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Can anyone weigh in on the pierogie recipe I made last night from Anna Thomas's New Vegetarian Epicure? My expectations for these pierogies were based on the countless pierogies I've had in my life--the kind that are boiled then fried in butter then served with sour cream. The recipe in NVE is based on a very short pastry (4 oz butter and 4 oz cream cheese to 1.5 cups of flour--at least that's what I think the ratio was) that puffs dramatically in the oven (yes, these are baked, not boiled).

They were delicious, although I'll use more salt next time, but not what I think of as pierogies. Has anyone encountered this type before? are they more akin to a Russian piroshki?

Any help on the ethno-history of these flaky turnover-type pastries would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. My family background is not from a pierogi culture but I have eaten them since childhood. I have never seen a baked pierogi before and have never seen a recipe for one before. My old copy (1968) of The Art of Polishh Cooking by Alina Zeranska only has recipes for boiled pierogis whether sweet or savoury. I think if it is baked it is not a pierogi but something else like a piroshki

    1. I did grow up in a pierogi culture and I've never heard of a baked one either. My grandmother would roll in her grave.

      I'm not gonna argue that they were good but it doesn't sound like a pierogi to me.

      I also shudder at the thought of vegetarian pierogies. We use diced salt pork in all our fillings and fry them up in rendered salt pork fat. Not butter. Mmmmmmmm


      2 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        I've never had them with meat, but my husband and kids would love a version with salt pork. How strange that vegetarian peirogies are the exception for you...I lived with my Polish grandmother and great aunt growing up (Bushy and Cioci). In our house, pierogies were always a friday staple during lent when we couldn't eat meat. They were filled with either potato and cheese or potato and cabbage (or sauerkraut depending on the family). They were boiled, then fried with butter and onions.

        I checked a book I have called "Treasured Polish Recipes" by the Polanie club (a polish women's organization), and I found a pierogie variation with a yeast dough called 'Pierogi na Drozdzach z Roznemi Farszami' which is stuffed with your favorite filling and baked in the oven.

        I love how something so traditional to a cuisine, like pierogie can still vary so greatly from family to family...I wish I had my grandmother's recipe to pass on to my kids.

        1. re: bacchus

          We make three kinds. Potato (No cheese) and cabbage (Not kraut) both with "Squatkas" or diced salt pork mixed in with the filling. It's hard to call it meat since it's pure fat. Not an ounce of lean to be found. We also make cottage cheese. All are boiled and then tossed in the rendered pork fat. They're then fried before eating. We garnish them with sour cream.

          Incidentally, my grandmother was from Ukrane and it was her recipe.


      2. I have never heard of baking a pierogi. There are almost always boiled and then sautéed in browned butter, but I have seen them deep fried, but the results weren't good.

        The pierogis that I learned how to make were filled with either kraut, mashed potatoes, cheese and occasionally bits of sausage. There are many more possibilities, but those are the most common in my family.

        1. Pirohi (Carpatho-Russian, Ukrainian) are made from, basically, a noodle dough. Send Anna a note and ask her what she is basing her recipe on. The baking prep certainly sounds like Russian pirozhki.

          1. My family are Wysockis, so I had my share of pierogies and galumpkis and punczkis, and I had never heard of baking one either. I thought maybe this was a regional variation. I did send her a note asking about the recipe, and I'd be really interested in hearing about it. I definitely wouldn't call it a pierogie, based on my understanding of that dumpling, but it was certainly tasty. The filling was pierogie-like, for sure.

            The dough was very impressive though, and I think I might use it for a Thanksgiving apple pie. It was very, very flaky--almost like puff pastry--and brushed with egg yolk, they were shiny and elegant looking. And I mixed it up in my blender, so was REALLY amazed at the results.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rcsimm

              Please post if you get a response. What did Anna recommend as fillings? We have her original Vegetarian Epicure cookbook. Almost sounds like an empanada. Did you pinch the dough on the edges to secure the filling?

