Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Little Dumplings

Here we have the process of Pierogi Making. A Polish tradition at Christmas time, it's something that Andy wants to share with his kids. They don't like eating them yet, but they do enjoy making them. This year I decided to try a couple of short cuts for the first batch, and oh my! They worked incredibly well. The first shortcut was that I used my stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. Pierogi dough is tough, but the mixer was able to knead it up nicely- without the addition of extra flour, resulting in an extra tender dough. It is the perfect texture when cooked up! Here is our first picture with the made pasta going through the pasta roller- a real gift to pierogi makers!

Next we use a cutter to cut large circles out of the rolled dough. I use a cutter that I bought from Pampered Chef- it's actually their Cut-N-Seal, but it's the perfect diameter for pierogi, so I removed the sealing part of the cutter.Next up we stuff the circles. Andy's absolute favorite is the one we started with, the butternut squash filling. I simply roasted a squash until tender, and scooped out the flesh. Then I sauteed some onions in butter with a pinch of nutmeg and some fresh sage. I added the squash and cooked it for a few minutes to remove moisture, and then put the whole thing in the fridge to cool completely. The fillings must be cool to stuff pierogi. Then you dollop on your filling and press the edges with a fork.

And here we have one finished tray of pierogi. I actually ended up with two trays, which I sprinkled with flour so the pierogi don't stick, and then I popped the tray into the freezer to freeze them. I was curious if it would work to freeze them before cooking them at all, and it worked wonderfully! It was just like cooking up frozen tortellini or ravioli, and it totally skipped a couple of steps up front. After the pierogi were frozen individually, I popped them off the pan and sealed them up in a Foodsaver bag.

We did cook some up to go with dinner last night, and they were awesome! I have a few more days in me to make some more pierogi in different flavors. But on tap for tomorrow... a change of venue as we discover a German tradition at Christmas time.


Alanna said...

Wow, what great tips for pieroghies. I didn't get Italian plums this year so will likely not do them for Christmas this year. But, I don't know, this is tempting!!

Erika said...

Well, I'm sure there are those who will say that "modernizing" the pierogi process is against the law, but let me tell you! All the "help" I had from modern conveniences really streamlined the process and made it much more enjoyable to me.

Andy wants me to try some blueberry-cheese ones this year, he is really impressed with the texture of the finished product.