There is nothing better then a freshly baked pirags. As the older Latvians are leaving us, the younger amongst us have to take on the challenge. Linda and I spend many a Saturday afternoon making the piragi, which are devoured in less time then it takes to make them.
All my Aussie friends have always loved piragi as they are great with a nice cold beer!
12 Oct 2007 (Australia)
Yes the young ones have to take the challenge and make traditional Latvian foods, who will take over the older Latvians once they go, Latvan house (Melbourne) would never be the same no more...
13 Oct 2007 (Australia)
I use to take time in those tired Friday nights, to prepare some home meals together with my son (5 y.o.). Nothing catches better his attention than working some dough, so home-made bread, cookies,pizzas and piragi are his favourites. When it comes to piragi, he enjoys best the final part: a colour point on each variety (usually bacon, meat, spinach).Even if some purist may rise an eyebrow, adding the colour point has been key to success at home. Standing on a chair (usually barefoot)my son waits , toothpick in hand,ready to paint a red spot on meat ones, green on spinach, blue on bacon. Kitchen has always been key to the transmision of traditions, because it involves both your expertise and proven ancient recipes. It's an opportunity to build family rituals, so necessary in those uncertain days. And, yes, it's a way to connect ourselves with our ancestors. There is something mysterious and heart-warming about replicating the recipes of our childhood, of our people's history. So, next Friday, after a pause, there will be the usual turmoil in my kitchen, flour will be everywhere, and maybe we'll get stained with either egg, food-dye or tomato sauce. To me, it sounds like heaven.
16 Oct 2007 (Uruguay)
I just discovered this website and am so exited to find the traditional piragi included. My father was Latvian and I have always had an interest in our culture. I have been making piragi for holidays based on the recipe and method taught to me by my grandmother many years ago when I was a child. Sadly she, grandpa and my father have all passed on. I'm hoping to find some relatives through this website. In the meantime happy eating!
17 Nov 2007 (United States)
I'am looking for a dough recipe to follow for making pirags. Can't seem to find anyone with an exact measurements for the dough. Does one exist ?
26 Jan 2008 (United States)
I too, have just found this website after hunting down the recipe for Pirags (or as I used to call them when small, pee-rugs)! My parents were Latvian and my mother made them all the time. Now, I would like to do the same for my family. Can someone tell me the dough recipe?
25 Jun 2008 (Great Britain (UK))
It took me 30 years to learn how to make the little piece of Latvia. All my children are addicted to piragi... as said, there is no better way to instill Latvia in someone than to bless them with a taste of home.
22 Aug 2008 (United States)
I would like to know how much ingredients would be needed to make 150 Latvian pirags. My daughter is getting married and has asked me to make them for the wedding reception. I intend to use the frozen packet puff pastry sheets which I hope will be OK but dont know how much pastry sheets I will need and how much bacon and onion for the filling. Does anyone have an exact recipe for the filling? Is it bacon and onion or bacon and onion powder? What ratio of bacon to the onion? If anyone can help I would be grateful.
27 Nov 2008 (Australia)
I always make Pirags at Christmas for my very English family (I'm British/Latvian, I mean I was born in Woking, Surrey in 1952 to Latvian parents). Its my way of connecting with my late mum and dad. Mum always made HEAPS of them at Christmas, the aroma just takes me back to the fab "LAtvian" Christmases we had.
(The kids and my British wife love 'em!!)
17 Dec 2008 (Great Britain (UK))
My Latvian Papa (Tevs) taught me to make piragi just like my grandmothers. Papa is gone but I still make them for Easter and Christmas and other special occasions as I try to keep the Latvian 'tradition' going. The filling is simple... 2lbs. bacon diced very fine, 1 medium onion, diced fine and pepper to taste. Stir fry in a hot pan about 5-10 minutes but do not let too much fat separate. Remove separated fat and cool quickly in the refrigerator. For the dough I we use a sweet yeast dough.. 1/2 c milk, 1/2 c sugar, 1 tsp salt, 3/4 c butter, 2 tbsp active dry yeast, 1/2 c very warm water, 4 eggs beaten, 4 1/2 c sifted flour. Heat milk, sugar, salt and butter in pan just until butter is melted and cool to lukewarm. Mix very warm water and yeast in large bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 beaten eggs. Add 2 c flour and whisk until smooth. Add just enough of remaining flour to make dough soft. Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, using only as much flour as needed to deep dough from sticking. Place dough in large greased bowl; turn to bring greased side up. Cover. Let rise in warm place, away from drafts about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down, knead a few times. let rest 5 minutes. Roll out portions and cut circles. Place 1 tsp of bacon mixture in centre. Fold over, pinch closed and place on greased baking sheet. Let rise again. Brush with egg white & cold water mixture. Bake at 375F till golden brown; approx 10 minutes. You will not be disappointed! Baudīt!