              1. re: rcsimm

                Can you give me the recipe? Thanks

                1. re: rcsimm

                  I had this cookbook at one point...while the dish may have been very tasty, it's not a book I would look to for any kind of authenticity. She was probably just making her own veggie version of a pierogi, just like some cookbooks make very bastardized versions of Italian dishes, Mexican dishes, etc (vegetarian cookbooks are especially prone to making very, ummm, "different" versions of classics). Again it doesn't mean they aren't tasty, but I can't imagine she's claiming to be making an authentic version of the dish, unless she explicitly says something like, "this is a lesser known type of pierogi I had in X region of Poland..."

                  1. re: christy319

                    Actually, she responded to my email query and agreed that the version in her book is probably more akin to piroshki than the unleavened pierogies we're all familiar with. (although, Bacchus and rworange point out in this thread that baked pierogies are a known variant in Poland. Also, Anna was born to Polish parents, so she probably has some frame of reference for this recipe.)

                    I've never had a pierogi stuffed with meat, by the way. And the version that appears in her book is in no way a healthful alternative to noodle-dough pierogies. So this isn't a case of someone taking a recipe like, say Bigos stew, and reinventing it for vegetarians.

                2. You know, I was about to mock this as some new age cooking gimick ... but if there is one thing I've learned on Chowhound is to do a little research before sarcastically shooting my fingers off ... no, really.

                  Anyway, from what I could find googling on 'baked pierogi' these seem to be a regional thing and actually there are a few restaurants in Poland serving them.

                  I tried following up on some of the other names assigned to them, but that led to a dead end.

                  This lady mentions her 90 year old father from Poland liked them ... so it ain't nothing new ... scroll down to babki Gryczane

                  Given one regional reference that I couldn't access on-line, I searched for regional Polish Food or Cuisine. Not much except to tons of references to this book which may or may not have info about it, but it sounds like a cool book, especially if visiting Poland. I never thought too much about regional specialties as Poland ain't exactly huge.
                  Eat Smart in Poland

                  Here's a hotel restaurant in the middle of the mountains of Poland that has baked pierogi on the menu ... and pizza

                  However this was the coolest. This restaurant in Poland has a pierogi bar and serves baked pierogi ... they even have a pierogi happy hour

                  But I am geared up to mock, so this recipe for baked pierogi should do it ... let's just say it involves instant potato flakes and canned buttermilk biscuits ... although I did try searching on the altenate name

                  It is kind of funny how the regional stuff, in any cuisine never makes it out of the country. I'm 100 percent Polish-American (all grandparents from Poland), have a collection of Polish cookbooks and I've never seen a reference to this.

                  Someone was talking on the SF board about the most common Mexican cuisine in this area and asked about more unusual dishes ... and no one really serves them, even though they might be common to that region of Mexico.

                  Guessing from his list, it might be a class thing where richer or middle class people might make them, so I might guess that since so many immigrants of any nationality are looking to better themselves in this country, those dishes are not in their repetoire.

                  However, that theory falls apart since there doesn't seem anything upper class about baked pierogi.

                  Anyway, hope someone else has some clues. It might have been better to put baked pierogi in the title to attract the attention of anyone who might have knowledge of this. If you find anything else out, please report back.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rworange

                    It could not possibly been a class thing of the richer or better off, since it was the poorer migrants, that came here in the late 1800's and early 1900's like my Grandparents did. They were coal miner and farmer families for the most part. Things were very bad under the Seperation of Poland in to 3 parts divided up by the Prussians, Austrians, and Russians after being the largest Empire in Europe in 1650. There probably was a failure of crops due to weather and politics, which prompted the people without any hope of advancing with hard work on the farms and small villages. Because the potato, cabbage, dill, cucumbers (dill Pickles), grew under those conditions, their recipes were brought to America. Many of the folks settled on farms and raised all those foods they were famailiar with. I saw this on my Grandfather's farm 30-40 years later after coming to Amer, when I was growning up. There was NO rationing there, and we had all the food we needed. They ate better then the rich in Poland with a barnyard full of animals and a garden full of their favorite fruits and vegetables, but not readily availalbe in Poland.

