Recipe For Piroshki Stroinska

Here is a recipe I found in Trader Vic's book of food and drink, published in 1946. First I will copy exactly what Vic Bergeron wrote in his book, followed by my updates and modifications.

This next recipe is really a gem. I got it from Theo Raspillar, who is just about the best cook I've known. She's a wonderful individual of Polish descent who has traveled the world over. She spends most of her time talking about cooking and eating and you should visit her home. Not only is she a good cook, she's clever. In her kitchen she has a large screen decoratively covered with menus picked up in her travels. For many years her friends have been urging her to open a tearoom. Because they like her food they think she should capitalize on it and cook for the public but, to Theo, cooking is an outlet for her creative instincts and her desire to eat the unusual. She has always taken keen delight, wherever she has traveled, in discovering how the intricate dishes were put together and usually she just experiments until she discovers the secret herself.

This recipe was her mother's, and she tells me that this flaky turnover was always served with Polish borsch, but I think it would make a hell of a canape at a cocktail party.

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup mushroom broth or stock

Salt and pepper

1 cup chopped canned mushrooms

1 chopped hard-cooked egg

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon onion juice

2 chopped chicken livers

Rich pastry dough

Melt butter, add flour, cook with broth until smooth. Add rest of ingredients and cook slowly until very thick. Cool. Roll pastry dough very thin and cut into 3-inch squares. Put spoonful of filling on each half and fold over. Seal edges with a fork dipped in flour. Put on a baking sheet and bake in a hot oven until browned.

There you have it, that is the recipe as printed back in 1946. It is quite a bit different than a recipe you would find in a modern cookbook. For starters, it doesn't give you any time or temperature for baking. It doesn't tell you how to make the dough or what is considered "very thin." I played around with the recipe and I think I have perfected it (no offense, Theo… my taste buds are just a bit different.)

Let's start with the rich pastry dough. Here is what I use:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 teaspoon of sugar

6 ounces of cold butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes

6 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of water

Put the flour, salt and sugar into the work bowl of your food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse a few times to combine and aerate. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add 3 of the egg yolks and pulse twice. Add the other three egg yolks and the water. Pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove and knead it a few times. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (you can leave it there for up to 48 hours.)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Take a pound of fresh mushrooms (I like too use Crimini) and put them into the work bowl of your food processor fitted with the multi-purpose blade. Pulse until chopped. Put into the skillet with the butter and 1 tablespoon of finely minced shallot (I use this instead of the onion juice.) Sautee until slightly browned. Add the flour and stir well. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and stir well.

Put the hard-cooked egg, parsley and chicken livers into the work bowl of the food processor with the multi-purpose blade. Pulse till chopped. Add to the skillet. I also add 4 minced garlic cloves to the skillet. Simmer everything over a very low heat until it is very thick; this should take about 30 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.

I roll the dough to the thickness of a nickel and use a beaten egg to hold the sealed edges together. After I assemble the turnovers, I chill them for at least an hour before baking. I also poke a fork through the middle of each prior to baking to allow steam to escape. I bake the turnovers for 20 to 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

These Piroshki Stroinska are delicious on their own, but I like them even better with a dipping sauce. I take 1/4 cup of sour cream and mix in 2 tablespoons of jarred horseradish.

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