22 Dec 2008 (Canada)
vit and ramona lanka
When I make my piragi i cheat and use frozen bread dough. They come out great!
24 Dec 2008 (United States)
I went to this website receptes.lv but I am wondering if you can recommend recipes that are printed in English? Thank you!
20 Jan 2009 (United States)
Edith (Rostoks) Connett
Just to comment that these piragi have been in my family for years! My father is Latvian, mom German. We as children made them, now I have taught my 3 Boys how to make them. Sometimes we cheat and use the biscuit in a can for the dough... just fold them over and they are good as well... same stuffing of bacon and onions. I am so glad to have found this website... I am Latvian/German decent.
16 May 2009 (United States)
My twin sister and I made fresh piragis today for our xmas lunch tomorrow. Our Latvian Nanna used to make them often and we want to carry on the tradition. They don't taste the same just yet... but gee, there is nothing else like them on the planet. A tip of the hat to my beautiful Latvian Nanna and her heritage.
24 Dec 2009 (Australia)
Sorry to tell you all who are using frozen puff pastry and canned biscuit dough. Those are longer Latvian piragi. The fact that Latvians use a sweet eggy yeast dough that is baked makes them different from other countries that make pirogi or calzones. Please try to make them with the right dough and correct filling to be authentic. You will be glad you did.
17 Jan 2010 (United States)
Arnis is right -- frozen or canned dough does not a piragi make! My Oma was my harshest critic when it came to replicating her amazing Latvian baked goods! She never came and helped me bake--or even let me bake with her. She gave me approximate recipes, I would make them and bring them to her for taste testing! She would analyze and critique and I would try again. My mom (who was also born in Latvia and immigrated to the US at 18 with her family) would always tell me how kind and complimentary Oma was behind my back. It made me better. I make her Alexander Cake, her yellow bread, her piragi, her torte and very occasionally her rupmize (sp?) Happy independence day to Latvia today!
05 May 2010 (United States)
What a wonderful and timely article! I'm the youngest of a Latvian family that came to Canada in 1948 - was born in Germany "on the refugee trail"- and did not even SEE Latvia until two years ago. My Latvian parents had four children - and ten grandchildren - now all married with kids of their own scattered across the continent. Since we have lost two of my siblings - and the oldest cousin - the next generation have formed a bond, created rituals for getting together, and a harbour a great curiosity about their roots. The 2nd Annual Cousins' Weekend was held near Ottawa last weekend - and from a Toronto bakery, 150 piragi made the trip up with cousin Kristine. They disappeared - TOTALLY within 48 hours - not a one left! My SIL Ausma is teaching HER nine grandchildren to make piragi - a significant part of their annual summer visits with her, one by one...wish my brother Ojars were still alive to watch and sample!
09 Aug 2010 (Canada)
My Latvian grandmother used to make these, I always knew them as speka rausi or English version speck rousse. My mother made them, my family made them and now my kids make them.Unbelieveable that I would find this site and read about all the other Latvian descents that enjoy these buns. I concure with everyone, they are the best handsdown, we always make them a Christmas. Thank you for finding me. LOL
13 Nov 2010 (Canada)
My mom is Latvian, her parents as well and when in Rega they owned and ran a bakery, They made Piragi with ham and onions, and of coarse the sweet yeast bread, my mom is 86 and it is to much work for her any more, but I now make them every christmas, and if any one should try to change the recipe at all would really upset my mother. It is the one Latvian recipe passed on in our family.
19 Dec 2010 (United States)
I agree that the authentic yeast dough is best, but if you don't have time, a frozen white bread dough gets piragi made in a hurry and is very much okay. I use bacon and ham (plus onion) for the filling -- make it a day ahead. Get the filling cold and hard before making the piragi to minimize the oil interfering with a tight dough seal. The piragi that open while baking (because the seal opened) are said to be "smiling." My father said in the old days in Latvia (1920s) the gana puiki (shepherd boys) would be given a large, fatty pirag (as large as a small loaf, the size of a man's hand) in the morning, for his lunch. The shepherd boy would put the pirags into his shirt (not having a lunch box or backpack). It was fattier than we like them today because getting enough calories was the goal, unlike today. My parents also told me that there were some status issues re the piragi. First there was the giant, fatty country-worker's pirags, described above. Then a medium-sized one, not so fatty, for the country family (the farm owners). Then, when you got to Riga, the piragi got smaller and leaner, depending on how fancy you were, until one got to the ridiculously small "builionu pirigi" or piragi served with beef broth, a sort ostentatious statement of gentility and higher culture for ladies' teas. Silly, in my parents' view, even then, and certainly later in America, in the retelling. (But always delicious, in any size!) In America, the piragi brought home from Latvian church bazaars were always a treat because each cook's style was a little different, and that was very interesting. But one's own family's favorite style is always the very best, just like for potato salad.