                    Now for the Boiled vs Baked pierogie question. We have to see it through their eyes as it was in the Old Country. Since from ancient times, we know that a pot of water could be heated over a 'open' fire, whereas an oven as we know them were not easily available. When I took my Mother for a visit to relatives, I got to see how her Aunt or cousin still lived in a sod roofed 'hut'. I don't even recall seeing anything like a kitchen at that time.

                    As a youngster, I do remember meat in pierogie as a variation to the uusual kapusta,potato, onion and DRY cottage cheese, also in various combinations. I once had a special treat from a Mother of a friend, who made them up with meat she hand picked from the chicken neck. And they were gourmet for sure.

                    My mother taught my Sister in Law and her five girls how to make authetic pierogie and other cherished Polish dishes. Now the girls have Pierogie Making parties for various Holidays like Xmas. Often making 200 or so enough for several meals. THey are much larger, then what you normally see, anywhere. At Xmas EVE, we had traditional special meatless dishes only prepared for that night. One I recall was pierogie made with prunes, a special sourlike white borsth sp? made with flour, kapusta unlike anything called sauerkraut, since the seasoning made it the best tasting anywhere.

                    Perhaps it is more, then you wanted to know, but it was nice thinking of those childhood years, when foods were not as plentiful as they are now. But they sure were savory!

                    I still am able to enjoy an empanada, Pierogie like with chicken or beef, and cheese at all the sidewalk fruit smoothie stands in Rio for an afternoon snack. Wonderful flavoring. It is a real treat! Very common at most restaurants, also. Very flaky crust and warm/hot from fresh preparation throughout the day. One place I think they are deep fried, but look and taste baked. It is owned by Chinese. They also juice fresh sugar cane for a marvelous drink to go with them.

                    1. re: rworange

                      loved your response.
                      i am french but have dated two canadians who introduced me to pergoies or varenyky (ukrainian version).

                      these posts always get me crazy because people love to be right. thanks for your research and wit. ;)

                    2. Thanks for the educated response, rworange. I was about to shoot off my big Pollack mouth about the inauthenticity of a baked pierogie. Thanks for the reminder that even when we think we know everything about a subject, often we do not :)

                      1. Well, I was born in Poland and lived there during my childhood. We often had yeast raised, baked pierogi, but for dessert. They were usually filled with cheese or fruit and nuts.

                        1. She had recipes for a potato filling and a cabbage filling. The technique was to cut out rounds of dough using a 2-inch cutter, place a teaspoon of filling on the rounds, then fold over and seal by crimping with the tines of a fork. As you can imagine, using a 2-inch cutter, these were dainty looking things.

                          I'd be happy to post any reply I get from Anna, although I'm slightly doubtful that I'll hear anything...

                          1. My mother made baked pierogies. They were made with a potato dough, very stiff and hard to roll out, but delicious when baked. She always filled them with sauteed cabbage and onions. Then she made a bechamel sauce with carmelized onions in it. We poured it over the pierogies individually. YUMMM!!!
                            My grandparents were Slovakian and she grew up in Nicetown, Pa.

                            1. I have never eaten a pierogie in my life and know that I'm missing something wonderful. I actually was going to get on here today for a recommedation. I now have plenty of good ideas and where to look for a good recipe, I can't wait to try some of these out.

                              1. Our Czech family recipe is a simple dough filled with potatoes and sharp cheddar, boiled, and warmed through with butter and onions. I make some a fried on the edges for my father.

                                I have seen recipes/mentions/and even a store selling baked versions. Seemed like a terrible waste...

                                1. I love perogies - never seen them baked, but I've often considerd creating a recipe with a good store-bought perogie that would end up in some kind of cassarole dish in the oven - ala baked ziti.

                                  I usually saute them in butter and olive oil, but they also taste very good grilled. Try it some time.

                                  1. oooh i like that thought GDS!

