Russian Salmon Hand Pies

Get into the spirit of our Alaska Baking Retreat by baking up these Russian Salmon Hand Pies by Mandy Dixon! Mandy is the head pastry chef at Tutka Bay Lodge and Winterlake Lodge, luxurious Alaska adventure lodges owned by Mandy’s parents, Carl and Kristen Dixon. In her version of the Russian coulibiac (or pirok), she uses brown rice, cabbage, spices, and a little bit of Manchego cheese. She shapes these into hand pies for mushers to “grab and go” along the Iditarod Trail, but this hearty recipe can be made into a traditional 9-inch pie or in a jumbo muffin pan. 

Meet Mandy and the rest of the Dixon family on our Alaska Baking Retreat (August 21-24) as you relax and reset at Tutka Bay Lodge! Mandy will lead hands-on baking classes to teach you how to master this rustic Alaskan recipe, as well as many others inspired by Alaska’s vibrant baking culture. Reserve your spot today!

Russian Salmon Hand Pies
Makes 8 hand pies
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onion (120 grams), minced
  • 1 clove garlic (5 grams), minced
  • ¼ head medium green cabbage or 2 cups (200 grams), cored and shredded
  • ½ pound mushrooms (122 grams), cleaned and torn
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) caraway seeds
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ pound (227 grams) Alaskan salmon, skinned and boned
  • Puff Pastry (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup (150 grams) cooked short-grain brown rice
  • 1 medium hard-cooked egg (102 grams), chopped
  • ½ cup (50 grams) shredded Manchego cheese
  • ½ cup (50 grams) fine bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 medium egg (47 grams), beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter
  2. (4-inch) ring molds with 2-inch sides.
  3. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over low heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 7 minutes. Add cabbage, mushrooms, thyme, and caraway. Increase heat to medium; add more butter, if necessary. (Sometimes I sprinkle in a bit of water or chicken stock to create a steam and help soften the cabbage.) Cook until cabbage and mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Poach, bake, grill, or pan-sear the salmon. Each of these techniques offers a little variation in flavor and texture. If you prepare the salmon any way other than poaching, I usually like to rub it with a good-quality olive oil and season with salt and pepper. This prevents the fish from sticking to the pan surface and protects the flesh from drying out before cooking. The salmon can be a little undercooked because it will cook additionally in the pie. Let salmon cool, and flake it into medium chunks.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of Puff Pastry. Cover remaining sheet with a cloth or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Using a 5-inch round cutter, cut dough into 8 rounds, and place in prepared molds. Place a layer of rice onto pastry. Add chopped egg. Layer with salmon, cheese, bread crumbs, and cabbage mixture. (You can mix them all together if you want, but the layers look nice when you bite into the pie. The sequence of these events doesn’t matter as much as your own personal taste. Some people feel very strongly about where the hard-cooked eggs are placed!) Season with salt and pepper. Pour some cream over pies.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining sheet of Puff Pastry. Using a 5-inch round cutter, cut dough into 8 rounds. Brush rims of filled pies with a little water, and place rounds on top of each pie. Crimp edges together to seal. (Some people do this with a fork or between two fingers to make a decorative edge. Use any leftover dough to cut out shapes, if desired.) Cut vents in top of dough to release steam. Brush dough with beaten egg.
  7. Bake on top rack of oven until pastry is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Puff Pastry
Makes 2 sheets (or enough for 8 hand pies)
  • 2 cups (254 grams) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) cold wate
  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt. Add cold butter, and rub flour and butter between your fingers. Make a well in center of flour mixture; pour in some cold water, mixing until you have a firm, rough dough, adding additional water if needed. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently. Roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Fold dough into thirds, like a letter. Turn dough 90 degrees. Roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle again. Fold dough into thirds, like a letter, again. Divide dough in half, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.


Previous articleRum Swizzle Cake
Next articleWhy Erin Clarkson Can’t Wait For Our Alaska Baking Retreat


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Rate this recipe:  

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.