Bacon Turnovers (Speķa Pīrāgi)
These small bacon and onion pies are a staple of Latvian festive tables. We prefer double-smoked bacon, but any thick-cut bacon will do. Landon Nordeman
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These small bacon and onion pies are a staple of Latvian festive tables. We prefer double-smoked bacon, but any thick-cut bacon will do. This recipe first appeared in our May 2011 issue, with the article Riga Revisited.

Speķa Pīrāgi (Bacon Turnovers) Speķa Pīrāgi (Bacon Turnovers)
These small bacon and onion pies are a staple of Latvian festive tables. We prefer double-smoked bacon, but any thick-cut bacon will do.
Yield: makes About 60

Ingredients

  • 1 14 cups milk
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 13 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 14 oz. packages active dry yeast
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb. double-smoked bacon, cut into 1/8″ cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Heat milk, butter, 13 cup sugar, and salt in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves; set aside. Whisk together remaining sugar, yeast, and 14 cup water heated to 115° in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in milk mixture, add flour, and mix on low speed until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 1 12 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and add bacon; cook, stirring, until fat renders, about 6 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until onion is lightly caramelized but bacon is not crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.
  3. Heat oven to 400°. Whisk together cream and egg yolk in a small bowl; set egg wash aside. Transfer dough to a floured work surface and cut in half. Working with one half at a time, roll dough until 14″ thick. Using a 2 12″ round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Place 1 heaping tsp. bacon filling in center of each round, and, using your fingers, moisten edges of round with egg white; fold over to enclose filling, and pinch edges together to seal. Transfer turnovers, seam side down, to parchment paper—lined baking sheets, spaced 3″ apart. Using a pastry brush, brush wash over each bun; bake until golden brown, 12–15 minutes.

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