Monday, February 28, 2011


I like piroghi topped with sour cream and dill.
I love dumplings. I am on a delicious quest of slowly mastering all of the world's dumplings. It will take awhile, but I have time. Polish dumplings are my latest adventure. Specifically, piroghi which are named for their shape, not their filling. Piroghi are large rectangle, square or round pies;  they can be filled with different fillings ranging from sweet to savory. I chose two savory fillings: onions and sauerkraut and potatoes and onions.
The sauerkraut filling was so good, I made a small bowl of it and ate it while the pastry dough was resting. The potato filling became my new mashed potato recipe. The dough that is used also varies. I had yeast dough, sour cream pastry, and puff pastry to choose from.  There was no doubt in my mind; I went for the sour cream pastry. These dumplings were a bit of work but they were worth it.

Dumpling Dough

3 Cups (375 g) of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Tsp of Salt
1/2 Tsp of Baking Powder
14 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter, Chilled and Cut into Pieces
2 Yolks from Large Eggs
2/3 Cup (225 g) of Sour Cream (Light Sour Cream May Be Used)

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter and use a pasty blender or your fingers to blend until the flour looks like coarse bread crumbs.
The mixture should look like coarse breadcrumbs
In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks and sour cream.
Adding the sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients
Add this mixture to the dry ingredients a bit at a time, mixing into to the flour with your hands.
Mixing it with my fingers- what a mess!
Once the sour cream mixture is mixed in, transfer the pastry to a light floured surface and knead it briefly. Divide the pastry into two parts, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Mixed, kneaded and ready to rest!
I like to refrigerate the dough overnight. I think it is easier to work with.

Sauerkraut Onion Filling

2 Tbsp of Butter
1/2 Cup (95 g) of Onions, Chopped (Preferably Red Onions)
1 1/2 Cups (213 g) of Sauerkraut
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion to the melted butter and sauté until the onion is translucent, approximately 15 minutes. Add the sauerkraut to the skillet and sauté for 5 more minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Once it cools, I place the filling on a cutting board and chop it into fine pieces.
The sauerkraut onion mixture

Potato Onion Filling
3 Tbsp of Butter
1 Cup (191 g) of Onions, Finely Chopped
3 Potatoes (approximately 20 oz/560 g each), Peeled, Boiled, and Mashed
3 oz (85 g) Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Heat the oil in a small skillet and medium heat. add the onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. This should take about 15 minutes. Place the onions in a bowl and mix in the remainder of the ingredients.
The potato mixture (also the world's best mashed potatoes)
Making the Piroghi

Take a piece of dough (refrigerate the remaining dough) and roll it out on a lightly flour surface. You want the dough to be thin approximately 1/8 inch (20 cm). With a large cookie cutter (I like to use a scalloped edge) or a drinking glass, cut out rounds from the dough.
Dough round

Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the dough round. Next moisten the edges with water and fold the edge so they meet in the center. Seal the edges tightly and set on a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
I usually make several at a time.
Sealed piroghi.

I boil mine in water for 3-5 minutes (they are done when they float to the surface). You can also brush them with egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk) and bake them in a 350 F/175 C oven for approximately 25 minutes.  I freeze (uncooked) piroghis and they freeze well.

With this dough it is important to moisten the dough and tightly seal it. Otherwise, they will come apart while you are boiling them. Also you want a "light" boil not a roiling boil. These are too delicate to be cooked in a rolling boil.

The bottom line: Would I make these again? Yes I would. The dough was easy to work with especially after chilling overnight in the refrigerator. I plan on trying different doughs and fillings.

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