Danish Pies ‘Pirogger’ (Baked Empanada)

I have so long wanted to try out a healthy lunchbox recipe for Olivia. And since today is her first day ‘again’ in the kindergarten, I throw myself in the kitchen and try new lunchbox/snacks recipe for her.

Pirogger are the Russians’ answer to leftover food, and ideally, we have some leftover spaghetti meat sauce in the fridge. And that’s what I used for my Pirogger filling.

Pirogger are baked pieces of bread or pies with meat or vegetable fillings that are great for picnic or lunchbox or regular lunch when at home. Of course, the filling can be varied, so you customize it to your own taste and/or what you have in stock.

These Danish Pirogger looks like our Philippine Empanada, but the Danish version is much healthier because they are baked instead of deep-fry.

Philippine Empanada

This is my first time baking this delicious bread, and I’m so happy because my Pirogger came out perfect. Soft and meaty – I’m sure Olivia will love them in her lunchbox.

And in this healthier version of Pirogger, I’ve thrown in some durum flour for a few extra nutrients. Adding this extra whole wheat flour is just one of the little ways I try to help my family eat healthier.

I’ve made 12 big pieces of Pirogger so I could freeze some down and use for Olivias lunchbox or weekend snacks. You can heat them again.

How to shape Pirogger

Watch how to make Pirogger

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Please refer to my page – Common Baking and Cooking Conversions if you’re using other baking measurements.

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You will need:

  • 25 grams fresh yeast (or 8 grams instant dry yeast)
  • 250 grams (250 ml) milk, lukewarm (I used whole milk with 3% milkfat)
  • 20 grams (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) granulated white sugar
  • 50 grams (about 4 tbsp) butter, softened in room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 300 grams (about 2 cups + 1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 125 grams (3/4 cup) durum flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten + 1 tsp water, for egg wash

For the filling

Procedure (video):

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and remove from the heat. Pour the milk in and leave the mixture until it is lukewarm.
  2. Crumble the yeast in the lukewarm milk and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add sugar, salt, and durum flour, and then knead the all-purpose flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic. Take the windowpane test.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and leave to cover at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes.
  4. When the dough is ready, take it out on the table, punch it, and divide it into 12 equal portions. Shape the dough pieces into round balls, then roll them into flat circles with a rolling pin.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  6. Place one tablespoon of the filling and drizzle some shredded cheese (optional) on one half of the dough circle. Moisten the edge of the dough pastry with a little water and fold the circle together into a half-circle. Close the dough all the way around the edge with a fork. Place the pies on a baking sheet with baking paper and leave to cover it for 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  7. Brush the empanada with egg wash, then bake them in the oven for 15 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  8. Cool them lightly on a grill and wrap them in freezer bags while still warm. Please place them in the freezer where they can stay for up to 3 months.

Notes:

  • Instead of fresh yeast, you can also use instant or active dry yeast. If you’re using active dry or fresh yeast, remember to proof the yeast first by combining half of the lukewarm milk, half of the sugar, and yeast in a bowl and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.
  • You can also change the filling of your choice.
  • Use warm/room temperature water instead of hot water.
  • Whenever possible, it is always recommended to use weight measurements instead of measuring cups when weighing ingredients. 
 

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