By Cat, June 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
- Includes: 1. Pierogi Ruski, Boiled or Fried (includes Simple Pierogi Pastry, for Boiling)
- See also: 1. Ethnic Recipes Menu (scroll down to Eastern Europe & Russian section)
I learned of Pierogi Ruskie as I was looking for a good photo of pierogi. Wikipedia (1) indicates it is the most popular in the US and Canada, with a filling of potato and white cheese. On the other hand, those made with potato and meat are the most popular in Europe.
Interestingly, the name “Ruskie” is not slang for “Russian,” but rather refers to Ruthenia, a region of “Rus” peoples living in what is now the eastern slavic regions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the countries of Ukraine and Belarus, and western Russia. (1)
This recipe is an example of boiled or fried pierogi. It is fairly extensive time-wise, to make.
The pastry presented here is a simple recipe of flour, egg, salt and water – more like noodle dough, and after filling and crimping the edges, is boiled in water until they float. Just before serving, the cooked pierogi can then be fried in butter or baked. (2,3). I’ve not yet tried this method (boiling and frying the pierogi), but it sounds a lot like making Chinese Pot Stickers (4), which I have done before.
The filling is made from mashed or riced potatoes, sautéed onion, and farmers cheese. This cheese is like dry cottage cheese (no added cream). If you cannot find it, ricotta is a good substitute. Or you can drain the cream off cottage cheese.
I’ve adapted this recipe from two online sources, Eastern European Food, by Barbara Rolek (2) and Fine Cooking, by Beata Zatorska (3). I prefer the pastry of the first recipe; the second provides instructions for frying the pierogi after boiling them. The fillings from both recipes are very similar, but the Fine Cooking recipe uses more onion.
Use russet potatoes for ricing after cooking. Yellow or white onions are also recommended (not red onion).
Ingredients & Equipment
- 2 – 2 ½ cups unbleached white flour
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Unrefined sea salt
- about 1 cup filtered water, lukewarm
- 2 lb ruset potatoes, scrubbed
- 2 Tbsp (or more, to taste) finely minced yellow or white onion; NOTE: you may wish to mince and sauté extra onion to use as garnish when serving the pierogi
- 1 Tbsp butter (or more, if using more onion)
- 8 oz farmers cheese at room temperature *
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
* Ricotta cheese, or cottage cheese drained of its cream are good substitutes for farmers cheese
- Sift flour into mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
- Break the egg into the well; add salt. Working with a wooden spoon, adding a little of the lukewarm water at a time until well mixed. Knead in the bowl with your hand, or turn out onto lightly floured work surface to knead. Add more flour or water as needed. Knead until it is just soft and elastic. Kneading too little or too much will make it hard to shape.
- Divide dough into 2 or more portions* and return the portions to the cleaned-out bowl. Cover with a cotton cloth and let rest 20 minutes. Alternately, leave portions of dough on the kneading surface and cover with overturned bowl(s).
*NOTE: if the surface where you will roll out the dough is small, or to prevent dough from drying out while you work on the other portion(s), you may wish to divide the dough into 4 or more portions.
Filling: This can be made up to 1 day in advance; cover and refrigerate
- Scrub potatoes, leaving skin on, then place in saucepan with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until just done, about 15 minutes. Cool enough to handle, then peel and press through a ricer, or break them up with a fork, but some small pieces of potato should remain.
- Mince the onion finely, then sauté in 1 Tbsp butter, using cast iron skillet.
- Mix onion, cheese and salt with the potato, but do not over mix.
Making the pierogi
- Lightly flour a baking sheet.
- Roll out one portion of dough on lightly floured surface, to ⅛” thickness. Cut into 2″ or 3″ circles. Gather up the scraps of dough from each portion and re-roll to make more circles.
- Working with one circle at a time (and keeping the others covered with a sheet of parchment so they don’t dry out), cup the circle in the palm of your hand, add 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp filling to center of circle. Fold in half and crimp ½” of the edges together to create a half-moon shape. You may wish to dab a bit of water with your finger around the edge to help the halves stick together. Place on floured baking sheet and lightly flour the top side; cover sheet with towel.
- Repeat with remaining circles.
- When all are shaped, you are ready to cook them. OR you can refrigerate or freeze them:
- Refrigerate: Filled pierogi can be made up to 2 hours in advance of cooking, then covered and refrigerated, and do not need to be re-warmed before cooking.
- Freeze: Filled pierogi can be made up to 6 months in advance and frozen in single layer on parchment-lined trays, then transferred to freezer bags. They should not be thawed before cooking,
Cooking the Pierogi
- Prepare oven to keep them warm: position arc in center of oven, and heat oven to 175°F. Place ovenproof platter in oven to warm.
- Bring salted water to bowl in large pot over high heat.
- Working in batches of 10, drop the pierogi into boiling water and give a gentle stir so they won’t stick together. When they float to the top, about 1 -2 minutes, they are done. NOTE: if refrigerated or frozen, do not warm/thaw before cooking. They will take longer to cook: 3 – 4 minutes if refrigerated, or 7 – 10 minutes if frozen).
- Remove with slotted spoon, and place on platter in oven.
- Repeat with remaining batches.
- Boiled pierogi: While still warm, place on serving platter and sprinkle with reserved minced and sautéed onion. Drizzle melted butter over, and serve with sour cream on the side.
- Fried Pierogi: Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add 10 pierogi to skillet and cook them until golden brown; flip over and cook until golden and crusty. Remove to serving platter and keep warm in low oven. Repeat with next batch. Sprinkle fried pierogi with reserved minced and sautéed onion. Serve with sour cream on the side.
- Wikipedia on Pierogi (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierogi)
- East European Food (About) Pierogi Ruski recipe by Barbara Rolek (easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/pierogidoughs/r/ruskiepierogi.htm)
- Fine Cooking Pierogi Ruski recipe by Beata Zatorska (finecooking.com/recipes/potato-cheese-pierogi.aspx)
- Fine cooking recipe for Pot Stickers (finecooking.com/recipes/pork-shrimp-dumplings-jiao-zi.aspx)