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What Is a Pirog?

By Eugene P.
Updated May 16, 2024
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A pirog is a pie of Russian origin, but it does not have a single set recipe. In general, it is a pie that is either double crusted, has only a top layer of crust, or is open-faced. The filling can be anything from apples to ground meats, ranging from sweet desserts to savory pies that can be served as a main course. Most preparations call for a rectangular pie that has a loose latticework pattern of dough on the top. Such pies, especially those filled with meat, tend to be eaten along with a type of sauce made from dill and yogurt or sour cream.

One difference between the various pirog recipes is the type of dough that is used. Simple pie dough made from flour, butter and eggs is used for recipes that involve jams or fruits. Dough that contains yeast and has been allowed to rise can be used for nearly any style of filling. A third and less seen type of dough is very fluid and can be prepared like a crepe or pancake, with the ingredients set among stacks. The shape of the pan in which the dough is set also can be nearly anything, although square and rectangular pans are more common than round ones.

A sweet pirog can contain apples or other fruits that have been cut into pieces or diced. Jams can be used as the entire filling, as well, although the quality needs to be good; otherwise, they might exude too much liquid or bake down into a thick, sugary lump. Another option is a combination of nuts, fresh fruits and cheese that is baked only until runny and then allowed to cool and set before being served warm.

There are a great number of savory pies that can be made. Some common ingredients that appear in savory pirog recipes include cabbage, diced hard-boiled eggs and onions. These ingredients can be complemented by meats such as ground beef or pork, salmon or shredded chicken.

With some modification to the basic dough recipe, a vegetarian pirog can be made. The pie can be filled with grains such as kasha, or can consist of just roasted vegetable with some spices. Mushrooms can be chopped, fried, and then mixed with onions to create a mushroom pirog. Rice also can be placed in the pie in a layer on the bottom.

Unlike a sweet pirog, the savory ingredients are cooked through completely and allowed to cool before being placed inside the pastry crust. Depending on the ingredients, an egg and flour mixture also is poured into the shell to help form a more solid interior. The finished pie can be served with a sauce made from chopped dill, sour cream or yogurt, and white wine, if desired.

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