This Ukrainian savory egg and fresh herbs pie is a family recipe and one of my favorite pies from the childhood. The combination of fresh eggs from a local farm and fragrant seasonal dill, parsley and scallions wrapped in a soft, lightly sweetened yeast dough will make you fall in love with this recipe.
For me, the summer begins with juicy berries and fragrant fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are something I cannot live and cook without. I like the smell, the taste, and the color they add to any dish. When I see local, seasonal herbs, I buy them like crazy. The downside they never last long, and you have to use them as fast as you can to feel it’s fresh taste. This savory egg and fresh herbs pie is a simple celebration and appreciation of the fresh and seasonal herbs.
My grandparents have an enormous amount of chickens at their farm. We ALWAYS have fresh eggs and sometimes just too many. I love days when the fridge is full of eggs. This means my mom will make my favorite egg and herbs hand pies. This is a good way to use the extra eggs you have. In some way, this pie reminds me an egg salad but lighter and with an added summer freshness from herbs.
The combination of dill, parsley, and scallions is an original mix of herbs my mom uses. Sometimes when I have a little cilantro left I also add it to a mixture. If you don’t like specific herb just replace it with the one you love. The idea is to feel the crisp taste of the fresh herbs. However, I would avoid the strong herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.
Let me quickly talk about the dough for this pie. It is absolutely universal. I use it for all kinds of fillings. It has all the good stuff yeast dough should have: milk, butter, and egg yolks. It is rich yet very light and fluffy yeast dough with a beautiful dairy notes. And the egg yolks create this gorgeous golden-brown color. I usually make a double batch of this dough, use one-half and freeze the other half. In tips and tricks, you’ll find how to freeze and defrost this yeasted dough.
You don’t have to go crazy and make it as fancy as I did with all the braids and swirls. Most of the time my mom and I make them as simple small hand pies. My love for this egg and fresh herbs pie woke up creative inner me, and I decided to go the extra mile for it. Also, braids give an extra authentic Ukrainian look to this pie. It may seem complicated, but in reality, it is very easy to decorate it. Please check this video on How to braid a three strand loaf. And there is nothing complicated to make leaves and swirls. Use the sharp knife to make a leaf shape and stick it to a pie with an egg wash.
These hand pies never lasted long. Mom usually made them after work when I was playing with my friends outside. Once in a while, I ran into the kitchen to check if they were ready. When they were, I grabbed the whole bunch of them, stopped but the powerful evil eye look of my mom. Put them back on the table, washed my filthy dirty hands, grabbed them again and stormed out. I have to say my mom was popular among my friends as a lady who cooks delicious food, so she had a good fan base.
To me, this egg and fresh herbs pie is a very special cake that reminds me a lot of Ukraine in many ways. This is not a quick recipe because of the yeasted dough, but the result is well worth every effort you put in. I truly hope you will make it and like it. Please, share your thoughts if you make this pie. It will mean a lot to me.
Tips and Tricks for Egg and Fresh Herbs Pie:
- How to freeze this yeast dough recipe: After the dough has risen for the first time roll it into the rectangular shape. Fold it like a letter. Flip it over. With the shorter edge fold it once again the same way. You should end up with a small square. Place it back in the bowl with the sealed side down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to a day. It will slightly rise in the fridge. Take it from the fridge and wrap it in a parchment paper. Put it in a ziplock, mark the date and freeze for up to a month. When ready to use, take it from the freezer one day ahead of baking and place it in the fridge to thaw properly. When ready to bake, leave it at room temperature for about an hour.
- To make small hand pies: Divide the dough into equal small balls, about 1/3 cup each. Flatten on the surface or in your palm. Add about 3 tablespoons egg filling. Seal the dough with your fingers and put sealed side down on the baking sheet. Reduce baking time to 30 minutes.
- If the top of the pie browns too quickly, cover it with the lightly oiled aluminum foil and continue baking.
- It is equally delicious to eat warm or chilled.
- How to properly store delicate herbs (parsley, dill, and cilantro): Clean the stems from old leaves and dirt. With kitchen scissors cut the ends of the stems. Pour some water into a tall glass. Place the bouquet in water. Cover the glass and herbs with the plastic bag you herbs came in. Store the herbs in the warmest place in your refrigerator. This way, they can stay fresh for up to a week.
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