Titirangi Storyteller

Telling tales from around the world

Kapsa Pirukas

with 8 comments

Kapsa Pirukas, Estonian cabbage pie, is one of the foods of the gods. My mother made it for every special occasion I can remember throughout her life. So simple anyone can make it and so surprisingly delicious, no matter how much you make it will on be gone quickly – once the guests have got over the idea of eating a slice of cabbage pie…

These days it is so easy to buy frozen pastry, I don’t make the dough anymore. When I was a child in the US, my (Estonian immigrant) mother made the dough from Bisquick. Later on she switched to frozen pie shells, which I didn’t care for as much. But pretty much any savoury dough meant for muffins, scones or American biscuits that can be rolled out will do the job.

The filling for a standard cookie sheet is one medium head of cabbage finely chopped, sauted in reasonably generous amounts of butter, margarine or oil along with a large chopped onion. Salt and pepper to taste. (Note, it’s meant to be slightly salty – slightly…) Cover and steam until tender and allow to cool. If you like hard boiled eggs, chop up a couple and mix them into the cooled filling.(My kids won’t eat eggs, so I don’t put them in.)

Spread it onto the first layer of rolled out dough. The filling should be about 1-2 centimeters or around 1/2 inch high – a little more is fine, but you don’t want it too thick. Cover with the top layer and pinch the edges. You can prick the top with a fork to vent it, or… I like to make decorations on the top and carve patterns in the crust. Whatever makes you happy. Brush the top with an egg wash to give it that gorgeous shiny glow.

Bake it in a preheated, moderately hot oven around 200C or 375F for about 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden colour. Cut into slices about the size of a large brownie. Serve at room temperature. You will be loved, I promise you.


Written by Titirangi Storyteller

29/03/2011 at 10:33 pm

8 Responses

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  1. Favorite Kapsa Pirukas story: I was getting married in my apartment in Hartford. My mother made the Kapsa Pirukas, but my future mother-in-law an excellent cook, who did not make anything for the wedding, was jealous and refused to allow my mother to put the KP on the buffet table. The music began, the wedding was in progress, as I walked down the hall (aisle) past the kitchen to the living room where the guests were assembled and the nuptials to take place, I stuck my head into the kitchen and instructed one of the waitresses to put the KP on the table while the wedding took place. She did. We got married and afterwards all the guests enjoyed and marveled at the wonderful Kapsa Pirukas!


    Monica McLaughlin

    30/03/2011 at 5:41 am

    • I remember your mother in law – a bit of a strange one… not that Mom wasn’t stranger… It’s a shame they never had a showdown between the Estonian dishes and the Jewish dishes. The recipients would have eaten themselves into a stupor!


  2. I asked a very clever, black-belt foodie, Cin, if she’d heard of this delicious sounding dish. I linked you to her. Here’s one of her links so you can check her out, too: http://theonlycin.wordpress.com/2011/03/28/lazy-wives-and-faceless-fish/



    30/03/2011 at 6:14 am

    • Pirukas is one of a variety of eastern European pies… the Poles have pierogies, the Russians pirog, the Jews borekas, for Hungarians it’s pite, I know 4th generation eastern Europeans in the US who make a boiled version called p’doughies – while the recipe has been passed down, not so the original name… They all have their own quirks, but are similar enough that you know folks were travelling around and sharing… not sure why it hasn’t spread further afield – surely there was cabbage in western Europe…
      thanks for the site – it’s very cool.


  3. At first glance, I thought, how beautiful, but then you said cabbage, and I had to do a double-take. I’ve never thought about making my cabbage look beautiful, but then, why not? Corey and I both love cabbage, so I’ll have to tell him about this.

    Love the story about the m-in-law. Tee hee.



    04/04/2011 at 7:01 am

  4. Am the daughter of an Estonian immigrant mother and she made this so many times, gorgeous! My Scottish husband was a little wary of eating this but was soon begging her to make it. Only thing is – when pie was cut the cabbage was a light brown and not green, is that correct?


    Helena Watson

    18/04/2017 at 2:44 am

    • Apologies for the delayed response! I had a problem accessing this blog for nearly a year!
      Yes, the cabbage is indeed more brown than green after baking. Probably from the caramelised onions and butter. That never put anyone off eating it!


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