Thursday, November 20, 2014

Split Pea and Potato Pirozhki

I adore this samosa-like savory pastry not just for its delicious filling and crunchy shell, but also for a fun shape - your kids or guests will definitely appreciate it!

Blog's Category: Hors D'oeuvre, International, My Own Fast and Easy, Snacks, USSR-era Recipes


In Ukraine, we call it pirozhki. Pirozhki is individually sized, sweet or savory, pastry - various fillings are wrapped in a dough and then fried or baked. Traditionally, it's a grandma's responsibility to make pirozhki for kids. Every grandma has her own special pirozhki.

My mother's mom baked amazing pirozhki with a sour cherry filling - it was freshly picked cherries, just from a tree, pitted, with a spoon of sugar added right when assembling pirozhki. Baked, out of an old-style oven, these petite sweet pirozhki had thin layer of show-white tender dough with a paper-thin golden crust on a top. Generous amount dark-red cherry filling was oozing through light and airy dough with a flavorful syrup magically born off a fresh sour cherries and sugar.

My father's side grandma was making totally different pirozhki. Her's were huge, the half-size of a loaf of bread. I remember her pirozhki with potato (savory) and with a poppy seeds (sweet). Those with poppy seeds were my favorite. Poppy seed filling was made of soaked in a hot water seeds, which then were smashed in a special huge clay pot with a enormous wooden pestle into the soft and light, milky and sweet, paste. Never ever in my life I didn't see such a fantastic poppy seed filling as my grandma's. As any normal picky-eater child, I were grabbing pirozhki and sneaked outside where I was dividing pirozhki in half, devoured with a great pleasure all the filling and then fed doughy leftovers to excitedly noizy hens gathering around for a treat.

Coming back to our subject - pirozhki with a split pea and potato... This kind of savory pirozhki are very popular in Ukraine. I remember my mom making them. She usually used regular sour dough and fried these pirozhki in a sunflour oil. For me it's a whole lot trouble to make my own sour dough so I decided to make pirozhki using store-bought puff pastry. To go all the way, I thought why not to make something different.. different shape... some sprinkles on a top..See what I ended up with and whatever it is - I loved it!

What is it?

Split pea, potato and fried onion filling is wrapped in a puff pastry. Triangularly shaped and sprinkled with a sesame seeds, pirozhki, then are baked in oven. 

Taste Description

Tender and crispy, mild and flavorful, these puff pastry pirozhki are real pleasure to eat. It's fun to snap crunchy spike on one edge while comfortably holding with your fingers another one like you would hold ice cream cone. When it comes to the center of pirozhki, you will like this change from the crunch to the soft and tender pea mash with a light pops from a sesame seeds. Fried onion gives a nice underflavor to the filling, and potato makes split pea filling airy and mild.

How to Serve/Store

It's best if you eat them the same day. Although I was surprised that next day I enjoyed them out-of-fridge also!
Pirozhki survive easily for a whole day without a fridge. In a frdige, you can keep them for a several days.


Split Pea and Potato Pirozhki 

  • 1 pouch of dry green split peas (12oz?)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 7 tbs olive oil
  • 10 square sheets (7"x7" approximately) of puff pastry, cut in half diagonally
  • 2 tbs black sesame seeds (or white, or mix of both)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • salt to taste 
- Prepare filling: cover split peas and potato, all together, completely with a water, bring to a boil, then turn heat low and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour or more until peas and potato are completely soft and falling apart. If necessary, add some water during the cooking (I didn't need to do this). Take it of the heat. Drain water if it still has a lot of water. Mash it with a masher. Don't use processor as you will end up with a glue-like mass. Set aside.

- Cook onion on a skillet with an olive oil until it's nice golden color. Add fried onion to a pea mash, add some salt, mix.

- Preheat oven to 350F.

- Assemble pirozhki: on each puff pastry triangle place about one generous tablespoon of filling, bring farthest sharp corners together. With your fingers, press edges together, then using fork, secure edges tightly (see pictures below).  Place pirozhki on a baking sheet.

- Make egg wash by whisking egg with a 2 tablespoons of tap water. Brush egg wash thinly onto the pirozhki. Sprinkle with a sesame seeds.

- Bake in a preheated oven until nice golden-brown. Remove from oven. Cool it down and enjoy!



My split peas and potato soaked up all the water. 

To have nice and airy mash you have to put in a little elbow grease and use hand held masher. Peas and potato have to be completely cooked, there is no such thing as "overcooked" in this case.

that's fine to have your mash a little bit chunky - it adds up to texture.

I figured out that it's better to pile up a filling like this.

When pressing edges together pull the dough if needed to bring edges together, tucking filling inside.

Secure edges using fork, just like this. Wet edges with an egg wash if you are afraid they won't stick together. In fact, some of my pirozhki burst up (which didn't bother me at all :)). I'm sure egg wash would prevent it. 

I bake using silpads - love them, no need for greasing!

Egg wash is brushed on...

For experimentation sake I didn't put the egg wash and sesame seeds on these. They were also great but those with sesame seeds  (below) were more shiny and more fun.

I lo-o-o-oved these spiky handles!