Calzones, empanadas, knish, pasty, pirozhki — all cuisines have similar stuffed foods. They may have different names, but these easy-to-hold and easy-to-eat snacks are very similar; a sweet or savory filling wrapped inside some kind of pastry.
Which means you have plenty of options to consider if you plan on entering the Strut Your Stuff recipe challenge at this year’s Walworth County Fair in Elkhorn.
Strut Your Stuff recipe challenge
When: 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2
Where: Old World Artisan Market Village, Walworth County Fair, Elkhorn
Details: No entry fee, open to all ages, WalworthCountyFair.com
A calzone is an Italian oven-baked, folded pizza dough that originated in Naples. A typical calzone is stuffed with salami or ham, pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.
An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of Latin America and in Spain. The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.
A knish is an Eastern European snack food consisting of a filling covered with dough that is either baked, grilled or deep fried.
When Cornish miners migrated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1800s, they brought with them their beloved national dish: the pasty, stuffed with meat and potatoes.
Russian pirozhki, small pies, surround a savory cheese and beef filling. This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour.
4 cups flour
1/3 cup sour cream
6 Tbsps. butter, softened
1/2 cup warm water
2 large eggs
2 Tbsps. sugar
1-1/2 tsps. salt
2 tsps. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
8 oz. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. parsley, dried
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, to brush on dough
To make the dough: Combine all the dough ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer or bread machine — until a soft, smooth dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow to rest for about 90 minutes, until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat the oil in a saute pan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, ground beef and mushrooms and cook for five to 10 minutes, breaking the meat up as it browns, until it’s cooked through. Drain excess liquid and fat.
Season the filling with salt, pepper and parsley, remove it from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Stir in the cheese. The filling can be made ahead of time, then wrapped and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble the pirozhki:?Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into balls and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch between them. Cover the dough balls and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes.
Shape each ball into a flattened round about 5 inches in diameter, brush the surface with some of the egg/water wash and place 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center of each round.
Pull the dough over the filling, pinching two opposite edges together tightly to seal in the filling; it should look like a dumpling.
Place the buns on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover the buns and allow them to rise for 1 hour or until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 400 toward the end of the rising time.
Brush the buns with the remaining egg wash. Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t worry if some of the seams have come undone and the filling is visible; they will be delicious either way.
Remove the buns from the oven and allow them to cool for five to 10 minutes before serving.