Photo of Cheese and Potato Pierogi with a side salad.

Unlocking the Family Vault for You: Pierogi 

We all look for simple recipes, right?

I know that when I search for something to make, I look for words like “Quick,” “Easy,” “Fast,” … you get the idea.

Some recipes, though, take time. You can’t simplify them and expect a good result. Pierogi is one of those foods that you can’t rush; I’m guessing that is why store-bought pierogi sell well, although they taste nothing like homemade.

When I first attempted homemade pierogi, my grandmother was still alive. She was the taste-tester most important to me.  I had such trouble, my dough was stiff and hard to roll out, the filling popped out when I boiled the dumplings, the presentation was kinda lumpy and ugly.

My grandmother suggested that my dough was rolled too thin. Well, that was good, because it was difficult to roll that dough.  I watched her as she made her dough. She didn’t use measuring cups! How was I going to reproduce that?

Since then, I’ve experimented to come up with some fairly good measurements. But, the truth for any dough is that you must develop a feel for when it is right, slowly adding flour and kneading to get the correct consistency. Humidity and air temperature affect the result. Pierogi dough should be a bit sticky and elastic when you finish kneading it — and you do need to knead it (ha).

As you work through this recipe, add flour slowly and stop when the dough is still wet but can be worked. Keep track of your measurements, but realize that those variables can change next time. Don’t be tempted to let the mixer do all of the work. You must get a feel for the dough. That’s why my Babci didn’t need measuring cups. She knew when it was perfect!

Photo Cheese and Potato Pierogi cut in half to reveal filling
Cheese and Potato Pierogi filling is our family favorite.

Pierogi with Potato and Cheese

(makes about 2 dozen)

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2 T. melted butter

1/2 c. sour cream

2 1/2-2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

filling:

1 lb. large curd cottage cheese, drained

2 boiling potatoes

1 egg

1/4 c. fresh, coarsely chopped mint leaves

salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

Melt butter in the microwave. Measure sour cream and put in stand mixer bowl. Add eggs and beat with mixer paddle until blended. Add in butter and continue to mix.

photo of mixing dough
Mix wet ingredients together first.

Measure out 1 cup of flour and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until incorporated with the wet ingredients, then add the second cup. Continue adding the remaining flour, stopping when the dough is still wet but can be worked with your hands.

Turn dough out onto a marble/granite surface or a floured surface. Knead until dough becomes stretchy and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Photo of kneading dough on a marble surface.
Knead dough on a stone or floured surface.

To make the filling, peel and quarter the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and then mash lightly with a fork.

 

Photo of mixing drained cottage cheese with the mashed potato.
Mix drained cottage cheese with the mashed potato.

Drain the cottage cheese to remove excess liquid. Mix into the mashed potatoes. Add beaten eggs, the chopped mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

Photo showing the adding of mint, and salt and pepper to the filling.
Add mint, and salt and pepper to the filling.

Now, you are ready to assemble: Pull off a piece of dough and roll it to about 1/4 inch thick.

Photo of rolled out dough with filling placed on top
Roll out and place about 2 T. filling on the dough.

Place about 2 T. filling on the dough. Fold the dough over the filling to make a pocket.

Photo showing folding dough over the filling.
Fold dough over the filling.

Use a flour coated cup, or a tart press, to cut out the dumpling. Pinch the edges of the dumpling closed to secure the filling.

Photo showing pierogi cut with a tart press.
Pierogi cut with a tart press.

I like to let the pierogi sit on the counter for about half an hour to “dry.” I think that this makes them hold together better when you boil them.

Photo of cut out pierogi lined up on countertop
Line ’em up to rest before boiling.

Next, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a few pierogi at a time to the boiling water. Stir gently so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Photo showing boiling a few pierogi at a time for about 3 minutes.
Boil a few pierogi at a time for about 3 minutes.
Photo showing boiled pierogi draining in a colander
Drain boiled pierogi in a colander

 

Boil for about 3 minutes, then remove, with a slotted spoon, to a colander. Continue with the remaining pierogi.

Let the cooked pierogi cool in a single layer out on the countertop.

Photo showing boiled pierogi drying on countertop
Pierogi heaven!

Now, you can fry them in butter (I like to add onion, too), or freeze them for later.

If you freeze them, you can fry them when they are partially defrosted so that the dough doesn’t get too sticky.

Photo showing frying in butter and onions.
Frying in butter and onions
Photo showing freezing pierogi in a single layer
Freeze pierogi in a single layer for easier defrosting.

 

 

That’s it! None of this is difficult, but it does take time. You can make the dough and refrigerate it, and make the filling another day, if that takes some of the pressure off! However you choose to tackle this special family recipe, you’ll be glad you made your own pierogi from scratch!

© 2017 auntjoannblog.com. All rights reserved. See Legalese tab for permissions.

 

2 comments

  1. I found a pierogi press on Amazon that allows me to make multiple pierogies at one time. You use a rolling pin to seal the seams. Although this is not the way Babci would make them since she used a glass, it has been a huge time saver and I have had fewer pierogies break open.

Leave a Reply