Thursday, 7 August 2014

Thursday Treat: Latvian Dumplings

While I was growing up, our neighbours next door were from Latvia.  The mother was an excellent cook and always made wonderful snacks and foods during the holidays.  One of her Christmas specialties was meat-filled dumplings very similar to pierogies.  Sadly she died of cancer before I thought to ask for her recipe but here's one that is quite tasty.  It's time consuming but worth it.

Latvian Dumplings

To make this you will need:

Large bowl and spoon
Small bowl
Wire whisk
Large skillet
Non-stick baking tray
Pastry board

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten separately
3 cups flour
1 lb lean bacon, finely diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

Heat milk to almost boiling.
Remove from heat and add butter, then add the salt. Allow to cool and add sugar.
In a small bowl, prepare dry yeast in warm water. Add to mixture.
Add 1 beaten egg to mixture, then add flour one cup at a time.
The dough will be stiff but sticky. When it begins to leave the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured pastry board.
Work enough flour into the dough so that it does not stick to hands or board. Knead for about 5 -10 mins. Cover bowl with tea towels or plastic sheet and leave in a warm place to double in size, about 1-1/2 hrs.

In a hot frying pan, fry the bacon quickly for about 5 mins without letting it crisp.
Remove any fat that separates and discard it.
Season the fried bacon with salt and pepper . Remove to bowl and cool in refrigerator.
In the same pan fry the onions until they are almost clear, but again without letting it crisp. Mix them in bowl with the bacon.
Preheat oven to 400 F.

There are then two ways of rolling out the dough.
METHOD ONE: Split the dough into two portions and roll each into 20" long strand. Cut each into 1" portions. This will give you 40 pieces.
METHOD TWO: Pinch off a piece of dough off that looks 1" cubed.
With your hands, roll and flatten each piece into a patty large enough to put a teaspoon of filling into the middle.
When filled, fold the edges over then pinch closely together, pinching the seam underneath.  It's important to not let any fat into the seams or the pastry will pop open during baking.
Place on greased or non stick cookie sheet.
Brush the tops with a beaten egg (for shine) and bake for about 12 to 15 mins until golden brown.

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