Sunday, May 5, 2013


Last week my mom and I were in the store and I saw a perogy press mold. I begged my mom to buy it, claiming that I would use it right away. My mom gave in because she said she remembered how her family used to have a similar one when she was a little girl and started to recall some of her childhood memories in the kitchen. The fact that it was on sale also helped.

True to my word I used the perogy mold later that same week. Earlier that day I had visited my grandmother for lunch and told her of my intentions to make fresh perogies, or as we call them in Russian "varyeniki", from scratch. In a conversation with my mother the next day, my grandmother said she could tell that physically I was present but mentally I was thinking all about the perogies...which was totally true.

The concept of the perogy mold was good: make the dough, roll it out and cut into strips, press into the mold, fill each cavity with the filling, lay a second sheet over-top, and then use a rolling pin to apply pressure and seal the perogies. Then pop out the finished product and BAM... six perogies all at once. The problem was that the mold was not well designed and the perogies were not as easy to seal and pop out as they should have been. The mold itself was not heavy, therefore it tended to slide on the counter when using the rolling pin. Also, the ridges were not as pronounced as they should have been, meaning that after using the rolling pin we still had to use our fingers to apply pressure on specific parts of the mold for the perogies to properly seal. Despite our initial difficulties we eventually got the hang of it and admitted that there was a certain convenience to being able to make and fill six perogies at a time, even with the flaws in the mold.

We used a traditional potato and onion filling, with a few select ones having cheese as well for my brother's sake. After boiling them off, we also pan-fried them for an extra crunch and served them with caramelized onions and sour cream. Personally I have always loved perogies and was really proud of the finished product. More so, I was happy to spend the time in the kitchen with my mom knowing that she had done the same with her mom when she was a young girl.

Note: It is best to make the filling first and allow it to cool while making the dough because it cannot be hot when making the perogies, otherwise it will melt the dough. This recipe makes approximately 36 perogies.

For the dough:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  1. Combine the flour and salt and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the egg, water, and oil. Stir into flour mixture, adding up to 2 tbsp more water if needed to make a soft, but not sticky dough.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface about 10 times, or until it is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.
For the filling:
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium sized onions, chopped
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that water is gently boiling and cook potatoes for 10-15 minutes, or until the pieces can be easily pierced with a fork. 
  2. Drain the water from the potatoes and mash well so that no chunks remain.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, pour some olive oil into a large pan and saute the onions over medium heat until deep golden in color and caramelized.
  4. Combine ¾ of the onions with the mashed potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the remainder to serve with the finished perogies.  
To assemble and cook:
Note: The assembly instructions are based on making each perogy one at a time, without the use of any tools or molds. Although not necessary, pan-frying the perogies at the end makes them taste even better and I would highly recommend it.
  1. Divide the dough into quarters and work with one portion at a time, keeping the rest covered with a towel.
  2. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface until almost translucent.
  3. Using a 3" round cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place approximately 1 tsp of filling on each round.
  4. Lightly moisten the edge of half of the round with water. Fold over the filling and pinch edges together to seal.
  5. Place finished perogy on a flour-dusted cloth or plate and cover with a towel to prevent from drying out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  6. In large pot of boiling salted water, cook the perogies, in batches and stirring gently, until floating and tender, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a colander to drain.
  7. If desired, melt a little bit of butter in a pan and quickly fry the perogies, about 5-8 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve with reserved onions and sour cream.

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