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    Pumpkin pirozhki

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    Pumpkin pirozhki

    By Diana Henry

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes + resting
    • Cooking time: 18-20 minutes
    • Total time: 38-40 minutes + resting

    Makes: About 18


    250ml buttermilk, or kefir
    125ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
    375g plain flour
    2½ tsp dried active yeast
    2 tsp caster sugar
    2 British Blacktail Free Range Large Egg yolks, for the egg wash
    ½ tbsp milk, for the egg wash

    For the filling
    1½ tbsp sunflower oil
    ½ large onion, finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, puréed
    250g peeled and deseeded pumpkin flesh or butternut squash
    1 sprig thyme, leaves only
     40g Gruyére, grated
     25g feta, crumbled


    1. Warm the buttermilk and oil together for the dough over a medium heat, until the mixture is just warm to your hand. Put the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and gradually add the warm liquid, mixing well with a fork or spoon. When the dough comes together turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. The dough will be soft.

    2. Oil a bowl and put the dough in it. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. The dough won’t double, but it will swell.

    3. Get on with the filling. Heat ½ tbsp of the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until it’s soft and pale gold. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.

    4. Cut the pumpkin into cubes, about 0.75cm square. Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the pumpkin until a little coloured and soft. Add the thyme and season. If the pumpkin is still a bit firm, add about 50ml water and let it cook in that, but be sure to evaporate the water off. The filling shouldn’t be ‘wet’. Transfer to the bowl with the onion and garlic. Leave to cool, then add both cheeses and check the seasoning.

    5. Preheat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7. Divide the dough into chunks weighing about 45g each. Cover 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Fill the pirozhki one at a time. Roll each chunk of dough into a circle about 8cm across. Put some of the filling in the middle. Pull 2 sides up over the filling and pinch the edges of the pastry together. Turn the parcel over so the seam is underneath and shape into an oval-shaped bun. Continue with the rest of the dough until they’re all filled and shaped. Leave to gently rise again for about 20 minutes.

    6. Mix the egg yolks with the milk for the wash and brush each bun. Bake them in the oven for 18-20 minutes, until piping hot throughout. They will be a lovely golden colour. Serve with the borscht. 

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