Monday, November 21, 2011

Polish Pierogi

OK, so they are not really a dessert, but they sure are delicious and they do require a dough.  So, here goes...I got a hankering for my grandmother's pierogi.  I decided to make her dough and fill it with a bunch of different fillings using the stuff I happened to have on hand at the house.  I ended up making them one of the nights that Anna was here visiting me so she could help!  We made 3 kinds - sauerkraut ("kapusta" to which I also added finely chopped German brats and caramelized onions), sweet potato and butternut squash (with a little maple and cream) and a sweet variety using brie and strawberry preserves.

They were all delicious, but I have to say I liked the sauerkraut ones the best.  It might be the Polish in me!  Basically, you can stuff just about any food you want in these babies.  The recipe below is for my grandmother's pierogi dough, along with instructions on how to make it and fill and cook the pierogi.  Enjoy!

makes about 40 pierogi

{print this recipe!}

2 ½ - 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup warm water, milk or combination

Start with 2 ½ cups of flour in a bowl, whisk in the salt, then make a well in the center.  Mix together the egg with the remaining liquid ingredients.  Pour the liquid into the well in the flour and mix together.  Once you have a dough, move it to a floured work surface and knead it some to mix the ingredients.  The resulting dough will be quite sticky.  Move it to a covered bowl or simply cover it with a thin kitchen towel on your work surface.  Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes or so. 

If you haven’t made your fillings yet, now is a good time to do so.  You can make just about anything you want into a filling, but you probably want it to be thick enough so that the blob of filling sits nicely in the center of your dough circle (rather than oozing to the sides or spreading). 

Roll the dough on a well-floured work surface to about 1/8 – 1/16” thickness.  Use a biscuit cutter or even the rim of a glass to cut the dough into 3” circles.  Put about 1 Tablespoon of filling in the center of each and fold one side over, pinching to seal.  It’s not necessary to line the inside of the rim with egg wash, but if you find that your pierogi are coming apart when boiling, you can certainly do so.  If you want to make the seal pretty, you can also use the tines of a fork to seal it.  Set the filled pierogi on a thin, floured kitchen towel (one without much lint to it is best) and cover lightly with another towel while you finish the batch.

Cameo appearance by my friend Anna! 
Boil the pierogi in boiling, salted water (a small splash of oil keeps them from sticking) in a large stockpot until they rise to the surface.  

When they rise to the surface they are done!
You can finish them off by pan frying them in browned butter (with or without breadcrumbs) just before serving.  Serve with sour cream on the side.

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