21 Dec 2010 (United States)
Mara... That sounds a little like the "cornish pasty" that we have in the UK. Ploughmen/farmers/tin miners would have beef and veg in a bread dough that had a VERY thick crust along one side (this would act as a "handle" so that the rest would not get dirty from their handling. I guess the crust at the end would be thrown away (no expense spared!). Well, I last posted here in December 2088. Alas, my beloved wife has passed away since, but I still make Pierags every Christmas for my new, extended family.
10 Dec 2011 (Great Britain (UK))
As my mother is now elderly and I want to keep this tradition in the family I'm having my first (unassisted) attempt at Piragi. Having a practice run this weekend before Xmas and look forward to sharing the results. Off to find a recipe that doesn't look too daunting online.
16 Dec 2011 (Australia)
Dace and Valdemars Zvanitajs
Very interesting reading all the comments about piragi, as we just finished making a batch for Christmas. We use a recipe from a Latvian cook-book "Cepumi Ka Vel Nekad" and the results are wonderful. The best way to eat piragi was to grab them from the pan just as my mother took them out of the oven and get a rap accross the knuckles with a wooden spoon as I stuffed it in my mouth.
18 Dec 2011 (Canada)
Bonnie Kupper Skala
Today my two sisters and I have our holiday tradition of baking piragi for the whole family. Christmas gifts to our brothers anf their family in California. Our Latvian grandmother instilled our love for these heavenly rolls and taught my oldest sister the recipe. We bag them up by person and send them off via next day shipping. They all need to find a good hiding place for their personal stash, as light-hearted coveting abounds! The baking is an all day affair ... at least four batches. A lot of hard work, fun fellowship, wonderful smells in my kitchen and PIRAGIS FOR ALL!
19 Dec 2011 (United States)
Just finished baking piragi for two days. My mother never had a recipe with the amounts of ingredients. All trial and error. Quite a few errors, but finally conquered the recipe. I do add about 1/4 cp of sour cream. Makes dough a little lighter. I make them for Christmas gifts since my mother passed away and I carry on the tradition. Tonight I will make Alexander cake. Wish me luck.
22 Dec 2011 (United States)
Mum was 8 when she and family immigrated to Australia following WW2. My grandma, Natalija Kurpnieks, was renowned for her cooking and baking amongst the Melbourne Latvian community. I remember baking day in her kitchen where enough dough to fill a baby's bathtub was kept warm in a bed whilst we baked. I never knew the latvian names of what we baked, we always called these bacon rolls. We also made poppyseed bread, baked cheesecake, fruit filled danish and sweet cheese filled danish. All made with the same dough. Recipes weren't written down and everything was done by feel and taste. Every year I left grandma's place 1 stone heavier after 3 weeks of good Latvian cooking.
29 Feb 2012 (Australia)
Can anyone help me, I am after a recipe that my grandma use to make. It is a small sweet bun. I am unsure of the name of the bun, and I am assuming it uses yeast. Is anyone able to help me please
21 Jan 2013 (Australia)
Stacy (Grods) Brown
I am so happy to stumble across this site. My vecmama is from Riga and is now deceased. Latvian pierogis (pronouceded piadogs in our family because of the kids who didnt speak Latvian) are the biggest reminder of my Vecmama. The smell of the filling (ham and onion) brings back so many memories. My sister and I will continue to carry on the tradition of making pierogis during special occasions.
13 Dec 2013 (United States)
My mother was from Riga. She left in 1944 with very little. She married a GI. We grew up in the USA having Piragis every Christmas. When I was young she would make the dough from scratch. Later in life she was buying a premixed bread mix, always with yeast. The smell of the yeast leavened bread with the mixture of Canadian bacon, bacon and onion wafting through the house. I am about to make a batch. Don't forget the egg wash.
13 Dec 2013 (United States)
My Dad is from Rezekne and escaped World War 2 with his family. My grandmother passed away before I was born but I did get a chance to taste her Piragis recipe a few times; simply stunning. I asked my Australian born mother for the recipe but it has been lost. I will try the recipe mentioned above from the family in Canberra, thank you for this.
22 Feb 2014 (Australia)