Brighton Beach

Russian-Style Piroshki

By Leyla Shamayeva

Venture to the Brighton Beach area of Southern Brooklyn and you’ll find yourself face to face with the appetizing aroma of deep-fried, potato, meat, and cabbage stuffed piroshkis, so good that you just want to bring a whole bag back home with you.

Nothing beats the aroma of your favorite dish wafting through your own apartment though, right? These Russian-Style Piroshkis are a healthier take on the deep-fried version you’d find in the store. Plus, they’re super fun to make with friends or your kids.

The procedures shown below are for spinach-filled piroshkis, but you can choose to use any filling of your choice. Other common options include ground beef or turkey, mashed potatoes, and cooked cabbage.

Start off by buying the necessary ingredients. To make about 20 piroshki, you’ll need:

  • 1 pack of puff pastry dough, similar to the one pictured below
  • 2 pounds frozen spinach
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small bunch dill, chopped (amount to add varies by taste)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (amount to add varies by taste)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • sesame seeds

Also, make sure you have a large pan, a greased (or lined) baking sheet, a knife, a tablespoon, a fork, a cutting board, and a brush.

Begin your piroshki by removing the puff pastry dough from the freezer. Let it sit, still packaged, on the counter for 5-10 minutes to make for easier handling later on.

Mazor's Squares Puff Pastry Dough
While the dough is thawing, prepare your filling. Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the 2 pounds of frozen spinach and cook over low heat until completely thawed and most of the liquid is evaporated. Finally, add in the chopped dill and cilantro and let cook for another 5-7 minutes, until almost all of the liquid is gone.

As the filling finishes cooking, open up the dough. You’ll be cutting each square in half – whether you want to cut it diagonally to form triangles or in horizontally to form squares is up to you. Lay out the half pieces on your table for easy access, like shown in the background of the picture below.

You’re ready to stuff.  Hold each half square in your palm and fold in half, leaving an opening on the top. Gently squeeze the other side with your fingertip to prevent the spinach from falling out.

Puff Pastry Pocket for Piroshki

Add about 1 overflowing tablespoon of spinach into the half square and press it inside with the back of the spoon.

Uncooked Piroshki Stuffed with Spinach

Lay the filled half square on the cutting board and press the sides down with a fork to make the design as shown.

Prepared Piroshki Ready to Cook

Once you have all of your squares, arrange them on the greased or lined baking sheet. Make sure to work quickly, as the dough becomes difficult to handle once it is completely thawed.

Brush a layer of egg yolk on top of each one and sprinkle a dash of sesame seeds on top.

Bake for about 10 minutes at 350F, until the tops are a golden brown. Let cool and dig in!

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