Saturday, 14 September 2013

homemade pierogi ruskie from scratch

I love pierogi. Not a particularly shocking statement from a woman with a fiercely patriotic Polish grandmother, but true nonetheless. For me the best pierogi have to be the classic 'ruskie' version filled with mashed potato, golden fried onions and cheese. Other pierogi such as sauerkraut and mushroom or meat fillings are perfectly lovely but nothing beats a well made pierogi ruskie gently cooked in butter or lard until it is golden and crispy on the outside and topped with a generous scattering of crispy onions in butter or small pieces of crispy bacon. This is definitely not health food but it's sometimes the only thing that will make you feel better about life or help to cure your homesickness. As children we'd normally have them for dinner with some baked beans or a big splodge of tomato ketchup - I guess this is a symptom of being raised in an anglo-polish family. It's not so easy to get hold of the right cheese, twarog or farmers cheese, for pierogi ruskie in Bangkok so I decided to make my own rather than substitute. It's very easy to get twarog back in the UK now, just take a look in the chilled cabinet in any big supermarket and it'll be alongside all the other 'ethnic' goods along with some half decent kielbasa. It's not at all difficult to make twarog though so why not give it a go if you have the time. For my home made twarog I follow the method described perfectly by the ever creative Chip Butties and Noodle Soup.

The Dough (This recipe is based on Beata Zatorska's which can be found here.)
To make the pastry for about 120 pierogi

1kg plain flour
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
500ml warm water

  1. Put the flour on to a big open work surface and rub in the butter then mix in the water little by little until you have a soft, pliable dough. 
  2. Place in a bowl and cover over to avoid it drying out while you prepare the filling.

Pierogi Ruskie Filling
1kg approx cooked mashed potato
500g twarog (Polish Farmer's Cheese)
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tbsp of butter
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook the onion with the butter until soft and golden brown.
  2. Mix the mashed potato, onion, cheese, salt and pepper together until thoroughly combined. 

Putting it all together
  1. Roll out a piece of the dough on a floured surface to about 3mm thick then using a cutter or up-turned glass cut out circles of about 8cm diameter.
  2. Fill each disc with a teaspoon of the potato and cheese mixture then fold the disc over and crimp the edges together with your thumb and forefinger. 
  3. Once you've made a few you can either cook them immediately in boiling salted water. This should only take a few minutes, they're done when they float back up to the surface. Alternatively you can freeze them then cook when you want them. If you choose to freeze them, put them in the freezer in a single layer on baking parchment. Once they're frozen put them in a zip lock bag for easier storage. You can cook them directly from the freezer.
  4. One of my favourite ways to serve pierogi is to fry them in a little butter after they've been boiled. Cook them until they're crispy and top with crispy cooked onions or bacon bits. 
NOTE: I recently tried a different cooking method for preparing the pierogi from frozen, similar to that used when you cook frozen gyoza. I heat a little oil in a non-stick pan and put a single layer of pierogi in the pan then cook them for 2-3 minutes or until they just begin to colour. Next add recently boiled water from the kettle so that the pierogi are 2/3 covered in water. Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes. If at the end of this time the water hasn't completely evapourated remove the lid and allow to cook until the water has completely disappeared and the pierogi have crispy bottoms.

I've added these awesome pierogi to Made with Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior's site.

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior

I've also contributed to the Four Seasons Food: Autumn

Four Seasons Food
Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg


  1. So cool - love these! Think I'll have to make myself a batch again soon - delicious! They look great - use that 'pot sticker' method myself - good mix of crispy and steamed.

  2. These look and sound wonderful! I have never heard of them before but I just love the idea of the simple pastry filled with cheese oniony soft potato. Gorgeous little dumplings!I love that this was food from your childhood...thats the best type of comfort food that there is! Thanks for entering into Four Seasons Food :) x

  3. These sound so good - and you're right, as much as I've enjoyed other varieties of pierogi fillings, onion and potato is still the very best! I love the homemade cheese - what dedication... Thank you so much for sharing these with Made with Love Mondays and welcome to the series!

  4. These look extremely delicious, I really must try making them if I can find the right cheese, if I can't can you suggest an alternative (apart from making my own!)

    1. Thanks Anna. If you can't get hold of twarog you could try ricotta or drained cottage cheese. I guess you could also experiment with another cheeses such as a strong cheddar of you liked too. Let me know how it turns out for you. :-)

  5. Sarah Dyer (was Czezowska)20 November 2013 at 09:43

    Hi Anna

    Thank you for the reciepe. I've been looking for one to use for wigillia. Each family make a bath and my babcia always picks the winner but none are half as good as hers.

    :) x

    1. Cześć Sarah
      Mine will never be as good as Babcia's either. I think they all have a magical talent. I can't get my ryba po grecku as good as hers yet either. Glad you like the pierogi recipe, it's tge best one I've used and works perfectly. It's well worth making your own cheese too is you can. Enjoy.

      Tessa :D

    2. Sarah Dyer (was Czezowska)21 November 2013 at 12:51

      Cześć Tessa

      Do you have a bigos recipe? My dad makes the best one but I want to try it myself


    3. Shamefully as a kid I didn't really like bigos so didn't pay much attention when my gran or my dad made it. I definitely regret that now. Just like I wish I knew the secret to my gran's plum cake, pachki and placki. I can make them all and they taste pretty good but they're just not quite 'right' if you know what I mean. Anyway. My sister has a nice recipe for bigos, a little unconventional but tasty.

      Enjoy :D


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