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Russian Fish Pies with Pike

russian fish pies with pike

These Russian hand pies, called rasstegai, were traditionally made with sturgeon meat and burbot liver, and nowadays are often stuffed with salmon. I think northern pike is an even better option, and since it can be found in Northern Russia, even keeps to the dish’s authenticity. I like to place a piece of pike liver in each pie to enrich the filling, but that is completely optional. Serve with pike ukha soup, being sure to pour a little bit of soup into the hole of the pie before eating. 

  • Prep Time2 hr
  • Cook Time30 min
  • Total Time2 hr 30 min
  • Yield8 hand pies

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2.5 cups (330g) sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) milk with 2 tablespoons (30ml) set aside for eggwash
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) dry active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, for eggwash
  • Butter, for garnish

For the Filling

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1lb boneless pike meat, chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5g) black pepper
  • 1 pike liver, cut into 8 pieces (optional)

Preparation

For the Dough

1

Warm the milk in the microwave or a bowl of hot water until just past lukewarm. 

Combine warm milk, yeast, sugar, and a pinch of the flour in a large bowl. Mix well and let sit for 30 min.

2

Sift in flour, add salt and oil and stir with a spoon until it forms a sticky, shaggy mass.

Knead with clean hands in the bowl for about 5 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. 

3

Remove the dough ball and grease the bowl with a touch of oil.

Put the dough back in and cover with plastic wrap or damp towel. Leave somewhere warm for 30-40 min.

For the Filling

4

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. 

5

In a medium bowl, add chopped pike, the cooled onion and garlic mix, herbs, salt, and pepper. 

Set aside. 

Putting Everything Together

6

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C, gas mark 4).

Gently punch down dough in bowl, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. 

Cut the dough into 8 even pieces, then roll each into a ball. 

7

Using a tortilla press or rolling pin, roll out each ball into a 6-8” diameter circle. 

Split the filling 8 ways, spooning it into the middle of each circle. Nestle a piece of liver (if using) into each mound.

8

Pull up the sides to form a boat shape, pinching the edges of the circle together, but leaving a hole in the middle. Make sure the edges are sealed well.

9

Put the 8 pies on a sheet pan with foil or liner and cover with a towel. Leave to sit for 10 minutes.

10

Beat the egg and the 2 tablespoons of milk in a bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the surface each pie.

11

Put in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden. Once out of the oven, place a little piece of butter into each hole. Let cool just long enough to handle, then serve. Enjoy!

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