Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today at the Bakery

So today was the day I got to try my hand at baking at this cute bakery. It was fun volunteering there today. But nothing went quite as planned.

It has been a long time since I baked in any kitchen, other than my own. And I had forgotten how very much ones kitchen plays into the general outcome of what one makes. I had a whole slew of unexpected problems and outcomes. Everything turned out well in the end, some things very well, and it seemed people liked my things in general. I wish I had had more time to concentrate on making things pretty- not sure if the goal was quantity or if I could have made less and focused more on making things pretty.

We will see what the outcome of this all turns out to be- who knows maybe I will end up working there :) Thanks to those of you who stopped by and said "hi". I appreciated the support of friends.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sweets for the Sweet

Made for a friend: 
  • caramels with various toppings
  • truffles

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Latvian Piragi. Bacon Rolls

Growing up I ate these and we all loved them and knew they were something special from the old country, Latvia. Not until I first came to Latvia did I taste a real Latvian pirag with spekis. Spekis is a  smoked pork fat, something like bacon, and gives such a wonderful taste and aroma. These are an essential at any holiday occasion here in Latvia. You can buy them at the bakeries, or if traditions are strong make yourself at home, like we did for Easter!

Try these and make sure to eat them warm!


Prepared Yeast dough

At least 600 g. spekis or ham, or bacon. (When I make these in the USA, I use 1 pkg. bacon finely chopped and ham as well as ham. Do no throw the bacon fat away!)

1 chopped onion


1 egg- beaten and mixed with a little water. 


 1. Choose meet. This is what the meat I used looked like. It is thoroughly cooked and read to chop. If you use bacon  you will need to cook it. Do no over cook it. It does not need to be crispy. Add chopped ham and onion.
 2. Mix all meat together, and add onion. Cook just until onion is tender.
 3. Roll a section of the dough very thin, and put a teaspoon of meat mixture near edge.
 4. Fold over and seal.

 5. Cut with a cup. By using a cup and folding you save time and it helps make them all uniform in size. If you don't like using this method  you can of course make little balls and roll or pat them out as we used to as kids. I much prefer the method Aunt Baiba taught me of rolling them out like this as it is much easier and faster.

 6. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash

 7. Let rise and bake until golden. YUMMY

NOTE: My grandma always would brush them with water and sugar mixture when they came out o the oven to make them shiny. Aunt Baiba didn't mention this so I skip it. It does make them sweeter if you desire that.

If you have left over dough you can make it into cinnamon rolls, or poppy seeds rolls.

Warm left over ones before serving- they are always tastier warm.

Yeast Dough- Aunt Baiba's Recipe

Everyone has their favorite yeast dough recipe. One you turn to in any situation, one for rolls and sweet breads, etc.

Wanting to get a recipe as near to my husband's mother's as I could find I turned to her sister. Aunt Baiba, she is a good Latvian housewife. We get farm eggs from her weekly and I knew her recipe would be authentic both for Latvian apple bread, and Latvian Piragi.

Her recipe is shown as closely here as possible- since of course she does it all on impulse.


1 liter fresh milk (if you can find it, if not normal milk will work)
200 g. butter
3 pkg. fresh yeast or 3 T. dry yeast
3 egg yolks or whole eggs
3 T. sugar

  1. Melt butter in a large pot, this is where you will mix and let the dough rise.
  2. Add milk and heat until just warm enough to add safely add yeast. 
  3. Add yeast, eggs, sugar and stir well. 
  4. Begin stirring in flour until you have a soft dough. 
  5. If the dough is too sticky add some oil, and a bit more flour. 
  6. She does not knead the dough, she only stirs it with a spoon and tests the stickiness. She says not to add too much flour or the dough will be stiff.
  7. Keep adding a bit of flour and oil until you have a nice, soft, yet not too sticky dough. 
  8. Let rise.
  9. Use form piragi, or apple bread or any other sweet bread you desire to make.
NOTE: I always use this dough now when I make  piragi, and it is light, and fluffy and never too sticky if done this way. Go by your feelings when deciding if it is right as far as stickiness.