Pierogi are one of the most well-known, traditional Polish dishes and can be found around the world. They are small dumplings, also known as Pierożki, similar to Italian ravioli or Asian dumplings or gyoza.
If you live in, or have ever visited America, particularly New York or Chicago, you might also find them sold as street-food, as you would do in Poland. Pierogi can also be found in most traditional Polish restaurants or in a ‘Milk Bar’ or Bar Mleczny as they are called in Poland, prevalent during the economic struggles of the 1930’s and throughout the war. They have recently made something of a comeback, offering cheap and affordable eats or as something of a nostalgic alternative to fast-food.
You’ll find Pierogi on almost every respectable Polish restaurant menu abroad, too – try them! I recently tried them filled with Buckwheat and Bacon at Malina restaurant in Hammersmith, London.
Pierogi are made from a simple dough of flour and water (sometimes with an egg or a little oil added) before being filled and enclosed (shaped into a semi-circle) and boiled. They can be made with savoury or sweet fillings. If you are making sweet Pierogi, you can add a tablespoon of icing sugar to sweeten the dough; for savoury pierogi, add a pinch of salt.
My kids love making Pierogi – there’s all manner of measuring, mixing, pouring and rolling to get involved in.
I was lucky enough to have this recipe for sweet Blueberry Pierogi, given to be by my Mama, featured in one of the UK’s top culinary publications, delicious. magazine in an Inheritance Recipe feature. Finally, the joys of Pierogi have been introduced to the UK!
Hospitality is second-nature to a Pole, with food always the central feature of any gathering. I learnt how to cook by watching and helping my grandmother and mother preserve memories of their past through the food they placed on our table. I would love seeing my mother make traditional Polish dumplings called Pierogi on an almost-industrial scale ~ Ren Behan, My Inheritance Recipe, delicious.magazine
A sweet pierogi dough recipe, filled with fresh blueberries. Pierogi are a Polish dish, similar to dumplings.
- For the dough:
- 500g/2 cups plain, all-purpose flour, plus more for floured surface
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten together
- 250ml/one cup warm water, possibly a little more
- For the filling:
- 500g fresh blueberries
- To serve:
- 250ml/one cup double cream, lightly whipped
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- A sprinkle of caster sugar or vanilla sugar
- To make the dough, sift the flour and icing sugar onto a large wooden board or clean surface. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs with a few tablespoons of the warm water. Using a knife, begin to mix together, adding a little more water a tablespoonful at a time. At first the dough will be quite soft and sticky. You can use your fingers to bring the dough together into a ball - just like making pasta.
- Once the dough has come together, swiftly, but briefly, knead the dough on a floured surface for four-to-five minutes. The dough should become quite elastic. If it is too wet, add a little more flour. Put the ball of dough into a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel for an hour.
- After an hour, sprinkle some more flour onto a board. Cut the dough into two pieces and begin rolling out until it is about 3mm thick.
- Use an inverted glass tumbler, or similar, to cut 8cm circles out of the dough. Continue until all your dough is used up. Cover the circles with a damp tea towel until you are ready to start filling.
- To fill, place a circle of dough into the palm of your hand and place three or four blueberries into the centre. Fold the dough over the filling, in half, to make a semi-circle that encloses the blueberries. Pinch the dough along the semi-circular edge with your thumb and finger so that the dough is well sealed. Lay the Pierogi in rows onto a board lightly dusted with flour and cover with a damp tea towel as you make the rest.
- To cook the Pierogi, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully drop the dumplings in one at a time (you can probably cook around eight in a standard pan). Keep the water at a gentle boil. The Pierogi are cooked when they float up to the top, usually after two-to-three minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Serve the dumplings whilst still warm with a sprinkle of caster sugar or vanilla sugar over the top and a dollop or two of freshly whipped cream, sweetened with a tablespoon of icing sugar.
To re-heat, you can gently pan-fry the pierogi in butter. You can also freeze (laying them flat on a board) before cooking.
This recipe is also featured on LoveFood.com