Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vatrushka- the Luscious Bun!

This is a street-side inspired pastry- served as snack throughout Eastern Europe, on schools menu and cafeterias. My mom used to put aside some of the bread dough each time she baked bread to just fill some of the buns with cheese and make our busy days as kids.
So if you know how to make bread- you are halfway done. Any type of bread flour would work for this recipe. White, whole wheat, rye- go for it!
I used about four cups of all purpose unbleached flour and two teaspoons of active dry yeast, a bit of olive oil, salt and water (sort of french bread recipe) and ended up with five pastries about four inches diameter each. I threw in about half a cup of chopped black olives to add a bit of crunchiness.

Let your dough rise for about 20 minutes. Then divide it into several tennis ball-size buns and let them rest again for about 10 minutes or until they double in size.

Now comes the fun part! Place all your buns on a greased baking sheet and make a dip in each of them using the flat bottom of a coup or a small vessel- just like that:...

( no, I am not left handed- I was having the camera in my other hand- now you see how versatile I can be :))

here we go....

Now, we are not going to leave that obnoxious well empty....
The cheese traditionally used in Moldova is usually a type of drier than US cottage cheese made out of baked yogurt (brinza de vaca), but cream cheese works perfectly well.

So the cream cheese. You need less than a pound of it, slightly melt it (if it's coming out of your fridge - or leave it alone if you just unloaded your grocery out of your car trunk in Texas) and mix in half a cup of chopped black olives and half a cup chopped bell peppers- the more color- the better.

Fill in your prepared bread buns with cheese...

...and glaze them with egg wash. Those vegetarian who don't care for eggs- do not bother about this last part. The vartrushkas will taste excellent without the egg glazing. That's just cosmetic.

Yum- yum!

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