Cheese and mushroom piroshki
- November 2018
- Makes 7 small and 1 big, or 15 small mice.
- Hands-on time 1 hour 15 min, oven time 25-35 min, plus rising and proving
Piroshki – small pies made from yeasted dough – are a traditional Christmas food in Russia. They’re most often filled with a mixture of minced meat (pork or beef), cabbage or mushrooms, or even sweet fillings. They make a perfect Christmas Eve snack, served warm and fresh from the oven.
Our vegetarian recipe, made with cheese and mushrooms, are shaped into mice to portray the Mouse King and his soldiers from The Nutcracker.
- 9.7g (5.6g saturated)
- 26.5g (1.4g sugars)
For the dough
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1½ tsp fine salt
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- Pitted black olives, cut into tiny pieces for eyes
- 1 medium free-range egg, beaten
For the filling
- 50g butter
- Splash of oil
- 500g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 250g mature cheddar, grated
- 25g fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
- Juice ½ lemon
You’ll also need…
- 2 baking sheets lined with non-stick baking paper
- For the dough, put the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to combine. Add 300-315ml warm water and stir to bring everything together. Either knead in the stand mixer with a dough hook for 10 minutes or tip out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead for around 15 minutes until smooth and the dough springs back when lightly pressed. Put back in the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling. Melt half the butter with a splash of oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Once sizzling, add half the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook without stirring for a few minutes. Stir, then cook again until the mushrooms are deep golden. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining butter with another splash of oil and add the remaining mushrooms. Cook in the same way and, when soft, reduce the heat and stir in the garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the garlic is soft and fragrant – don’t let it get too golden. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the bowl and leave to cool. Mix in the cheese, parsley and lemon juice, check the seasoning and set aside.
- Once the dough has risen, gently knead it a few times to knock out any large air bubbles, then knead briefly on the work surface. Pull off a golf ball-size lump of dough and set aside to make the tails. If you’re making mice soldiers and a large Mouse King, pull off 7 x 40g pieces of dough, and leave the rest as one ball. If you’re making all little ones, divide into roughly 15 x 40g balls. Keep the dough covered with a clean tea towel while you make each mouse.
- Take one of the small balls and, using a tiny bit of flour and a rolling pin, roll out into a circle about 5mm thick and about 14cm in diameter. Try to make the edges thinner than the middle, rather than the other way around. Put 1 heaped tbsp of the mushroom and cheese mixture in the middle and bring the dough up and around to enclose it, pinching the edges together to seal. (If the flour stops the dough from sticking, moisten the edges with a little water.) Turn the ball over and gently shape it into a teardrop with your hands. Transfer to the lined baking sheets and cover loosely with a piece of cling film. Repeat with all the dough balls, making the big one in the same way but rolling it out to 1cm thick.
- Once all the dough balls are filled, firmly press the pieces of olive into the pointy ends of the teardrop shape to make eyes. Divide the reserved ball of dough into 7 small pieces and one bigger one, then roll each one out to make a tail. Drape them over the round ends of the mice in a curl, sticking them on with a little beaten egg. Set aside to prove for 30 minutes or until they’re puffed up again and a gentle finger pressed into the dough leaves an indent. While they’re proving, heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5.
- Once the piroshki have proved, use sharp scissors to snip ears from the dough just behind the eyes – being careful not to cut through to the filling. Press down the eyes again, brush all over with the beaten egg, then bake for 25 minutes for the smaller mice and 35 minutes for the big one. Transfer to wire racks and leave to cool slightly. Serve warm.
Make the mice up to a day ahead, then cover and keep in a cool place. Warm through in a low oven to serve.
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