Pirozhki(Russian) is plural form of pirozhok, which means a little pirog; is a generic word for individual-sized baked or fried buns stuffed with a variety of fillings.
Empanada is pastry stuffed with sweet or savory fillings, fried or baked. Empanada comes from the Spanish verb empanar, which means to wrap or coat in bread. An empanada is made by folding round/circular dough over a filling into a semi-circle and then sealing the edge.
Pasty is an on-the-go pie with a filling of meat and/or other savory ingredients.
Turnover is a type of pastry made by placing a filling on a piece of dough, folding the dough over, and sealing it. It can be sweet or savory and is often made as a sort of portable meal or dessert, similar to a sandwich.
Samosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, llentils, ground lamb or chicken. The size, shape and consistency may vary, but many versions are triangular.
Empanada, Pirozhki, Pasty, Turnover, Samosa,
To make any of these pastries, you can be very creative with the filling ingredients and choice of dough to create your desired taste.
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely cut
1 lb lean ground beef, ground turkey, finely diced chicken or **vegetarian
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
½ tsp salt
1 cup finely diced mushrooms (optional)
2 large boiled eggs cut in very small peices
¼ cup cooked peas, corn, finely diced/grated carrots (optional)
1 raw egg for egg-wash brushing
¼ tsp chili pepper or paprika (**or 1/2 tsp curry powder for vegetarian)
¾ tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup green olives, rinsed and finely cut (optional)
2 tsp dill weed
black pepper to taste
** For vegetarian, skip the part of cooking meat. Make the caramelized onion, add finely chopped boiled potato pieces, cooked peas or corn kernels, -skip the tomato paste- and spice it with curry powder.
- Add 2 Tbsp of oil to a medium sauce pan, on medium heat, sauté the onions until golden. Raise the heat to medium-high, add meat of your choice, mix while cooking, until it begins to brown. When meat is cooked through, add 1 ½ cups of water, bay leaf and garlic and bring to a simmer. Let the liquid reduce until it’s almost gone. Simmer for minimum of 45 minutes.
- Add tomato paste, salt and mushrooms and… (for empanada, also chili pepper, cumin, raisins and olives) and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Remove bay leaf. Add chopped, boiled eggs (for pirozhki, also dill weed and black pepper). Filling is ready.
- Cover ample space of top of the kitchen counter with plastic wrap, as workstation.
- Recommended three possible instant doughs are:
Frozen pie crusts: Great for flaky/crunchy finish… especially good for samosas. Follow directions on the box for thawing. Roll open crust-dough on the counter.
- Using a cookie cutter or a bowl with 4~5 inch diameter, cut as many circles as possible on the crust dough. Roll the scraps and make more circles. Either make round pastry by using two cut sheets, or for semi-circle shape, fold sheet with a filling inside.
Refrigerated biscuits: Good for more authentic taste. Follow instructions on the packaging (usually 8 pieces per package).
- Spread each piece with your fingers, as wide as it is thick enough so it will not tear, while maintaining its round shape.
Refrigerated crescents: Sweeter, buttery taste, it is my favorite. Follow instructions on the packaging (usually 8 pieces per package).
- Separate pieces by the perforations. Cut the narrower part of the triangle off. Smash the scraps together to make 4 more triangle sheets. Spread each piece with your fingers, as wide as it is thick enough so it will not tear while maintaining its triangle shape.
- Place the rack in the middle shelf of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place a rather abundant amount of filling in the center of each dough sheet, (for semi-circle pastry) fold dough over filling so that sides meet (for round or triangle pastry, cover with another sheet of same shape so that sides meet), press with fingers to seal and make edging, if so preferred. Press with tines of fork to form edge and seal tightly.
- In a small bowl, break a raw egg, add 1 teaspoon water and beat well.
- Place pastries on a baking-sheet (I prefer covering baking sheet with parchment paper) 3 inch space in between, since they expand. Brush pastries with prepared egg wash, all over on the top.
Follow instructions on the packaging of the dough, bake for 15~20 minutes or until shiny golden brown like the photos.