                                    1. I just had to use my first post here to weigh in on perogie preparation :). Perogies are a huge part of my Polish family's holiday dinners. They are saurkraut, prune or cheese (no meat because we eat them with polish sausage), and are prepared by boiling, then frying in a pan with butter and browned breadcrumbs. We never had them with sour cream or fried onions. I've never seen them prepared this way anywhere else, but it's my favorite way to eat them.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cheetobrain

                                        Our family's method was to boil them and then top them with onions fried in butter. This also seems to be the popular method in our area.

                                        Frying them was more of a snack thing and we fried them in butter.

                                        The only time we used sour cream was on the sweet ones which were usually wild blueberry.

                                      2. I grew up eating pirogies that were boiled and then sautéed with butter and onions, but I started using them as dumplings in chicken noodle soup when I was in college. I was never good at making matzo balls, but pirogies make a very filling dish when served with soup.

                                        I make good pirogies, but the pirogi-lady at the West Side Market in Cleveland makes the best.

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: Kelli2006

                                          You can also buy them at DOM POLSKI in Flint, MI, I am told. But my Brother prefers the homemade ones, his daughters make up.

                                          1. re: nutrition

                                            Nutrition, I live in N-E Ohio and pirogies are extremely common in the area. I have 6+ recipes for different fillings, but it seems that the Pirogi-Lady at the WSM is even more inventive.
                                            The pirogies that are found as a side dish to Lenten fish fries are also very good if you go to the older ethnic neighborhoods in Cleveland.

                                            I have always cooked them in boiling water for a few minutes(until they float and then give them 2-3 minutes), drain drain with a slotted spoon and then brown them in a hot skillet with browned butter w/ toasted bread crumbs and caramelized onions. Garnish with parsley and serve with sour cream.

                                            1. re: Kelli2006

                                              Just wondering - why do people boil them? I almost always use the brands that show up in the deli area - refridgerated. I usually just saute them up in butter and/or olive oil. The seem fine to to me - what would I gain by boiling them? Perhaps they are pre-boiled for me?

                                              1. re: GDSinPA

                                                They have a much better texture. One way to decide would be to prepare some using the boil/fry method and see how you like them. You could also try just boiling them and topping with some fried onions (in butter) for a nice change.

                                                1. re: Hank1

                                                  I'll give it a shot, I guess it makes sense as I've seen some other dumpling and pasta dishes call for boiling, then a saute (like gnochi).

                                                  1. re: GDSinPA

                                                    I think you will notice a big difference. As you said most dumpling cooking methods usually involve steaming or boiling.

                                                2. re: GDSinPA

                                                  A long time ago, Bought some frozen ones at TJ, thinking that they had been already boiled. Tried frying them and it was not good. Just tough dough, that took a long time to brown.
                                                  They need to be boiled for the same reason noodles of all sorts are boiled!

                                                3. re: Kelli2006

                                                  Spoke to a younger friend from Poznan area about what his mother used for filling. She used MUSHROOMS like my mother put into the kaputa filling with Dry Cottage cheese. Potato was not used, but he said to the west, the Germans did, since they are very fond of potatoes. It didn't make any difference as to income, since everyone was poor!
                                                  Does anyone remember the dry cottage cheese in cheese cloth being drained hunging from the kitchen sink faucet?

                                              2. re: Kelli2006

                                                So is this also the best thing to do, boil then fry, with frozen Mrs. T's ones? I have a large bag in the freezer and wondered how to make them come out the best and maybe try to fool people into thinking they're homemade. Thanks.

                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                  No one will die and I am sure your guests will appreciate the effort and anything will make them taste better but they won't fool anyone who has ever had homemade pierogies.

                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                    Even Mrs. T's are good when you boil them and pan fry them with butter and top with carmelized onions. My favorite "full meal" way to cook them is to carmelize onions in bacon fat, then add sliced cabbage, cook till wilted, add back the bacon and then serve this with the browned pierogis.

                                                2. I missed posting the latest and almost best of the home cooked peirogie.
                                                  Had some Lobster ravioli from Costco in the refrigerator, that had been boiled, so fried them up in coconut oil and a bit of butter till they got some brown and cripsy spots. Absolute delight, and plan to do it again, and again. The dough was very much like my Mother made and hard to tell a taste difference. Try it, you will like it!

