Authentic potato and cheese pierogi (pierogi ruskie)

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Melt-in-your-mouth tender pierogi ruskie with well-seasoned potato and cheese filling.

Note that this recipe focuses on pierogi ruskie filling, for more general information on pierogi, including storing and freezing tips

Ingredients

for the dough:
4 cups flour 500g/17.5oz, I used all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2.5 Tbsp water 280g / 280ml / 10-oz (to weight on a scale)
3 tablespoons butter 1.4 oz/40g, or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
for the filling:
2.2 lbs potatoes (1kg) mealy variety, cooked potato weight = 1.8 lbs / 800g
8.5 oz onion (240g) 1 very large and 1 small onion
2 tablespoons frying oil
17.5 oz full-fat (tłusty) Polish twaróg cheese (500g) or farmer’s cheese
salt and black pepper to taste, I added 4 teaspoons salt and 1.5 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Instructions

-> Make the dough:

  • Add the flour and salt into a large bowl, mix together.
  • In a small saucepan, warm the water with butter until they are very hot, but not boiling (temperature should be around 80-90 °C / 176-194 °F, that is when the water starts to move and steam).
  • Pour hot water with butter into the bowl with flour, mix with a wooden spoon until roughly combined.
  • Knead the dough using your hands or with a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, for about 5 minutes. A food processor can also be used (fitted with the dough blade). The dough should be smooth, soft and elastic, it shouldn’t stick to your hands. When you follow the recipe (especially if you weight the ingredients, instead of using measuring cups), the dough should be perfect, but if for some reason it’s not, add some water if it’s too dry, or a little bit flour if it’s too wet. If the dough already forms a ball, is relatively smooth, but still tough, it means that it’s not ready, it must be further kneaded until soft and elastic (after resting time it will be even softer).
  • Wrap the kneaded dough in plastic foil, leave to rest for about 30 minutes.

-> Make the filling:

  • Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until soft enough to mash. Drain and mash the potatoes, transfer to a large bowl, set aside to cool.
  • Dice the onion. Heat the oil in a large frying pan, cook the onion over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until translucent.
  • Combine the potatoes with cheese and onions, season with salt and pepper to taste. You can do it with your hands or with a stand mixer (fitted with a flat beater attachment) or with a potato press (I have a blender with a potato masher attachment, it‘s great here).
  • Optional step: You can form the filling into balls – making the pierogi goes faster this way. I scoop the filling with an ice cream scoop, then divide this in half and form a ball, each 3.5 cm / 1.4 inch in diameter, about 20 g / 0.7 oz in weight. You can, of course, scoop the filling with a teaspoon – about 1 teaspoon for 1 dumpling. If the filling is not easy to form you can put it in the fridge for 30 mins.

-> Rolling out, stuffing and shaping:

  • Divide the dough into 4 parts.
  • Onto a lightly floured surface, roll out thinly the first piece of the dough, to a thickness of approx. 2 mm / 1/16 inch. If the dough is hard to roll out, set it aside for about 5-10 minutes to rest.
  • Use a cup or a pierogi/pastry cutter to cut out rounds (mine has a diameter of 7 cm / 2.8 inch). Place one ball of filling / 1 teaspoon of filling on each round
  • Gather scraps, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  • Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape. Press edges together, sealing and crimping with your fingers. Do not leave any gaps or pierogi may open during cooking.
  • Place the pierogi apart on a towel lightly sprinkled with flour (this is important, they can stick to the board), cover loosely with a kitchen cloth so that they don‘t dry out.
  • Repeat with the remainig dough.

-> Cook the pierogi:

  • Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a boil.
  • Cook dumplings in batches (for a 21 cm / 8 inch pot I cook about 10-12 dumplings at a time), when they float to the water surface cook them for 2 minutes them remove from the water with a slotten spoon. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the dough.
  • Drain well and transfer onto a plate. Serve warm, pour over some melted butter.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you have a little dough left: You can leave it in the fridge for up to 3 days, freeze it or make fruit pierogi. You can use blueberries or stawberries (can be frozen), mixed with sugar. Prepare and cook as in the recipe above, serve with sour cream sweetened with sugar. You can also cut it into thick strips and use as pasta eg with soup.
  • If you have leftover filling: Make potato and cheese fritters. Mix the filling with egg, shape round patties and pan-fry until golden on both sides.
  • Cooking time: will depend on the thickness of the dough. Cut one pieróg in half to see if the dough is cooked through. Cook the pierogi to desired consistency. Some like them chewier and some very tender, like melting-in-your-mouth tender.
  • Calories count = 1/6 of the recipe (1 serving). This is only an estimate.

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