This is a Russian national dish, eaten with borshch or clear soup on any festive occasion—such as birthday parties, etc. It is a popular way of using up the beef you have left over after making stock or soup. Some add a little cooked rice if there is not enough stuffing.
15 grams (½ ounce) fresh yeast or 1 packet dried yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
250 milliliters (1¼ cups milk)
550 grams (5 cups) plain flour (approximately)
pinch of salt
50 grams (2 ounces/4 Tablespoons ) butter
400 grams (1 pound/2 cups) fresh mined beef or beef boiled for stock
butter for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
2 hardboiled eggs
1 Tablespoon butter, if desired
I beaten egg, if desired
1. Cream the fresh yeast with the sugar in a little warm water. If using dried yeast, soften in a little warm water with the sugar. Gradually add in the warm milk and about half the flour. Beat well with a wooden spoon until the consistency resembles a rather thick pancake batter. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for about half an hour.
2. When the dough has risen to double its original quantity and is full of bubbles, add the salt, melted butter, beaten eggs, and the rest of the flour.
3. Knead by hand for about half an hour until the dough comes away from the bowl without sticking. The mixture should be firm enough to roll out. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise a second time in a warm place. This may take anything from 1–4 hours depending on the room temperature. When it has doubled in bulk again remove from the bowl and knead lightly on a floured board.
While the dough is rising the second time, make the beef filling:
4. Peel and chop the onion and fry it lightly in butter. If fresh mince is used, add it to the onion and fry for about 20 minutes until brown.
5. If the meat has already been cooked put it though a mincer or finely chop and mix with the fried onion. Season, then add 2–3 tablespoons water or bouillon and the chopped hard-boiled eggs.
6. After kneading the dough lightly on the floured board, roll the pastry out to about 3 millimeters (1/8 inch) thickness and line a greased baking tin with half of it.
7. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough. If desired, dot the filling with the remaining tablespoon of butter. This will help keep the filling moist.
8. Cover with the rest of the pastry. Pinch the edges and prick with a fork. Leave to rise again for a further half-hour.
9. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Brush the top with beaten egg, if you wish, and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
10. When ready transfer to a suitable dish, brush with melted butter and cover with a tea-cloth to prevent the crust from hardening.
Recipe from: The Best of Russian Cooking, by Nina Petrova