Total Preparation Time – About 1.5 Hours
Time Spent Waiting – 30 Minutes
Cook Time – About 5 Minutes per Batch
The Holiday Season was an interesting time for my wife and me. We decided to try to establish our own traditions, not being completely dependent on our families. We borrowed things from both families. One of the traditions of my wife’s family was a Christmas Eve Open House. Basically, set up a spread of foods (appetizers and desserts) for family and friends. It wasn’t quite a Polish Wigilia, but it was an opportunity for people to come, socialize, grab a snack, have a beverage, and leave without the time commitment of a party. I like to think that people enjoyed when we had our open house.
One of the dishes that I made for our open house, which was part of her family’s tradition, was Cheese Pierogis. This was one of my wife’s favorite things that I made. Because of the effort, I only made them a couple of times a year. What’s neat is the recipe was her family’s recipe, which her mom bestowed upon me. I still have a copy of the email of the recipe from over 10 years ago. Over the years, I must admit that I have become rather proficient at making cheese Pierogis.
To start, mix the wet ingredients: ½ Cup Sour Cream, 1 Egg and ¼ Cup Melted Butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder, 2 ¼ cups Flour. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead for 5 – 6 minutes. Honestly, I like to use the stand mixer with a dough hook. It does a good job with the dough. If the dough doesn’t get smooth or seems dry after 5 minutes, you might want to knead in another ½ tablespoon of sour cream. After the dough appears smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 – 60 minutes.
While the dough is refrigerating, you can make the piroghi filling. The pictures shown here are for a sweet cheese filling. However, my wife’s favorite was an onion cheese filling. I’ll discuss both of the fillings.
The base cheese filling is 7 – 8 ounces of Farmer’s Cheese, 1 Egg Yolk, 3 Tablespoons of Sour Cream mixed together. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Farmer’s cheese can be found near the cream cheese in the dairy section at the grocery store. A few years ago Friendship changed from 8 ounce packages to 7 ounce packages, which works out ok. You just end up with extra dough, now.
Once you have the base cheese filling, you have 2 options. Option 1 is the sweet filling, which is simply stirring in a tablespoon of granulated sugar into the cheese mixture. Option 2 is the onion filling, which is stirring in about ¼ – 1/3 cup of browned finely chopped onion. Both options make great tasting piroghis.
After the dough has rested for about 30 minutes, take the dough out of the refrigerator. Pull off about a half cup of dough. Keep the remainder of the dough covered with plastic wrap because the dough will dry out. This dough can be a little difficult to work with and will need to be worked a bit. I have used a manual pasta maker and an electric pasta maker with good success. Roll out the dough on the thickest setting. The first few roll outs will not be pretty and smooth. Fold the rolled out dough and roll out again until the dough starts to roll out smooth. When you have a nice smooth noodle, reduce the thickness of the pasta maker to the middle setting, and roll out noodle to about 1/8th of an inch. At this point you should have a long strip noodle. Lay the noodle on some parchment paper or a baking mat.
When I started out making piroghis, I hand crimped them. A few years ago, I actually started using a piroghi mold, which make a nice consistent pretty piroghi. To hand crimp the piroghis, use a circular cutting tool (like a large coffee cup) to cut out a circle about 3 inches across. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of cheese filling into the middle of the circle. Fold the circle in half. Starting on one end of the open edge, fold over about ¼ to ½ of an inch of dough toward the middle. Repeat this around the open edge. Once you have sealed in the filling, pinch the edge closed. Take the extra dough from the cut out, roll out again with some fresh dough, and repeat until the dough and/or filling is gone.
When using a piroghi form, roll out a couple of long strips about the length and width of the piroghi form. Lay a+ noodle across the form. Spoon a teaspoon of filling into each of the center of each piroghi. Take another noodle and place on top of the other noodle. Use the palm of your hand to press the two pieces of dough together. Then use a rolling pin to seal the piroghis. Remove the excess dough from the form. Turn the form upside down over parchment paper, and gently push each piroghi out of the form. Repeat until the dough and/or filling is gone.
I like to blanch the piroghis. This provides a better overall texture to the piroghi when you sauté the piroghi in butter. To blanch, bring 2 quarts of water with two tablespoons of salt to a boil in a large pot. Place 4 – 5 piroghis in the boiling water. When the piroghi floats to the top of the water, remove it and place it on parchment paper to dry. Don’t worry if a piroghi leaks in the boiling water, it happens. The picture actually shows very bubbly water, which happens when some cheese leaks from the piroghi.
At this point, you can refrigerate the piroghi. Ideally, you will want to use a baking tray. Place a layer of parchment paper, then arrange piroghi on the parchment paper. You can do a second layer, by placing another piece of parchment paper on top. Place another piece of parchment paper on top, then wrap in plastic wrap. You can refrigerate for 2 – 3 days before cooking.
When you are ready to serve, use a frying plan, and over medium heat, melt about a tablespoon of butter. Place several piroghis in the pan and brown on each side. Remove the browned piroghi and place in a serving plate and serve.
I’m embarrassed to say that I failed to take a picture of the finished piroghi. We got caught up in preparing Christmas Eve dinner and forgot to take pictures. I have enough farmers cheese left over that I will probably make some more and take pictures.
Hope You Enjoy,
Stand Mixer with Dough Hook
Piroghi Form or Large Round Cutout
½ Cup Sour Cream
¼ Cup Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 ¼ Cups of Flour
7 – 8 Ounces of Farmers Cheese
1 Egg Yolk
3 Tablespoons Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon Sugar (for Sweet Filling)
¼ Cup Sautéed Finely Chopped Onion (for Onion Filling)
1. Make Dough, Wrap in Plastic Wrap, Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
2. Make Filling
3. Roll out dough in long strips
4. Place dough strip over piroghi form (see write up for alternative forming instructions)
5. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in each piroghi
6. Place dough strip over top and seal with rolling pin
7. Remove excess dough and remove piroghi from the form on parchment paper
8. Blanch piroghi in boiling salted water
9. Sauté in butter until browned, then serve