National Pierogi Day > Christmas?

Okay okay…Maybe it’s not as great as Christmas but its pretty darn close..(I like presents n such…).

I tend to ONLY reserve pierogi making for Christmas dinner because they are such a pain in the butt.  However, someone at work managed to sneak into a conversation that Saturday October 8th was National Pierogi Day, and knew that I had my own recipe.  Since i’m a sucker for flattery – I offered to celebrate this holiday by making pierogis for the office I work at.  Which, im sure some of you know is a catering company..which is definitely intimidating to cook for!  Then again, when you have such a rock solid pierogi recipe like I do, what is there to worry about? *Brushes off shoulders* I got this.

In a past post I shared how important my Grandma was that passed away a few summers ago.  She would make pierogi every holiday, but only in small batches because they are so time consuming.  I was so jealous that everyone just loved these pierogi, I craved the attention she got for them.  In time, my grandma got bad arthritis and wanted to pass on the tradition to someone else.  I was ready and willing to be her pierogi apprentice!  I was only a kid, but I was eager to know the secrets.  She gave me a little drinking glass with Christmas decorations around it and told me –

“Danielle…This makes the perfect pierogi”. 

I still have that cup she gave me and I still use it to this day to make my pierogi.  If that glass broke I would be lost!  I did have help making pierogi this time around, and I did not force my pierogi pal to use my nostalgic cup for fear of the odd looks I would get.  I already fully confess I have OCD – but Im still in denial about being neurotic.

 

Perfect Pierogi Dough –

  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup lukewarm water (may need more, more need less, add slowly)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more..if youre like me..)
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

Make a well in the middle of the flour just as you would make any Italian pasta dough.  Add salt.  Beat eggs with butter and add to flour well, add sour cream to the well also.  Pull in flour from the sides to start to combine flour, egg, butter, sour cream.  When the dough starts to crumble add the water until it forms a nice dough.  Dough should be soft and plyable.  It should not feel as smooth and dense as an Italian dough, it should be slightly tacky and I hesitate to use this term because Im sure only ill understand what I mean by it but it should feel “pillowy”..are you with me? Haha.  I know the sour cream seems like an odd addition, but ill explain! When I used to make pierogi with my grandma she would tell me to seal every pierogi I have to add flour and water to the edges for a perfect closure.  As I grew older I figured this step really stinks.  I found out that adding sour cream to the dough makes them close..plain and simple..just pinch shut and voila!  Im sure Grandma is turning over in her grave knowing I changed something.  Sorry!

As for the filling – this is when you can just get creative.  I am sorry, I love you all – however…I cannot share my filling recipe! It’s been in my family for some time and I plan to be a rich and famous super pierogi maker. Dont ruin my dreams.  I did fill half the pierogi with my Bigos filling though! It was absolutely delicious! I will share though that if you do feel like making potato cheese ones (my secret recipe) do not make the potatoes like you would mashed potatoes by adding any liquid what-so-ever.  Leave the poatoes thick and fairly plain, dont fuss with them too much! Potato + Cheese + Onion = Happy.

I swear I can eat this stuff by the gallons with just a spoon.

The one annoying thing about pierogi dough is when it rolls out you have to work quickly.  It tends to shrink in.  This does also means you’re arms will hate you the next morning.  Roll the dough out fairly thin, about 1/8 inch thick.  Theres two ways to do this.  The way I was taught is to roll the dough out pretty big, place a small dollop of filling and fold over an edge of dough and press it out with a nostalgic Christmas cup!  The other way is like making ravioli, stamp out circles to the desired size, add filling and then close.  I find that stamping out the dough first makes it harder to close them if you overloaded them accidently.  I find that making a large rolled out dough, folding, and then stamping is easier for me.  You can make about 4-5 pierogi in one set of rolled dough.  The good thing about this dough is you can reuse it and reuse it until its gone, no waste!

I place my pinched pierogi onto a cookie sheet and freeze them in bags of a dozen.  I usually do not cook pierogi the same day, this is usually something I make way in advance.  By the end of making pierogi, I do NOT feel like eating them!  If you feel like cooking them immediately, by all means do it! They do freeze very well though!  Another pierogi tip – When you boil the pierogi have a cooling rack ready.  Scoop the finished pierogi out (when they float, they are done) and set on the cooling rack to dry.  If you skip this step, they get tacky and stick together.  When they have cooled and are no longer ‘slimy’ add to a casserole dish.  Cut bacon into small lardons and saute until half cooked.  Pour the bacon over the top of the pierogi and bake at 350º for about a half hour.  The bacon fat will render down the pierogi which absolutely makes them PERFECT!  The edges get crispy and delicious.  I never pan fry my pierogi even though that tends to be a favored method.  Give it a try 😉

My finished Pierogi I brought to work.  The left is Bigos Pierogi topped with Smoked Sausage and the right is Potato Cheese topped with bacon.  They did not last long!