09 January 2011

Gluten Free Pierogi: A Dream Realized

Tvorog and Potato Filled GF Pierogi with Melted Butter

I did it.  For the last four years since going gluten-free I have mourned the loss of my favorite family foods, but none more than homemade pierogi filled with a cottage cheese and potato mixture, with melted butter drizzled over them and a dollop of sour cream. They were a staple in my family (Polish and Ukrainian in origin), especially around the holidays.  We used to spend Christmas Eve at my Ukrainian Grandmother's house where she served them with roasted kielbasa, pickled herring on rye bread, head cheese (never was brave enough to try that) and various pickled vegetables.  I loved them best the next day fried in butter.  My Mom (Polish side of the family) learned to make the Ukrainian version when I was little and she had a hard time with the dough, possibly because my Grandmother forgot to tell her to add a little oil to it.

I made them once before going gluten free and had trouble with the dough too, so the thought of making them with GF flour really scared the living daylights out of me.  But, after having much success with GF baking with Jules GF All Purpose Flour, I decided to have a go at it this year. Mom came for Christmas and we made these Christmas Eve and served them with Polish Kielbasa from George's Deli in Seattle and with homemade borscht (The Russian Tea Room Cookbook recipe). I used Jules' flour and substituted tvorog (an East European version of Farmer's cheese, which is not as wet as cottage cheese) for the cottage cheese in the recipe.  I got the tvorog from an Armenian Deli in Bellevue, WA.

The recipe I used for the pierogi dough is a modified version of my Ukrainian Grandmother's Pyrohy (Ukrainian version of pierogi).  I used the instructions from the recipe for Varenyky (Pyrohy) recipe from the Ukrainian Daughter's Cookbook, because they seemed more fool-proof.

4 1/2 cups of flour (I used Jules All Purpose GF)
1 Tablespoon salt
1  1/2 cups cold water
1 egg
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

6 cups of mashed potatoes
1 carton regular cottage cheese (or equivalent amount Farmer's cheese or tvorog)

Whisk together water, oil and egg (use a large bowl).  Blend well, then add 3 1/2 cups of the flour.  Knead dough, while adding the last cup of flour. Knead until smooth and soft.  Put in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rest 20 minutes ( I put the bowl in the fridge).

Roll out a small amount of the dough on a floured board (I used marble) until thinner than pie crust and cut out circles with a 3" biscuit cutter.  (I rolled out enough dough for 5-6 circles at a time).  Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough circle and fold in half, crimping the edges with your fingers. Place completed ones on a linen towel and cover with another towel to keep them from drying out. When you have rolled out, cut out and filled all the pyrohy, cook them in boiling water.  They will float to the top when done. Stir them with a wooden spoon while cooking so they do not stick to the bottom.  When done, remove them with a slotted spoon (I used a Chinese skimmer) and place them in a bowl and drizzle with melted butter.  Serve with sour cream.  You can refrigerate or freeze leftovers and reheat again without loss of flavor.  Take care to put butter over them before storing so they do not stick together.

Pierogi Making Process


Natalia said...

Hi Karen,
You have come to me like an angel from God.
I too have Ukrainian blood running through my veins. I have also suffered from migraines since the age of about 5. Part of the cause;
10 months ago I discovered my 19 year old daughter and I are celiac.
We are so missing our Ukrainian foods that were a big part of our heritage. You have now given me hope of trying gluten free pierogi which is such a dream realized. We also love them with cheese and potato filling and potatoes mashed with fried cabbage and bacon filling. Ohm yes..., you must have that sour cream; and the day after fried in butter…..mmmmmm.
SO GLAD I'M UKRAINIAN. So glad I found you!!!!!!!!!
Hope to keep in touch with you again.
I am Australian and live in Melbourne, Australia along with my husband and three girls Sophia 21, Isabella 19 and Josephine who is 18.
My husband's name is Red Horse. He is a Native American Indian -Mescalero Apache.
I'm sure you'll get a kick out of our website. Please check it out. www.nativeamerican.com.au
You can leave a comment on the contact page to reach me.
I made all the regalia. The tiny beading is so similar to our Ukrainian cross stich designs. It has taken 4 years to prepare.
Would love to keep in touch.
Kindest regards,

Natalia x x x

Natalia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaggieNo said...

Glad to hear of your success with GF piorogi. I'm about to try some myself, using Manini's GF pasta mix. I tasted their fettuccine, having bought it at the Broadway farmer's market and was so impressed that I was inspired to contact cousins to collect all their recipes so I could concoct a GF version.

I'll try your, too, both with Jules and Manini. And, if I get pierogi down pat, I'll be moving on to kolatchki!

veg4life said...

Is this like empanadas? i can't figure out how to do empanadas gfree, and i miss them SO much. will this be similar?

The Exciting and Joyful Events in our Life! said...

You truly are an angel!! I am of Polish and Slovak Heritage. I thought I would never again be able to make and enjoy my Pierogi again. I love your recipe and your advice about Jules All Purpose GF Flour. No one in my family knew these were Gluten-FREE!!
I was wondering if you have any recipe ideas for Poppyseed/Nut Rolls (Kolacky) or the dough for Finger Rolls.
I would really appreciate any input n these items. Please contact me @ mariannematicic@gmail.com if you can help.
Again, Thank you from the bottom, top and sides of my heart!!