P-dogs aka Piragi aka Latvian Bacon and Onion Turnovers

This has been a particularly crazy week, and with all of the running around I’ve been doing, I’ve had massive cravings for all of the most comforting, delicious foods I can think of. It was inevitable, therefore, that I should find myself thinking about P-dogs. These delicious sweet and savoury buns come with many fond memories for me, and in my experience there is nothing better for raising someone’s spirits than a bite of bacony bready goodness.

The reason why I call them P-dogs? It’s a long story, but let’s just say it involved an adorable mispronunciation by a young family member that stuck over the years.

Before you immediately jump on the bandwagon and buy all the ingredients, let me warn you: these are most definitely a labor of love. You will not make these quickly by any means (okay, to be fair, you may be an expert on Latvian baked goods and be able to whip up a batch in under an hour, but I have yet to master the art of quick baking). These puppies take time (teehee, puppies. P-dogs. Canine puns). That doesn’t mean I don’t think they are worth making however. You will be so grateful that set aside the hours it will take once you’ve taken your first bite.

A note on the picture above. I realize that these do not look like the traditional piragi you see in specialty bakeries (if you’ve ever seen one before at all). Typically, they are much more round, and in fact resemble more of a dinner roll than whatever quenelle shaped nonsense I have going on there. To that, I say who cares? They’re delicious whether you take the time to carefully roll them into perfect little bundles or if you just quickly pinch them together because your oven has been ready and preheated for forty minutes now and oh gosh you’re worried that the egg wash is drying out but you’ve only done the first dozen and the dough isn’t cooperating and what if you didn’t let it rise enough who can understand yeast and its mystical magical ways anyhow I don’t care what science has to say and…

Not that I would know what that’s like of course.

Please, please, please, don’t shy away from recipes just because they seem, and truthfully, are, kind of scary. Sometimes it’s the scary stuff in life that ends up being the most fun in the end, and you may just find yourself reminiscing about it later, wishing you could do it all over again. Some might say Seize the Day, but in this case, please, Seize the bacon.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 quarter oz packages active dry yeast
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp butter (yes, another tbsp of butter. Trust me, you need it for two different things. Set this butter aside)
  • 1 lb thick cut double smoked bacon, cut into 1/8” cubes (find the thickest cut bacon you can! Even if it’s the pre-sliced breakfast kind, that’s fine, but make sure it’s thick)
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste (depending on how salty the bacon is, you might not need a ton. It’s a preference thing though)
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream (or milk if you can’t be bothered to get heavy cream…)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Directions

Make the dough:

  1. Heat milk, butter, 1⁄3 cup sugar, and salt in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Whisk together the remaining sugar, yeast, and 1⁄4 cup water heated to 115° in a large bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in milk mixture, add flour, and mix slowly with a wooden spoon until dough forms.
  4. Get in there and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes (note: this sounds like a long time. It is. Your hands may cramp up, but don’t stop until the dough looks shiny and beautiful and smooth. I hate to say it, but you’ll know when it’s done. Try as best you can not to over knead it.)
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours (or possibly a bit longer, maybe 2 hours).

Oh what’s that? You have a couple hours to kill while your dough rises? Sounds like it’s time to make the filling.

  1. Melt butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and add bacon; cook, stirring, until fat renders, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add your chopped onion and cook, stirring, until onion is lightly caramelized but bacon is not crisp, about 6 minutes (Please don’t let the bacon get too crispy!).
  3. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.

Once your dough has risen, you may proceed.

  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Whisk together cream and egg yolk in a small bowl; set egg wash aside.
  3. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and cut in half.
  4. Working with one half at a time, roll dough until 1⁄4″ thick.
  5. Using a 2 1⁄2″ round cutter, cut out dough rounds.
  6. Place 1 heaping (and I do mean heaping) teaspoon of the bacon filling in the centre of each round, and, using one of your fingers, moisten the edges of round with egg white; fold over to enclose filling, and pinch edges together to seal.
  7. Transfer turnovers, seam side down, to parchment paper—lined baking sheets, spaced 3″ apart. Using a pastry brush (or silicone barbecue baster if that’s all you can find…), brush wash over each bun; bake until golden brown, 12–15 minutes.

Eat them while warm and fresh. They can be kept in the fridge for up to a week or so, but make sure you heat them up again before eating more.

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