I made pierogi yesterday. It was a Christmas gift for a friend who had recently been to Poland. Funny thing about pierogi. It was a food from my childhood. My mother never actually made them, but there were Polish women who made hundreds of them and sold them at the holidays. They were stuffed with either sauerkraut or Farmer’s cheese. I seem to remember that it was a church fund raiser. Talk about a labor of love!
I’ve made them before, last time about three years ago. They’re pretty labor intensive, and not something that should be consumed on a daily basis, but they are traditional Polish food, and a connection to my past.
Strangely enough, I have a sense memory of blueberry pierogi. I really don’t remember my maternal grandmother. She died when I was around four or five, but I remember eating blueberry pierogi at her house on Easter. It’s sad that I remember the pierogi more than I remember her. She must have loved to cook. Maybe part of her lives on in me.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup soft butter
1 pound Farmers Cheese ( 2 8 oz. blocks), room temperature
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
I added a finely diced sautéed onion to the filling (optional)
About a stick of butter to sauté the pierogi after they’re boiled.
1. To make the dough, mix the flour and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream and room temperature butter. Start with a wooden spoon, but combining everything with your hands is really best. This is a moist dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Leaving it in the refrigerator overnight is also fine.
2. For the filling, combine the Farmers Cheese, salt, pepper and egg. Mix until well blended. This is only one possible filling. Traditional fillings include mashed potatoes and cheese, sauerkraut, meat and onions. I like the simplicity of Farmers Cheese.
4. Divide the dough into four pieces to make the rolling process easier. On a flour dusted board, roll the dough pretty thinly. About 1/8 inch. Cut out circles. I used a glass with a 3 inch diameter. I was able to cut 6 or 7 circles from each quarter.
5. Put about a teaspoon of filling on each circle. Fold the dough over the filling to create a pocket. Pinch the edges together to seal the pierogi. Mine sealed without a problem, but I’ve read that moistening the edges with a little water helps if you’re having trouble.
6. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Slide a few pierogi at a time (no more than one layer) into the water. After a couple of minutes, they will float to the top. Let them cook for a few minutes more after they float. Then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain on paper towels.
7. Melt butter in a frying pan. Saute the pierogi until they brown a little on both sides.
Yes, this is a little complicated. It’s also messy. But it’s traditional and really worth the effort!