By Cat, June 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
- Includes: 1. Cream Cheese Pierogi Pastry
- See also: 1. Russian Vegetable Pie or Pierogi; 2. Mushroom Pierogi filling; 3. Ethnic Recipes Menu (scroll down to Eastern Europe & Russian section)
Pierogi are a type of dumpling that is boiled in water, then fried in a pan, or baked in the oven. However, I’ve never boiled them first; rather I just bake them.
They are considered the national dish of Poland, but are similar to savory pastries or dumplings common throughout Eastern Europe and Russia (2). I first learned about this wonderful dish from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas (1), from which this recipe is adapted.
I provide instructions for mini pierogi and standard size pierogi.
Cream Cheese Pastry for Pierogi
This recipe is adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas. She asserts, “You are well-advised to prepare the pierogi a day ahead and bake them when needed. They are delicious hot and wonderful cold.” (1)
Makes about 20 – 35 pierogi, depending on size.
While I’ve not tested this specific recipe, it is similar to the pastry for my Russian Vegetable Pie recipe which I’ve made many times. While this recipe uses all unbleached white flour, you can use part whole wheat pastry flour, as in the Vegetable Pie recipe. When using whole grain flour, I highly recommend using the presoak method, which includes the addition of plain, unsweetened yogurt.
The acidic medium provided by the yogurt activates the phytase enzyme in the whole grain, which in turn makes the minerals inherent in the grain more bio-available. See the pastry recipe for Russian Vegetable Pie, for instructions; note, however the Vegetable Pie recipe makes half the dough made by the pastry recipe here.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 ¾ cups unbleached white flour, plus more for rolling *
- 1 tsp Unrefined sea salt
- 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp water, from bruising on pastry
- large mixing bowl
- pastry board or other surface
- pastry cloth and rolling pin cover
* Or use 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour and ¾ cup unbleached white flour plus more for rolling. If you wish to do a presoak, decrease the heavy cream to 1 Tbsp and add 2 Tbsp plain unsweetened yogurt plus 1 – 2 Tbsp water. See Russian Vegetable Pie for more detail on the presoak.
Make pierogi dough
- Cream butter and cheese and let soften. Beat in cream.
- Sift flour with salt, then mix into the butter mixture. At this point, it can be set aside until you are ready to roll, shape, fill and bake the pierogi. Or, if you use part whole wheat pastry flour, add the yogurt and water in this step, then let rest, covered, overnight. See Russian Vegetable Pie for more detail on the presoak.
- Combine the egg and water in a small bowl; beat with a fork. Set aside.
- When ready to make the pierogi, flour a board with a little of the flour; dust the rolling pin as well (I would use a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover, then dust them with flour).
Shape and fill mini pierogi (such as Mushroom Pierogi)
- Roll out dough to about ⅛” thickness, testing now and then to be sure it is not sticking to the rolling surface. Then cut dough into squares about 2 ½” in size.
- Put a teaspoon-full of filling (for mini-pierogi) onto each square.
- Moisten exposed edges of pastry with the beaten egg. Bring the 4 corners up to meet in the center. Seal edges very carefully, as they tend to come apart while baking unless sealed well. Place each on lightly buttered baking sheet.
Shape Standard-size pierogi
- Pinch off portions of unrolled dough, and roll to 3 ½” – 4″ diameter circles, about ⅛” thick.
- Place 1 – 2 Tbsp of filling onto center of each circle, leaving about ½” of exposed pastry around edges. Moisten edges of pastry ae with the beaten egg. Fold in half and press edges together; crimp edge with fork tines.
Bake (all sizes)
- When all are made, brush tops with more of the beaten egg.
- Bake in preheated oven about 15 – 2o minutes (for the mini pierogi); larger pierogi may need more time, up to 35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve hot, or let cool before serving.
- The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas
- Wikipedia on Pierogi (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierogi)