Fatty Ba­con and Onion Buns (Speķa Pīrāgi)

MAKES 20

SAVEUR - - Contents -

Ac­tive: 1 hr. 10 min. • To­tal: 2 hr. 45 min.

When made with prop­erly fatty ba­con, the fill­ing in th­ese rus­tic buns melts into an ir­re­sistible fon­dant of smoked pork and onions, each one in­dis­tin­guish­able from the other. To repli­cate the rolling, ra­di­ant heat from the tra­di­tional Lat­vian

cepeškrāsns (wood­fired ovens) that give th­ese buns their bur­nished tops, bake in a very hot oven for the first sev­eral min­utes of bak­ing.

1 cup heavy cream, at room tem­per­a­ture 1 Tbsp. plus 2½ tsp. su­gar 1¼ tsp. in­stant (not ac­tive dry) yeast 3 large eggs, di­vided 3¾ cups allpur­pose flour, plus more for dust­ing 1¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste 6 oz. fatty ba­con, cut into ¼-inch pieces 1 medium yel­low onion (8 oz.), diced (¾ cup) Freshly ground black pep­per Lard or but­ter, for greas­ing 1

In a large bowl, whisk the cream, ¼ cup plus 2 ta­ble­spoons luke­warm wa­ter, the su­gar, and the yeast. Add 2 of the eggs and whisk un­til smooth. Add half the flour and 1¼ tea­spoons kosher salt and whisk un­til the mix­ture is smooth, shiny, and stringy, about 2 min­utes. Swap the whisk for a wooden spoon and add the rest of the flour, stir­ring un­til fully in­cor­po­rated into a very soft dough. Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, then cover the bowl with a heavy towel. Set aside at room tem­per­a­ture un­til the dough rises a few inches (it won’t dou­ble), 60–80 min­utes. (When poked, the dough will be soft but shouldn’t stick to your fin­ger.)

2 Mean­while, pre­pare the fill­ing by com­bin­ing the ba­con and onion. Sea­son with salt and pep­per.

3 Pre­heat the oven to 425°F. Grease 2 bak­ing sheets with a thin layer of lard or but­ter and set aside.

4 In a small bowl, beat the re­main­ing egg with 1 tea­spoon cold wa­ter and set aside. Gen­er­ously dust a work sur­face and rolling pin with flour. Turn the dough out onto the sur­face, sprin­kle a lit­tle more flour over it, then roll out to a ⅓-inch-thick rec­tan­gle, about 15x12 inches. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash, then use a long knife to cut it length­wise into 5 even strips. Di­vide each strip into 4 pieces, mak­ing twenty 3-inch squares. Top each square with 2 ta­ble­spoons of fill­ing. Wrap one cor­ner of each dough piece over its fill­ing, and pinch the edges shut. Roll each on a lightly floured sur­face to make a fat dumpling with pointed, ta­pered ends. Bend the bun into a cres­cent shape and transfer to the bak­ing sheets, leav­ing about 2 inches be­tween each. 5 Brush the tops of the buns with more egg wash and bake for 10 min­utes, then lower the heat to 350°F and con­tinue bak­ing un­til the tops are a dark, golden brown, 20–25 min­utes. Serve warm.

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