Legendary Dishes | Speķa Pīrāgi (bread rolls stuffed with pork crackling / bacon)

Latvia

Focaccia made with ciccioli, the crackling indigenous to Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, is a treasure losing its glitter. Štruklji, the Slovenian stretched thin dough spread with a variety of fillings, is rarely made with crackling anymore. And speķa pīrāgi, the delightful little Latvian bread buns made with crispy bacon, are also losing their appeal. So this is our tribute to a wonderful creation that we hope will make a comeback.

600 g strong white wheat flour
250 ml kefir
250 g bacon / pork belly, cubed small, fried until crisp
100 g onions, fried in lard or oil
100 g potato, mashed
1 egg, beaten
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
50 g lard / oil
30 g sour cream
30 g sour dough
25 ml milk
25 g butter
25 g sugar
25 g yeast
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp cardamom, ground
1 tsp black pepper 
Salt, large pinch
 

Mix sugar and cardamoms in a small bowl. Add yeast and a spoonful of flour. Heat milk to lukewarm with the butter. Pour into bowl and whisk. Leave for ten minutes. In a large bowl combine the remaining flour with the kefir, potato, egg, sour cream, sour dough and yeast mixture, add a pinch of salt. Work into a dough, about ten minutes with a wooden spoon, adding more flour if too sticky. Final dough should be loose. Turn onto floured surface, knead for 20 minutes. Leave to rise for an hour, degas with several gentle folds, and leave for a second hour. Prepare a mixture of pork, caraway seeds and onions with fresh ground pepper. Cut dough into 30 g pieces, flatten into rounds. Place a teaspoon of bacon mixture in the centre of each round, fold and seal with firm pressure from a thumb. Brush top with egg. Leave to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place on baking trays covered with parchment, bake for 15 minutes. Cover with clean linen towel, leave to cool.


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