Introduction: How to Make Estonian Pirukas
Every culture has their own take on a meat pie. For the French, it's a tortiere, for the Italian, it's a scaciatta, and for the Estonian it's pirukas (pier-oo-kaas). The Estonians add a little spin on the traditional meat pie by adding eggs and onions.
My family makes pirukas every Christmas eve and it never gets old!
I hope you will love it as much as we do!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
This recipe is very simple with minimal ingredients.
- 1 Package of stewing beef
- Beef Bovril (or beef stock)
- 7 Eggs
- 1 Yellow Onion
- Dough (Buy ready made or use a basic homemade recipe by following this link)
- Beef broth
---> This recipe makes 2 loaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Step 2: Make Your Bread
For the bread, you can either buy ready made dough, or if you prefer to make it yourself, follow this link and follow the directions. If you're making it yourself, it's best to make the dough first.
Step 3: Boiling the Onions and Beef
Take a big pot, fill it halfway with water, and add beef stock (follow directions on the package, as it depends on the amount of water you use). Put it on the stove. You'll need to dice the onion into medium sized pieces. Once you've cut the onion, add them to the water and let them cook until the water begins to boil. Once the water is boiling, add the beef and let it cook all the way through.
Step 4: Boil and Mash Eggs
While your beef and onion mixture is cooking, put 6 eggs into a pot filled halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, leave them for 10-15 minutes. Once they have cooked, take the pot off the burner and run cold water into the pan until all the hot water is gone. Let the eggs cool down for about 5 minutes. After they cool, you can peel the shells. Using a potato masher or fork, put the eggs into a bowl and mash them. Add salt at your own discretion.
Step 5: Put the Meet Into the Food Processor
Once the beef and onions are cooked, you'll need to take out your food processor. Using a ladle, scoop out the beef and put it into the processor, but make sure to drain out the water first. Try your best to only take the beef and a few pieces of onion. you don't want to get heartburn! Chop up the meat until there are no big chunks and it is thoroughly mixed with the onions.
Step 6: Preparing Your Pirukad
Take the dough and roll it out so there's about to about 1 and 1/2 foot by 1 and 1/2 foot. Make sure to put flour on the surface you're rolling out the dough on so it doesn't stick. Take the meat and pile it in the center of the rolled out dough. You'll want about a 2-3 inch border of dough around the meat. Take the mashed up eggs and pile them on top of the meat. Using the image below as a guide, cut the border of dough into strips, but make sure to leave a strip at the top and the bottom.
To braid the dough, take the leftover egg and crack it into a bowl and whisk it up. The egg yolk will act as glue. Try to dip your diners in the yolk quite often so the dough sticks well. You can never have enough egg yolk! You'll first start by folding the top piece over the meat and eggs. Then begin to braid the strips. Once you get closer to the end, fold the bottom piece over and finish off the braid. Push on the ends and top to make the most square-like shape possible. Once the shape is set, take some more yolk and brush it car
Step 7: Into the Oven It Goes
Once the shape is set, take some more yolk and brush it across the pie. This will make the dough a nice golden brown color when it comes out of the oven.
The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees. Put the pirukas in the middle of the pan, on the middle oven rack. Let it cook for about 30 minutes. The dough should be crisp, and a nice golden brown.
While the pirukas is cooking in the oven, now it's time to prepare the beef broth. You can use powder, a can, whatever you please. Heat it up and keep it warm (We like to use a thermos). I'll bet you're wondering what the broth is for. Well, we like to pair it with the pie since the salty broth gives it that extra kick.
Step 8: Voila!
After the 30 minutes are up, out will come out your delicious Pirukas! Give it 5-10 minutes to cool off. I know, I know, it'll be hard cause it tastes just so good!
Slice it up like you would bread, plate it, and eat it with the beef broth you heated up.