A friend first told me about Piroshky, Piroshky… at the Pike Place Market. I did a little research online and found out what piroshkies were. Turns out they are huge, baked Russian dumplings or buns with different fillings. A little more digging had me convinced that it was a must try when visiting the market. After all, Russian bakeries are rare commodities, even in large cities. According to my friend, there was a long line when she went so she could not tell me how the piroshkies tasted. However, thinking that long lines mean good food, I was not disappointed. When I got there, there was in fact a very long line, all the way to the back of the bakery, while some of the surrounding stores had almost no customers. It is certainly true when they say a long line indicates whatever they are selling are worth the wait. The smell as I waited in line made me quite hungry so although their items were not cheap, we decided to get enough to be a light lunch.
First up was the Smoked Mozzarella, Broccoli & Mushroom Piroshky. This was cresent shaped and very pretty. The bun was very soft, freshly baked, and warm. It was moist enough and chewy, with the outside a nice golden brown. The filling was very light in flavour. It was a little bland for my parents, but I loved the smoked mozzarella. It was gooey and stringy with a nice smokey aroma. The chopped up broccoli and mushrooms went very nicely with the mozzarella, giving it the taste of a cheesy, vegetable pasta dish. I loved the mix of the three ingredients. It was overall very soft and chewy. I had to seriously remind myself to slow down and taste the complexity of the flavours. Otherwise, I would have devoured the whole thing much too fast. I love cheese and mushroom combinations. The broccoli added a nice green colour as well as a more refreshing flavour and a slightly crunchy texture.
Next was the Sauerkraut, Cabbage & Carrot Piroshky. This one was a triangular shaped piroshky. I am not sure why they have different shapes, but the dough is the same and had the same soft and warm texture. The inside was stuffed with the three vegetarian ingredients. The sauerkraut really gave it all the flavour. It was lightly sour and was not too overwhelming. However, it had a great, refreshing aroma because it was not pickled for too long. It was finely sliced and had a slightly crunchy texture. The cabbage was an additional crunch and the carrots gave it the nice orange colour. Both added texture to the piroshky and were consistent in the size of the small strips. There were no chunks of carelessly cut vegetables. The three ingredients blended nicely. Although there was not sauce to tie the three together, the flavour was not as bland as one would imagine. It went incredibly well with the warm bread and has become my favourite vegetable bun of all time.
For our third piroshky, we had to try their most popular item, the Beef and Cheese Piroshky. It was like a baked Russian cheeseburger. The ground beef were cooked nicely and well seasoned. It was mixed with cheddar cheese and stuffed into the round piroshky dough. It was also topped with some cheese, which gave it more of a chew. The spice and the cheese went well together and the cheese was what tied the entire piroshky together. My parents agreed that this was their favourite one, thus justifying the fact it is their best seller. The flavour was strong, with just the right amount of saltiness, spices, and cheese. It was gooey on the inside and made the dough slightly moist. I loved the texture. After all, who wouldn’t love a baked cheeseburger?
Finally, for something sweet, we went with the very pretty Oscar’s Star. It was a baked pastry dough topped with hazelnuts, chocolate sauce, and sweet cream cheese. I am not sure how much of a traditional Russian bakery item this is, but it was delicious, just like their piroshkies. The layered pastry dough was not my favourite but this one was tolerable. It was not extremely thin and flaky, nor was it greasy it all. It was quite moist and chewy as far as pastry doughs go. The melted chocolate sauce was gooey and sticky. There was plenty of it and mixed into it were a lot of chopped hazelnuts. The nuts gave the dessert a lovely crunch, especially when mixed with the chewy dough and the gooey sauce. The sweet cream cheese on top was my favourite part of this dessert. It was almost like a cream cheese frosting but not as sweet. I loved the density of it as it was creamy and thick. It was also quite gooey so the crunch from the hazelnuts were definitely appreciated. I also appreciated the complexity of flavour the nuts added to the baked good. The four different ingredients complimented each other and left Mom and I quite satisfied after the three delicious, savoury piroshkies.
After returning home, Mom and I decided that we would go back sometime and try some of the other piroshkies they offer. Despite being $4.95 each, they were large and very tasty. I appreciated that they were not overly oily or buttery and that they were stuffed with a large amount of filling. Mom and I loved them so much! They also had some sweet rolls I would like to sample, such as the rhubarb and apple cinnamon rolls. Those looked quite tempting as well. I am just glad that I have found my new favourite, savoury bakery item! Piroshkies, I will be back before you know it!