The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.
I’ve been horrendously busy this month. I’ve been selling my soul at fashion trade shows which has left me feeling wiped out physically, mentally and financially. After sleeping for a week, I mustered enough energy to pick up my rolling pin and make pierogi.
Pierogi filled with vegetable tagine, served on a bed of couscous & green salad. I made this using the first dough recipe (the one with whipping cream) which produced a really soft and lovely texture. ! I fried these after boiling them.
Pierogi filled with goats cheese, gooseberry & basil. Theses were a tasty treat!
Pierogi filled with banana & peanut butter, dusted with cocoa powder. These resembled dimsum dumplings.
I’ve always made mini version of daring baker/cooks challenges, but this time I decided to think big.
Giant pierogi filled with colcannon (mashed potato, cabbage & onion)
Cornish pasty inspired pierogi filled with lamb & pea.
I encountered some difficulties when cooking these, I didn’t have the right tools to lower the monsters into the boiling water so ended up clumsily peeling them off the baking sheet, they landed with a plop. The dough ended up a bit too thick and hard due to the large scale version, but they were a lot less time consuming than making lots of little ones. I had fun making these!
Bowls to mix ingredients
Pans, pots to cook fillings and pierogi
Pierogi forms (really not necessary, you can get them easily in Polish or ethnic shops, they are very(!) cheap and handy too) if you don’t have these forms don’t worry! your hands and a fork will do
Cottage Cheese Wareneki (pierogi)
½ cup (125 ml) milk (can be whole milk, 2% or skim milk)
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
3 large egg whites
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
3 cups (450 gm) all-purpose flour
1. Mix flour and salt, add other ingredients, and knead dough until you have a smooth dough. (I kneaded this dough quite a bit, and it yielded a nice, pliable dough).
2. On a floured surface roll out fairly thin (1/8” or about 3 millimeters), cut into 2” (5 cm) squares, and fill with 1 tsp (5ml) cottage cheese filling (see below).
1 lb (455 g) dry cottage cheese (this is usually found beside the “wet” cottage cheese in the supermarket’s dairy aisle. If you can’t find it, please see below for how to proceed with the “wet” cottage cheese.)
3 large egg yolks
Salt to taste
1. Mix well all the ingredients for the filling.
2. Put 1 rounded teaspoon (5 ml) o the filling in each square, fold corners to form a triangle, seal edges well using your fingers or a fork
3. Cook in salted, boiling water for 5 minutes.
Boiled pierogi can also be fried after boiling for a nice crunchy dumpling.
If you can’t find dry cottage cheese, simply drain normal cottage cheese by nesting the cottage in a few layers of cheese cloth or a fine sieve over a bowl.
Adapted from The Mennonite Cookbook
* You can very easy make a sweet version of Warenki – just add some fruits and sugar to the cheese filling and mix well together (strawberries or blueberries are great idea!).
Russian style pierogi (makes 4 generous servings, around 30 dumplings)
(Traditional Polish recipe, although each family will have their own version, this is Anula’s family recipe)
2 to 2 1/2 cups (300 to 375 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
About 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water
3 big potatoes, cooked & mashed (1 1/2 cup instant or leftover mashed potatoes is fine too)
1 cup (225 g) cottage cheese, drained
1 onion, diced & sauteed in butter until clear
3 slices of streaky bacon, diced and fried till crispy (you can add more bacon if you like or omit that part completely if you’re vegetarian)
1 egg yolk (from medium egg)
1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, melted
1/4 (1,25 ml) teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling (it’s best to use one’s hands to do that) put into the bowl, cover and set aside in the fridge until you have to use it.
2. Place 2 cups flour in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add the salt and a little lukewarm at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough with a bowl or towel. You’re aiming for soft dough. Let it rest 20 minutes.
3. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or about 3 millimeters) cut with a 2-inch (5 cm) round or glass. Spoon a portion (teaspoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, reroll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, not too many, only single layer in the pan! Return to the boil and reduce heat. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more ( usually about 5 minutes). Remove one dumpling with a slotted spoon and taste if ready. When satisfied, remove remaining pierogi from the water.
5. Serve immediately preferably with creme fraiche or fry. Cold pierogi can be fried. Boiled Russian pierogi can be easily freezed and boiled taken out straight from the freezer.