Sauerkraut Filled Pastry – Pyrizhky Recipe
This recipe has been in our family since at least the late 1800’s. My great-grandmother was making these sauerkraut filled pyrizhky, she called “Kapusnyachky”, and my grandmother continued making them for her family as well.
My maternal grandmother always made these for me, as a special treat, on our visits with my mom. I was a very finicky eater, as a child, but these were my favorite snack.
Sweet treats were not as popular then, maybe because of high cost of many of the ingredients, as well as their unavailability. However, yeast raised baked goods were made fresh on regular basis.
One of my readers inquired about a recipe for these pyrizhky, so I promised to make them, and to prepare a post with pictures.
These pastries may also be filled with fruits, jams, buckwheat, sautéed onions, spinach, cheese, poppy seed, or even ground cooked meat. They may be eaten as a snack, an appetizer, or as an accompaniment to soups, or salads.
There is a similar pastry called “Pyrih”, or “Pyrohy” (plural), same recipe and fillings, but in a form of a sheet cake.
Some folks use the word “Pyrohy”, to describe Varenyky, which is totally incorrect. The word “Varenyky” derives from the base word “varyty”, which means to cook, hence these filled dumplings are cooked.
Pyrohy,or Pyrizhky, as you see in this recipe, are not cooked dumplings, but rather a baked pastry.
Next time you hear someone asking for “Pyrohy”, but expecting to receive “Varenyky”, please correct them politely, by explaining the difference between these two dishes.
My favorite filling is the sauerkraut filling, which I am using in this post.
This recipe yields at least 24 pieces.
- 1 package (3/4 oz = 21g) Fleishmann’s Rapid Rise dry granular yeast
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup whole milk, scalded
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg (to use as egg wash for the final step)
- 2 lbs sauerkraut
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 Tbs butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Filling needs to be prepared ahead of time, and cooled off, or it can be done during the time the dough is rising.
- Place the sauerkraut in a colander, and rinse for about a minute, under running cold water.
- Fill a 4 quarts pot with 5 cups of cold water.
- Add sauerkraut and bay leaf.
- Bring to boil, partially cover, and cook for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf, drain onto colander.
- Mix with a spoon, to cool it off faster.
- Cup your hands, grab a handful of sauerkraut, squeeze out the water from the sauerkraut, over colander, until fairly dry.
- Place the butter in a saucepan, warm up, add chopped onions, and saute until golden.
- Mix in sauerkraut, salt and pepper, and saute few more minutes, to blend the flavors.
- Set aside to cool off.
- In a small bowl, mix the warm water with 1 tsp. sugar, and sprinkle the yeast over the top.
- Keep it in a warm place, free of draft, for about 10 minutes, so the yeast becomes bubbly.
- Scald the milk, add butter, and cool to lukewarm.
- Mix the flour with the salt and sugar, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs .
- Add the yeast mixture to the lukewarm milk, then combine with the egg mixture.
- Add the flour, and mix about 10 minutes to form a soft bread dough. You can use a mixer with a hook, but I mix it by hand, just like my Paska dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, keep it in a warm place, free of draft, until the dough doubles in bulk.
- Punch down, and knead it a few times, cover it up again, and let it double in bulk, once again.
- Divide the dough in half, for easier handling.
- Place one half of the dough onto a floured work area, and knead it for a minute. I love working with the dough on a Silicone Silpat.
- Roll out into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Using a pizza cutter, or a knife, cut into 2 x 3 inch rectangular pieces.
- Spread a teaspoon of filling in the center of each rectangular piece.
- To close up the filling into the pyrizhky, fold over one side of the longer end of the dough piece, pushing the filling under, and keep on rolling to the other end, overlapping it. Before final overlapping, moisten the other edge of dough with a drop of water, to form a better seal.
- This is how they should look, once rolled and sealed. While you are working with the rest of the dough, turn them over on the seam, so they do not open up during rising and baking.
- Grease a cookie sheet ( I use vegetable Crisco shortening, since butter burns too quickly), and place the rolled pyrizhky, seams down, spaced enough to allow for growth, so they don’t stick together during baking.
- Beat one egg with 1 tsp of water, to prepare an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, dip it in egg wash, and brush tops and sides of the pyrizhky set up on a cookie sheet.
- Place them in a warm place, until they rise again, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, place the cookie sheet on a middle oven rack, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove onto a wire rack to cool.
- I quickly brush some butter on the warm tops and sides, to retain the softness of the crust.
These are absolutely delicious while still warm, but they are just as great at room temperature.
Once fully cooled, they freeze very well. Actually, if you do not plan to use them within a day or two, it is better to freeze them in a Ziploc bag, to preserve their freshness.