                                                  1. My Bobi used to make them with potato and a mild cheese. I think she always used farmers cheese but I am not sure. She alos did not really fry them she would put them in this huge pot that had melted butter and put the top on and shake them for a few minutes. The other flavor was prunes and they were all together in that same pot. WOW nothing I had from friends or the stores ever came close to those guys she made! She also made something that looked liked PIZZA but there was no sauce and if there was cheese it wasn't what we would melt on bread. I think it might have been gabbage and something but the recepie is gone and no one in our family ever knew haw to make it. If any knows what this white pizza thing might be I would love to know! MIkeD

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: mikeed80

                                                      They must have been boiled before they got the shaking in a very hot fry pan.
                                                      Otherwise the dough would have been 'raw' or uncooked!

                                                    2. hiya i'm new here, but have been searching for the type of baked perogis my granny n baba used to make, and these sound similar, except our family recipe has condensed milk in the dough mixture but no cream cheese, my granny used to serve 2 kinds for mains, which were the dry cottage cheese ones(mixed with one egg), and one with crushed bean, she would also make a desert type with whatever fruit was in season, the savory ones were served with just melted butter. my granny was from russia, but i'm not sure what part, thou i think it was in part of the ukraine. they were most definately baked, but she refered to them as perahee(sp?)

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: shanniebell

                                                        >>>she refered to them as perahee(sp?)

                                                        perahee is just a transliteration of the 'correct' pronounciation of pierogi (I use correct very loosely, because I'm sure different nationalities/regions pronounce it differently).

                                                        The +1's family is Ukrainian and I LOVE the dessert pierogis. When filled with sour cherries or wild blueberry jam...Mmmmmmmmm.

                                                        1. re: Smokey

                                                          "Pirohi" is the Ukrainian/Carpatho-Russian pronunciation. There are two variations, one with the accent on the second syllable, and one with the accent on the last syllable. The first variation is the way my family pronounces it.

                                                      2. rcsimm - i would love to try out the version you made from NVE - can you post it?

                                                        1. I've made baked pirogis using an old recipe from Bon Appetit that called for a dough made of flour, butter and cream cheese. It wasn't like any other pirogi I've ever had (and I'm Carpatho-Russyn) but they sure were great and easier to make than the traditional kinds. I've also bought fresh dough pirogis from a Polish market in Trenton that only required frying in butter. No boiling was needed and they were some of the best I've ever had, excluding my Aunt Anna's, rest her soul.

                                                          1. Hmmmmm... my grandmother was from the Ukraine, and every holiday always had what she called Baked pierogi (actually, not sure of the spelling, but it was more like pyroheh?) Anyways, I think they were actually made froma dough very similar to paska dough... and the filling was not with potatoes, but kapusta (sauerkraut and onions), prunes (my Dad loved these), or a fig mixture. They were almost like a dessert because they were so sweet! I can remember being about 5 or 6 years old and hiding under my aunt's dining room table with my cousin... no one could see us because of the tablecloth... and we 2 ate nearly all of the kapusta ones before anyone else sat down to dinner. Wow - did we ever catch the devil for THAT!

                                                            Now I've been searching for a recipe like this... Grandama died 30 years ago, and no one else in the family has ever bothered to learn to cook all these wonderful ethnic recipes. Before she passed away, I did spend time with her learning some of them... but not all. And as Christmas approaches, I find myself remember so many of them, and wanting to give MY children a taste of these.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: HappyJacky50

                                                              Really? If I made a recipe for pierogi that is on tastespotting via Rachael Ray -- I can't even link to FN because their search facility now sucks -- they would be okay?

                                                              I've only recently discovered pierogis and could live on them, along with ice cream and bourbon, of course. OMG, they're good.

                                                              But this recipe from tastespotting appears soooo easy, can it be? I thought the dough required a pasta maker and I don't do pasta makers. Here is the link to the T/S recipe: