Anyone from the prairies would be unsurprised that a prairie girl like me is of a Ukrainian background (and Norwegian which also features pretty largely out there). I grew up eating Ukrainian foods on special occasions – mostly Christmas. Of course, one of the big features of this meal or any Ukrainian meal is the pyrogies. My husband and I had tried making pyrogies a while back and it was a disaster – about 2 hours, a dozen pyrogies and they all fell apart in the pot. Having my mom visit over the Christmas period was a perfect chance for me to give it another go, and carefully take down all her tricks. It is still a slog (it took us 2 hours) but we had pretty much complete success. For anyone ambitious enough to make their own, here is a detailed instruction set on how to do it.
I enjoyed the process, but would only consider making these about once a year (just long enough for me to forget how long it takes!). If anyone knows of anyone selling decent pyrogies in Montreal, please let me know as I am sure these will run out fairly soon!
And thanks Mom for your tricks and patience!
Makes around 4 dozen
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup hot water
4 cups flour
1 tsp oil for the bowl
3 onions finely minced
1 cup butter
scant 1/4 cup oil
5 large Yukon Gold or Yellow Fleshed Potatoes
1/2 cup of the cooked onion mixture
salt and pepper to taste
To Prepare the Dough
Mix all ingredients at once
Using the dough hook in a mixer (or knead) mix until the dough is smooth. In my Kitchen Aid mixture it took about 30 seconds
Put the 1 tsp oil in the bottom of a bowl and place your dough in a ball in the bowl coating it in the oil so it doesn’t dry out. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes.
Note – I doubled the dough recipe, but put through only one batch at a time in the mixer.
To Prepare the Onion Mixture
On low heat cook the butter, oil, and onions together. The onions should soften without browning if possible.
To Prepare the Potato Filling
Peel and cook the potatoes in boiling water until soft as you would to make mashed potatoes.
Mash and add the 1/4 cup cooked onion mixture.
Add salt and pepper to taste
More of the onion mixture can be added if it feels necessary. The potato mixture should taste pleasant but not have an overwhelming taste of onions.
To assemble the Pyrogies
Roll out the dough quite thin as once cut it will contract back again. Try and roll the dough into a rectangle.
Trim away any funny edges from the rectangle.
Cut squares from the dough of about 3″ by 3″. You could also punch out circles, but this seems easier.
Place a bit of your potato mixture in a bowl and using a teaspoon scoop up a SMALL amount and place in the middle of the pyrogie (see troubleshooting below for the reason why).
Using your index finger make this mound of potato into a compact ball.
Using your thumb and middle finger pinch together two opposite corners. Push in any potato coming out either side with your index finger, and continue to pinch along each side with your thumb and middle finger slowly enclosing the pyrogie.
Don’t be afraid to really pinch the sides together well so that there remains no trace of the connection between the two sides.
If you get any potato in between the dough, the pyrogie will not seal.
Carefully lower the pyrogies one at a time into a large pot of boiling water. Let the pyrogies cook for 4-5 minutes after the water starts boiling again.
Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and let drain.
Put in a container to store, layering pyrogies and the onion mixture. Let cool shaking every once in a while to make sure the pyrogies are not sticking.
Make sure the pyrogies are well coated in the onion mixture otherwise you will have one large mass.
Freezing and Reheating
To freeze make sure the pyrogies are well coated in the butter mixture or a little extra oil.
To reheat take the pyrogies out the night before to thaw.
You can heat the pyrogies up in the microwave or the oven (I suggest 350F). Take them out every once in a while to SHAKE (not stir or the pyrogies will rip apart).
Add a couple tablespoons of water to the container when you reheat.
Eat your pyrogies with sour cream, or even some fried bacon would be good (these are not low fat!)
Other fillings can include sauerkraut, cottage cheese (dry curds) or fruit filling (prunes is usual).
My pyrogies are falling apart in the water!
Make sure there is NO potato mixture in the seal
Really pinch and roll and pinch to make sure it is a good seal
Use less potato mixture so it doesn’t overflow
Perhaps your dough is too thin and it is ripping? Take a look
All my pyrogies have stuck together in a mass!
Really make sure your pyrogies are coated in butter or oil and shake them as they are cooling off to make sure they don’t stick.
You need to shake quite often as they are reheating as well.
Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy.
Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.