Sweet and Savory Pierogi

Sweet and Savory Pierogi

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Since I moved away from Canada at 16, I have been homesick for those beautiful pillows of dumpling heaven: pierogi.

Pierogi are thin circles of soft dough filled with something delicious, folded, sealed, boiled, and tossed in melted butter or bacon grease. They’re blissful comfort food on cold winter nights, and have the benefit of working great as an appetizer or as a meal alongside farmer’s sausage or a few slices of ham. You can also make a sweet dessert variety, and I’ll tell you about them a bit later.

sweet savory pierogi

I’ll happily nosh on any sort of pierogi, whether it’s filled with cottage cheese or spiced cabbage or ground beef, but my absolute favorites are those stuffed with cheesy mashed potatoes and served with crispy bacon, golden fried onions, and a dollop of cold sour cream.

Today, as storm clouds rolled in, it seemed the perfect time to introduce my Australian husband to these heavenly dumplings beloved throughout Eastern Europe and brought to Canada by immigrants.

I started with mashed potatoes, the heart of the pierogi dough and filling. Simply peel and boil up 3-4 potatoes and mash them. Half a cup will be used for dough, and the rest for filling.

The dough is simple, just flour, milk, mashed potato, salt, and olive oil. Mix everything together in one bowl, knead lightly, place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.

sweet savory pierogi

I begin by frying up chopped bacon until it’s nice and crispy. I remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside to drain while I use the bacon grease to fry up chopped onions and moisten the potato filling. If there’s enough bacon grease, I save it to gently toss the cooked pierogi in to keep them from sticking to each other. If not, melted butter does the trick nicely. Although you can add the bacon to the filling, I prefer to leave it for a topping since the crisp texture contrasts beautifully with the soft pierogi and sour cream.

I stir together half the onions, potato, shredded cheddar cheese, paprika, and pepper, then set aside for a moment while I roll out the dough.

sweet savory pierogi

Pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll them into 3-4 inch circles. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle, fold dough over, and use water to help seal the edges. Lower into boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes until they float to the surface. Remove with slotted spoon, drain, and set in frying pan, stirring gently to coat with bacon grease and onions. When you’re ready to serve, provide sour cream, crispy bacon, and the remaining fried onions.

For sweet pierogi, simply replace the filling with a tablespoon of jam, or a whole pitted plum, apricot, or half a small peach or nectarine rolled in cinnamon sugar. Cook the same way as you do the savory variety, gently toss with melted butter, and serve with a dollop of sweetened heavy cream or crème fraiche.

sweet savory pierogi

Savory Pierogi with Crispy Bacon and Fried Onions

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup boiled potato, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Filling and Topping:

  • 8 strips bacon, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 boiled potatoes, mashed
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sour cream to serve

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix together flour, milk, potato, salt, and olive oil until soft and slightly sticky dough forms. Knead lightly for 30-60 seconds, then place in oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rest while you make the filling and topping.

In large frying pan, fry bacon until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon to platter covered with paper towel to drain.

In bacon grease, fry up chopped onion until transparent and golden. Remove half the onion and grease with slotted spoon. Pour remaining onion and grease into medium bowl. Add mashed potato, grated cheese, and spices. If mixture is not wet enough to stick together, add 1-2 tablespoons melted butter and mix well. Set aside.

Put large pot of water on to boil.

While it heats, pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll thinly on floured surface into 3-4 inch diameter circles.

In the center of each circle, place 1 tablespoon of mashed potato mixture. Fold dough over to form half circle, and seal edges with a bit of water and gentle pinching. Lightly flatten with the palm of your hand and set aside. Repeat until all dough and filling is used.

When water is boiling, gently lower 4-6 pierogi into water and let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure they don’t stick to bottom of pan. When cooked, pierogi will slowly float to surface. Remove with slotted spoon, drain, and place in frying pan with remaining fried onion and bacon grease, stirring gently to coat. Repeat until all pierogi are cooked, drained, and coated.

Serve topped with crispy bacon pieces, fried onion, and sour cream.

sweet savory pierogi

Sweet Jam Pierogi

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup boiled potato, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Filling and Topping:

  • Pot of favorite jam — quince, strawberry, blueberry, etc.
  • Double cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions:

In medium bowl, mix together flour, milk, potato, salt, and olive oil until soft and slightly sticky dough forms. Knead lightly for 30-60 seconds, then place in oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Set a large pot of water on to boil.

While it heats, pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll thinly on floured surface into 3-4 inch diameter circles.

In the center of each circle, place 1 tablespoon of jam. Fold dough over to form half circle, and seal edges with a bit of water and gentle pinching. Lightly flatten with the palm of your hand and set aside. Repeat until all dough and jam is used.

When water is boiling, gently lower 4-6 pierogi into water and let cook 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure they don’t stick to bottom of pan. When cooked, pierogi will slowly float to surface. Remove with slotted spoon, drain, and toss gently with melted butter.

To serve, top with a spoonful of double cream.

Sweet and Savory Pierogi

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