Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Apricot Piroshki and Kolachki....the art of baking!



One the earliest memories of baking in the kitchen with my mom was that of making apricot piroshki and kolachki. I remember when all I was allowed to do was to make my own little sweet dough designs, which my mom baked and I got to eat. They weren't pretty that's for sure but I was proud of them. I use to watch with amazement as my mother's nibble hands cut out sweet dough rounds, filled each round with fruit filling then twisted and knotted the sweet dough into intricate designs. At that age I never imagined that one day I would be making them myself. 






Eventually I graduated from the egg wash apprentice to making these apricot piroshki all by myself. It was a learning processes that left me with many fond memories of baking in the kitchen with my mom at an early age. Maybe some of you may have had a similar experience making these delicious, sweet, and scrumptious goodies. If so you won't need any explanation on how yummy these apricot piroshki are. If you haven't made them before well there's no better time to start than today. 


I had a few requests for this recipe so today I'm going to share it with you. These are good to make anytime of the year but I think that a cold winter's day, when the snow is swirling outside, is the perfect time to stay inside and make these delicious sweet dough pastries. The house will be filled with the smell of sweet dough  and apricots baking. The oven will warm your kitchen, and the apricot piroshki will warm your soul. So while these pastries are baking in the oven, close your eyes and let the soothing smell of apricots take you away to warm summer days when these sweet tangy fruit are ready for picking. Unfortunately it will be a short trip because before long the oven timer will be buzzing you back to reality. Get your mixing bowl out and start making some memories in the kitchen today:)




~ Sweet Dough ~

 Ingredients:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast

Pour the warm water into a small bowl, sprinkle the dry yeast onto the water and set aside to develop. Yeast will dissolve, foam and become bubbly when ready. 

7 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups warm milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs (room temperature)

In a large mixing bowl combine warm milk, melted butter, olive oil, sugar and salt. Add eggs and blend mixture well. Add the developed yeast mixture and stir to combine. Start adding flour one cup at a time. You can use a wooden spoon but I find that stirring in the flour by hand works best. Add flour until you have a soft, sticky dough. You may need to adjust the amount of flour you add, therefore don't just add the whole amount at once. It's better to have a softer, sticky dough because you can add more flour when your kneading the dough. If you add too much flour the dough will be tough and stiff. Your pastries will not be as light, fluffy and soft if the dough is to stiff.  

Once you've added enough flour to make a soft dough, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough, until the texture goes from soft and sticky to smooth and pliable. Tuck in edges of dough, shaping it into a ball   Lightly oil the bowl and place gently place the dough ball back in the bowl (seams down). Covered the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel, put in a warm place to allow dough to rise and double in size

~ Apricot filling ~

500 grams dried apricots
2-3 tablespoon water
1 cup apricot jam
Sugar to taste - optional

Place apricots and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and cover with lid. Let the apricots steam for about 10-15 minutes Until apricots are soft and plump. Puree the soft apricots in a food processor until smooth.  Add 1 cup apricot jam, stir into pureed apricots until combine. Your mixture should be a smooth thick paste. I find that the jam adds just enough sweetness but if you find it is to tart then add sugar to taste. Reduce jam to 3/4 cup if adding sugar. Don't make filling to runny as the filling will run out and all over sheet when baking.  


~ Prune filling ~

500 grams dried prune
2-3 tablespoons water
1 cup plum jam
Sugar to taste - optional

Make the prune filling follow the same steps as above. If you want to make piroshki with both fruit filling cut the ingredients for the filling in half and make half a batch of both kinds. Any leftover fruit filling can be frozen for up to 1 month or just enjoy on toast. 



~ Egg Wash ~

1 egg

Beat egg until light and frothy. Use a brush to apply to sweet dough pastries. Set aside until needed. 

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How to make Apricot or Prune Piroshki



Make the fruit filling before you start making the sweet dough, this will allow enough time for the mixture to cool. After the sweet dough has risen and doubled in size it's time to start making the piroshki. Gently cut the sweet dough into 4 pieces. Roll each individual piece out at a time, on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out circle using a round cookie cutter. The size of the cookie cutter is optional. 







Once you've cut out the circle, place a tablespoon of fruit filling in the center in an oblong shape. Cut slits on either side of the filling not to close to filling and not to close to edge. Gently pull out the cut dough edges and twist the dough in your fingers, crossing the twisted piece over and through each other. Pinch to outer base. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.





 Keep working on the rest of the dough, to allow the piroshki to rise again. Once you notice the the piroshki have risen (approximately 1/2 hr, the piroshki will be puffy and doubled in size) brush with egg wash. Place in oven at 350 degree Celsius. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from sheet with spatula and let cool on wire rack or clean dish towel. 













How to make Kolachki

After the sweet dough has risen and double in size it's time to make kolachki. Gently cut the sweet dough into 4 pieces, Take each piece and roll gently into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the long shaped dough into 2 inch long pieces. Take one piece at a time, round out into a log shape, gently twist each end opposit each other to create a rope like twist design. Then shape the twisted log up and into a circular shaped design. Tuck the ends in and under, place on a lightly greased baking sheet. 





Keep working on the rest of the dough to allow the kolachki to rise again. Once the kolachki have risen (approximately 1/2 hr, and doubled in size) brush with egg wash. Place in oven at 350 degrees Celsius. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from sheet with spatula and let cool on a wire rack or clean dish towel.







You can use this sweet dough to make so many different sweet baked goodies. Roll the dough out and sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and walnuts/raisins to make scrumptious cinnamon buns.



 Get creative and make a filling out of your favorite fruit. You can make sweet buns sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with honey.  Once you've master making this sweet dough your on your way. Maybe you have a favorite sweet dough recipe of your own, use it to make these apricot piroshki. The choice and options are endless! Start making some memories in the kitchen with your loved one. 
I once read that Baking involves all the senses - touch, taste, sight, scent and even sound ( ever hear bread crust crackle as it cools?) There are few things more soothing than the aroma of bread baking or the sweet scent of cookies after a long day at school. 


This is the Art of Baking at it's best, right in your own kitchen.






It was a beautiful winter's day today. The snowflakes were so big and fluffy



Your never to old to make a snowman....



Icy beauty.....


Frozen Crabapples.


Thanks for stopping by,





Love Katya



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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perfection!G

Katya said...

Thanks G! I second that, perfection it is!!

Sita said...

What a wonderful blog you have! I was so excited to find someone else that makes the Apricot Piroshki's the same way my Russian Grandmother used to make hers. They look perfect! :-)

Katya said...

Thank you Sita, It's nice to find out that your Russian Grandmother made apricot piroshki just like these. My Russian Grandmother taught my mother and my mother taught me:)

Anonymous said...

the most delicious things i have ever made in my long life!

Anonymous said...

Thanks very good explanation of picture by picture. very nice hand work!