A pīrāgs (pronounced pee-rah-gs)is a Latvian ham-and-onion filled savory pastry. Full of trans-fats and glorious calories, this is not a snack for the faint of heart or weak of will (because no one can resist them and they will give you a heart attack in large quantities). No Latvian event is complete without these delectable treats and everyone who has ever tasted one will never want to pass them up ever again. They are the quintessential LV snack. They aren’t the quickest and easiest things to whip up either, as it takes several days and many man-hours to bake a batch from start to finish. Here is the recipe I’ve been trying to perfect…



2 cups 2% milk

1/2 cup softened butter

1/4 cup Crisco

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp salt

2 TBSP sugar

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 pkg dry yeast

2 tsp sugar (for the yeast mixture)

1/2 cup warm water

4 1/2 cups flour

1 egg


1 lb bacon

1 lb ham steak

1 sweet onion

pepper to taste


Instructions: In a small saucepan, heat milk to warm. In a seperate saucepan, heat the butter, crisco, olive oil until combined. Add salt and sugar to the mixture. Transfer all of the ingredients to a Kitchenaid mixer. Add the cardamom. In a separate bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Allow to foam (about 10 minutes). Add 2 1/4 cups flour to kitchenaid and start mixing on low speed. Add the yeast mixture. Cover and let sit overnight. In the morning, add egg, additional 2 1/4 cups of flour and 1 TBSP olive oil to mixture. Start mixing with dough hook until smooth. A second rising is fine but not necessary.

For the filling, mince the bacon, ham and onion in a food processor until combined. Cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8” thickness. Spoon meat mixture onto dough and fold over. Using a water-glass, cut out half-moons and crimp edges. Place on buttered baking pan. Baste the piragi with a beatned egg and poke holes with fork.

Bake for 20-24 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. They are best when hot out of the oven.


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