Pierogi, perogi, pyrohy, perogy or pyrogy, no matter what Country or spelling, these pillows of Central/Eastern European perfection have provided provisions throughout North America since Immigrants flocked to this part of the western hemisphere. A peasant food from the 1200’s, turned into a church fundraising item in the mid 1900’s, to now, where many frozen brands exist in our stores. Pierogi has a huge fan following in 2018.
The pierogi. So simple with its dough. Water, egg, flour, salt, and oil, with a bit of time, equate to a supple, better than a noodle exterior. The fillings? Not as simple. The traditional dumplings of potato with a bit of cheese and or onions, have merely become just a landing pad for an onslaught of goodies. Restaurants have shaped their forte based on these little pockets of potato bliss. Adding anything and everything from lobster, duck confit, cheesesteak for those from the Town of Brotherly Love, to refried beans, these dough filled delights can, and will, contain all that one can conceive to create.
The dough can contain eggs as mentioned. They can be omitted. Excluding produces an added inelasticity. Adding just the yolk toughens up the dough. Which, some enjoy, others don’t…The other “X factor” is sour cream. Sour cream is a great addition as a final topping as we already know. But, many place it inside the dough itself. This provides a soft, supple exterior. Family recipes passed down usually dictates what’s in that clans “secret, special dough”. Every Nationality, tweak and twist the dough slightly. Yet one thing remains. Any pierogi is a good pierogi!
A few dough recipes:
#1: (Sans Egg): Makes about 30 Approx
• 3 cups of AP Flour
• ¾ Cup Boiling Water
• ¼ Cup Cold Water
• ½ Teaspoon each of Salt and Oil
Using the WFE 10” sieve,(https://www.williamsfoodequipment.com/wfe-10-stainless-steel-flour-sieve-3510) run the flour through to devoid lumps later. Pour the boiling water into your whisked flour. Stir strongly, popping the clumps, with your wooden spoon. Let your new dough rest, covered, for 8 minutes. Now we add the cold H2O. Powerfully pull and tug again with your wooden spoon. Ensuring of no clumps. Rest once more for 20 minutes. Now the work begins. Knead and manipulate that dough until perfectly pliable yet a bit tacky. It takes time. 10 minutes of your undertaking will be rewarded upon completion.
#2 ( With Egg): Makes 15 Approx
• 1 ¾ Cup AP Flour
• 1 Egg
• 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
• ½ Cup Water
Whisk the egg and place in middle of flour pile. Add the salt. Using only as much water as needed for a smooth dough, mix ingredients. This is a simple one.
#3 (With Egg, Sour Cream, and Milk): Makes 60 Approx
• 5 Cups AP Flour
• 1 Large Scrambled Egg
• 1 Cup Milk
• 1 Cup Water
• 2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
Blend the sour cream and egg. Then the milk and water. Add together. Blend in one cup at a time, the flour. Scrape, turn, fold, and knead, adding flour as needed to create an elastic yet not sticky dough. Never use too much flour while kneading or on your board when rolling. It will toughen the final product. Let rest for an hour under a bowl.
All three examples end the same way. Roll out your dough using Trudeau Silicon Rolling Pin to 2 to 3 mm thick on your lightly floured Silicon baking mat. Cut your dough using any circle size you prefer. A drinking glass with a 4 inch diameter works great!
Time for Fillings! Sweet or savory, pierogi can be gobbled anytime of the day. Whether it be blueberries for breakfast or spuds at supper, these gems satisfy 24 hours a day. The options are endless.
Filling #1 (Traditional Potato, Cheese, and Onion)
• 2 Cups Mashed Potatoes (Your fav recipe will be best!)
• 1 Cup Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese(Buy the good stuff!)
• ½ Teaspoon each Black Pepper and Garlic Powder and Season Salt
• 1 Large White Onion (Diced extra small/ Grill in butter)
Once onion has become translucent, add to mashed potatoes. Add the cheddar with the warm onion. Add the seasoning. Once cool, time to make our half-moon delicacies (Folding and cooking below)
Filling #2: (Blueberry)
• 9 Ounces Bluberries(Fresh)
• 2 Tablespoons Superfine Sugar
Lay out your pierogi rounds. Mix sugar with the berries only when ready to assemble. Place four to five berries in a line at the diameter. Crimp accordingly. For these, you may want to dust with confectioners sugar once they cool.
To assemble your half spheres, place one teaspoon of your mixture in the middle of each round. Working with your fingers, press the air out from the filling out to the seams. To seal, crimp tightly with the thumb and index finger, starting at one edge, ending at the other end.
While assembling, bring a large pot to a boil. Add a bit of salt and oil to prevent clumping. Drop only 3 to 4 pierogi at a time. Never over-crowd. These dumplings are easy to tell when done. They float! Grab with a slotted spoon. They are now ready to consume! Browning in butter is a better option most believe. Adding that crusty crunchy texture elevates these guys beyond belief!
Time for whatever your heart desires with em’ now! Adding more fried onions, extra cheese, sour cream, butter, or whatever suits your fancy is more than acceptable. Pierogi has no rules. Just remarkable flavor and an undeniable consistency.