Iranian cooking covers some dishes that originated in Russia, which is not surprising considering the countries' proximity and history. And yes, Pirashki is one of them. Traditionally these are made with a yeasted dough that is deep fried and often sweet rather than savoury... However our family recipe uses puff pastry, since our grandmother wanted to use a dough that was more in line with the 1950s German palette... And it just stuck!
We have a very special relationship with these little pockets of crisp deliciousness. When we were growing up, our mother (Golnar) always made these when she had company coming over. Along with lime roasted pistachios, they would sit gloriously and teasingly in big bowls dotted around the living room. People go absolutely crazy over these! And so did we... We'd sneak one here, one there (much to our mother's dismay) until there were hardly any left. These are particularly good to snack on while enjoying a stiff drink or as a side with soups and stews! xo
500 g lean beef mince
20 g fresh parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
15 g fresh tarragon, leaves only, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp butter
2 x 320g rolls of ready rolled puff pastry, 2mm thick
Salt and pepper to taste
1 whole egg gently beaten with 1 egg yolk
2 baking trays
non-stick baking parchment
a glass or a round pastry cutter around 8-9 cm in diameter.
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan). Line both of your baking trays with baking parchment and set aside. Add your eggs to a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil on a high heat. Leave to simmer for around 8-10 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan on high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil, add the beef mince and season generously with salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat, and continue cooking on a high heat until thoroughly browned. Turn the heat down to low, add the herbs, cinnamon, red wine vinegar with 250 ml of tepid water.
3. Continue cooking, uncovered on a low heat for around 30 minutes, stirring every so often. Remove from the heat and add the butter. The mince should be juicy, if it seems dry add some more water. Add the chopped eggs and check and adjust seasoning, then set aside to cool completely.
3. In the meantime, prepare the pastry using the glass or pastry cutter, then fill and fold. The easiest way to do this is to put a cut out pastry round in the palm of your hand, add 1 heaped teaspoon of filling to the middle of the round. Dab a little water around the edges and stretch the pastry over the filling, then pinch to close. You need to ensure the pastry is completely sealed otherwise the pirashki will burst in the oven. Transfer to the prepared baking trays. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
4. Brush the pirashki well with the prepared egg wash and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 mins, until golden. We serve these as a simple bar snack or alongside hearty borscht or soups!