Sometime in the tail end of the Nineties, I remember being on a train coming back to Moscow after a weekend at a friend’s dacha. I was with two girlfriends, Lena and Natasha, and the weekend had been...rather jolly. The train was crowded and everyone was sweaty and hot. Each passenger was surrounded by their parcels, bags and baskets. A babushka entered the wagon holding a basket covered in a cloth. “Piroshki, pirozhki, gariochi (hot) piroshki,” she called out, selling them as she navigated the obstacle course aisle. Lena, who could be quite obnoxious at the best of times and even worse if she had a couple of drinks in her, joined in. She was a radio DJ so she understood how to properly project her voice. The babushka was not amused and no matter how much we scolded Lena, she persisted, carrying on long after the babushka disappeared into the next wagon. “Piroshki, piroshki, gariochi piroshki.” I can’t imagine we were very popular with our fellow travellers. It is impossible for me to think of piroshki and not recall that silly train ride.
Piroshki are commonly found in cafeterias and are sold on the street. They come with many different fillings both sweet and savoury: minced beef or pork, cabbage, egg, and (rather oddly) mashed potato. My favourite is mushroom filling so when I realised I had some mushrooms from my weekly Riverford vegbox I scoured the internet to find a good recipe.
The recipe I followed is on Prepared Pantry. To be honest, I remember piroshki to have a much more bread-like bun rather than a pastry dough like this but I went ahead and made these anyway. I followed the recipe, making no big substitutions. Although I did add a bit of dried dill to the fresh as my little dill plants are taking a lot of snipping with all this Russian food! The filling is divine. How could the combination of mushrooms and soured cream ever go wrong?.
My flour stocks have suffered from all this Russian cooking. The next dish will definitely not involve flour. And given the alliteration of priyaniki, pelmeni, and piroshki the next dish will not start with the letter P.
The virtual book launch celebration continues...