Latvian Pirages: Baked Bread Roll Appetizer with Onions and Bacon


Farmstead Chef recipe Latvian Pirages

These pirages (pier-rogz) come from my Baltic roots. It’s a traditional Latvian bread roll made on birthdays and holidays. They taste best hot from the oven, either fresh or re-heated. The bacon and onion filling is rolled inside the bread dough. Since you rarely go wrong with bacon, it’s hard to go wrong with this recipe.

I can’t remember a holiday or special occasion when pirages weren’t served, with a mother from Latvia and a father from Estonia. The big debate, of course, were the recipe variations between the Latvians and Estonians -- between mom and dad. Since my dad had a hard time boiling water, the Latvian pirages version was usually served during the holidays -- except for my Estonian dad’s birthday, of course.

Fun fact: imperfections are coveted for this recipe. Sometimes during the baking process, the seal cracks on the baked rolls and a little bacon pops out. Don’t panic. In the Latvian tradition, these special pirages are “smiling” at you. Think of that the next time your homemade jelly drips out of the PB&J or artisan farmer’s cheese melts off the side of the grilled sandwich. The mess is actually because of its hand-crafted, real ingredients. So, savor the joy of cooking at home and homemade goodness, like my husband John Ivanko and I write in our farm-to-table cookbook, Farmstead Chef.

Growing up, we always had Latvian Pirages on hand, in the freezer -- or in the "ice box" as my parents called it. Larger batches of Latvian pirages can be made, with some frozen for later use. The pirages re-heat exceptionally well. And the bite size treats tend to win over kids, too.

Farmstead Chef recipe Latvian Pirages on baking rack 

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