Bacon, Caramelised Onion & Thyme Piroshki

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Piroshki (also known as pirozhki or pyrizhky), literally translating to ‘small pie’, are individual-sized buns with either a sweet or savoury filling. There are many variants of piroshki across Eastern Europe, but this recipe most closely resembles the Russian version. These piroshki are baked rather than fried and stuffed with the dreamy combination of bacon, caramelised onion and thyme. We usually serve these as hors d’oeuvres but they are great for lunches and picnics as they are easily transportable and don’t make a mess.

While they do take time and effort to make, they more than make up for it in terms of flavour and I find the baking process is very rewarding. There’s something so satisfying about making things from scratch and I’m always left feeling very self-righteous (plus who doesn’t love kneading dough? So fun and therapeutic). Next time you have a free afternoon, try making a batch – your tastebuds will definitely thank you for it!

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Ingredients (makes 35-40)
60g fresh yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
315ml lukewarm milk
375g plain flour
Salt & pepper
125g melted butter
3 large brown onions, chopped
55g butter, extra
250g bacon
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 egg, beaten

Method
Combine the yeast and sugar; stir in the milk.

In a large bowl, mix flour and 2 teaspoons salt and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mixture and the melted butter into the centre. Beat well for 3 minutes until a smooth batter is formed. Cover with Gladwrap and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Gently cook onions in extra butter until golden. Chop bacon finely and add to the onions along with a teaspoon of pepper and the thyme leaves.

Knead the risen dough lightly and then divide into 35 to 40 portions. Wrap a teaspoon of the bacon filling into each portion of the dough. Allow the buns to prove in a warm place on greased trays for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 230°C.

Brush each bun with egg and bake in the prepared oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Hors D’Oeuvres (1988) by June Budgen.

Cinnamon Rolls

Inspired by the movie The Proposal which features some divine looking homemade cinnamon rolls, I decided to give making them from scratch a go. I did lots of research & eventually found a recipe on Pinterest which promised me a quick and easy bake using everyday ingredients. I was a little sceptical that they could possibly be considered ‘easy’, but they worked perfectly. The rolls are light, fluffy and packed full of sweet cinnamon flavour. They also fill your home with the most heavenly aroma and are especially amazing eaten fresh from the oven while still warm.

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Ingredients (Makes 12)
1 cup milk
55g butter, chopped
3 ¼ – 3 ½ cups flour
1x 35g package instant yeast
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg

Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¾ tablespoon cream cheese
1 ½  teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons of milk

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Method
Heat milk & butter in the microwave (about 1 and a half minutes) or until the butter is at least partially melted. Stir using a small whisk, and set aside.

In the large bowl of your stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), mix together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast and the white sugar. When the milk mixture is warm but not hot, add it to the flour mixture along with the egg and beat for about 1 minute, or until well combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add remaining flour until the dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl (it should be very soft and slightly sticky). Continue with the dough kneading for another 5 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured surface and let rest while you make the filling.

To make the filling, ensure butter is soft and mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon until you have a paste.

To assemble, roll the dough into a large rectangle (around 30cm x 35cm) and spread brown sugar mixture evenly over the surface. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and punch the edges to close. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls (dental floss can work well here!!).

Place into a 23cm by 33cm (or similar) pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil, cover with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for half an hour. Set oven to 180°C.

When the rolls have finished rising, bake for 15-20minutes or until light golden brown.

Make the icing by beating all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle rolls with icing while still warm. Enjoy!

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Adapted from the ‘Everyday Cinnamon Rolls’ recipe on ourbestbites.com

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Notes:
– These rolls can be frozen at almost any point (before rising, after rising or when finished) and keep well in the freezer when covered in cling wrap and foil – then you have a delicious treat in a heart beat!
– If you don’t have a free standing mixer, use handheld beaters to combine the dough initially and then knead the dough by hand for around 7 minutes.