Every Christmas Eve we have the traditional Polish meal of Pierogi. I have so many memories of helping my mom and grandma (Busia) assemble the pierogis. Busia would always make the dough and together the three of us would fill, pinch, boil, and fry. Eventually my mom took over the intimidating process of making the dough. And last year, it was my turn.
I followed tradition and made the dumplings about a week or two early and stored them in the freezer. Doing so takes off the stress during Christmas week. Making pierogi is an all day job! Because they freeze well, you don’t have to limit these to Christmas Eve. Make a batch and you have a great homemade freezer meal throughout the year.
Last year I recruited the help of Kate. I turn to Kate whenever I have baking to do, and making a dough is close enough! It’s also great to have extra hands when it’s time to assemble. This year, family friends helped Mom make hers two weeks ago.
The most common pierogi filling known to Americans is potato. But honestly, I’ve never had a potato pierogi. We fill ours with different canned fruits, cheese, and sauerkraut. And we serve them with salt and melted butter. Stuart actually broke the mold and used maple syrup!
Ingredients for dough:
- 1 1/2 C skim milk
- 3/4 C fat free half-and-half
- 5 C flour, divided plus more for rolling
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 XL egg
- 3 L egg yolks
Ingredients for filling:
- Cheese: 8 oz soft farmers cheese, 3 oz cream cheese, 1/4 – 1/3 tsp salt
- Fruit options: canned peaches, canned cherries (not pie filling), canned blueberries (not pie filling), canned strawberries (not pie filling), plums, figs
- Sauerkraut: cook 1 can drained, chopped onion, chopped cooked bacon, caraway seeds, water, little bit of flour to thicken if needed, 1 tbsp brown sugar (This can be made ahead of time and frozen)
- Spray the bottom of a large pot. (I used my dutch oven)
- Over medium heat, bring milk and half-and-half almost to boiling point.
- Whisk in 1 C flour. Switch to a flat bottomed wooden spoon and stir often for 20 minutes over low heat until almost smooth.
- Remove from heat and add butter and 1 tsp salt. Let stand, partially covered, for 1+ hour.
- In a small bowl, gently whisk egg and egg yolks.
- Add eggs to dough along with 1 C flour. Stir until combined. Add another 1 C flour. Stir until combined. Add another 1 C flour. Stir until combined.
- Turn dough out onto a clean table or cutting board and knead in the last 1 C of flour.
- Refrigerate dough for 1+ hour.
- In batches roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness. (Leave dough in fridge) Flour the board, dough, and rolling pin as needed.
- Place filling on dough and fold over. Cut pierogi with a round glass. Squeeze dough shut and pinch the rims. They’ll look like half suns!
- Cook pierogi in boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes. They will float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Refrigerate. At this point you can freeze the pierogi once cooled.
- Fry pierogi in butter before serving.