'm going to have to try to make them.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I made a batch of these last year, and they are absolutely amazing! I might do some up this year for when my folks come over (I find them extremely addictive!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your recipe is quite different from mine. The dough is similar but you use way more sugar than I do. Your filling recipe is also different. All the piragi I've ever eaten here contain both bacon and ham in addition to the onion and everything is finely chopped and then cooked. I've also never heard of brushing the outside with sweet coffee.

    When I seal mine off, I pinch them closed and then fold the extra dough under to prevent the seams from popping open. It's the way my grandmother, my great-aunt and my mother taught me to make them. All 3 of them are also awesome Latvian rye bread makers. It's a shame my grandmother and great-aunt are no longer with us. I need to find time to have my mother teach. She's taught me how to cook so much delicious Latvian food that my husband and kids love.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So glad you made these last year Nigel and that they were a hit!

    LLL, well that is the joy of family recipes, the tweaking. That is similar to how I make perogies. Oh I am sorry about your family, I miss my Latvian grandmother so much too. I wish I had learned more about food from her.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I made piragi last night (using a different recipe, though) and now came across your post. How interesting to read about the coffee wash - i'm really intrigued! I wish I had known about it yesterday, I could have tried that magic coffee touch as well :)
    Greetings from Estonia!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pille, oh how exciting you also make piragi! That is so rare for me. Yes, absolutely, next time make a very sweet coffee wash, you will not be disappointed. Sorry you found the post a tad late but at least now you have an excuse to make more soon. :) So nice to meet you and greetings from Canada!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yeah, bacon patties are amazing! Everlasting value!
    The thing is - the name pīrāgi is soo widely spread and so wrong. Many people in Latvia would never call this pīrāgs. In Latvian these buns are called speķa rauši (rausis in singular, speka rausi - bacon pastries/patties). This is much nicer name and more Latvian.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well my family is directly from Latvia and would disagree with you. Maybe things have changed there since they left but that is what they were called when my mom grew up there. Thanks for the update though! Well done, I never got to learn Latvian and always wished my mom had taught me. Our incorrect pronunciation drove her crazy though, LOL. I love the language. Makes me feel like home to read it and hear it so thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My mother-in-law taught me to make PEDUGS. She did not like the bacon style of buns. They were greasy as far as she was concerned. She always used a high quality ham filling with quite a lot of onion and some pepper and a dash of cloves. Yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true, they are greasy which is why I like to cook the bacon down. Ham is a great substitute, thank you!

      Delete
  19. Joan Scott 26 June
    With my husbands help we have just made our version of Latvian perogies today.Smoky bacon,chestnut mushrooms,and sauted onions ,in.bread dough,plenty of blackpepper. Very tasty Just taking some to our Latvian neighbours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chestnut? Wow, that's a new one for me Joan but I love the sound of it. How wonderful for you to share with your neighbours too, I bet they LOVED them! Thanks for sharing your story and rendition of the recipe with me too.

      Delete
  20. Oh Suzie, I bow down to you and will forever be thankful. Not only have you supplied me with what tastes like the traditional piragis that my grandmother used to make. But you have also adapted it for the breadmaker. You, seriously, are my hero! I have spent YEARS trying to get that certain individual taste of the piragi yeast dough and have until now, failed to get the exact right texture and taste! I think the secret is adding the eggs and milk to the dough mixture. Up until now I've always tried out different varieties of just plain bread dough - doesn't compare! So I now have in my freezer over 6 dozen piragis bagged up waiting to share over Christmas. I started around 9.30 this morning and finished at around 8.00 this evening, but so well worth the time. I did have to make 3 batches of dough though so there was time spent having to wait for the breadmaker to do its thing each time! But thank you so much. I shall be doing another "piragi shift" in the next day or two to make sure we don't run out over Christmas/New Year! Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rieta! Thank you so much for commenting. You have just inspired me to keep on writing and photographing food, like giving me a big warm hug. :) I am so glad that you have the right texture and taste. It's such a treasure, isn't it? I'm glad you enjoy and appreciate making the dough in the bread maker. The dough is the toughest (no pun intended) part for me to do so getting around that worked for me too. Oh it is such an odyssey to make these, isn't it? But so worth it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your family too. I am so glad my mom's recipe will live on at your home with your loved ones too!

      Delete
  21. Re my above comment, sorry I came up as Anonymous, but I couldn't get it to post any other way. My name is actually Rieta! Cheers :)

    ReplyDelete