I do not have a Ukrainian bone in my body but it’s one of my favourite foods. Years ago a friend of mine, with a lot of help from her mother-in-law, taught me how to prepare a complete Ukrainian meal. I quite often serve the Pyrizhky and Varenyky for Easter or Christmas. I plan on sharing the complete meal from Kutya to Poppy Seed Chiffon cake but today I am starting with the Pyrzhky. This is not for the faint of heart, I have to warn you. However, if you bake bread and are familiar with the properties of that type of dough it will be a lot easier. Keep in mind as you roll out the dough, it wants to shrink back so you have to make sure you lift it off the counter before you start to cut circles or they will shrink and be too small. Put the filling on the side of the dough that sits on the counter (it’s stickier) and they will close better. On a positive note, these little buns want to stick together so don’t be afraid to try. I’ve included some photos at the bottom of this post for reference. Set aside a whole day and take your time. Believe me, it’s worth it!
- Mashed potatoes - 10 russet or baker potatoes
- 1 grated raw onion (squeezed dry through paper towel)
- 1 tsp dry dill
- 1 cup dry cottage cheese (squeezed very dry through cheesecloth or towel)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 package yeast
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup lard
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar with 1/2 cup water, sprinkle 1 package yeast in and let rise 10 minutes. Beat 2 egg yolks then add to “risen” yeast. Put 2 cups warm water in to that and mix together. Then add 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 cups flour. Mix to batter and let sit 10 minutes till bubbly.
- Work lard (1/2 cup) into 2 1/2 cups flour and add to above mixture. Next, you will have to work in quite a bit of extra flour to get it like a dough (approximately 2 - 2 1/2 cups flour). You will have to keep the dough covered with saran at all times. Cut out little circles with a frozen apple juice can (small) and put some of the filling inside. Pinch together like a varenyky then bring the corners together underneath, pinch together, and roll in your hands until it looks like a tiny loaf of bread. Arrange on cookie sheets, keep covered with saran wrap. When a cookie sheet is full, put canola oil on your hands and oil them all completely and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and freeze.
- To serve, place them in a casserole 1 layer deep. Fry onions in real butter, add a pint of whipping cream and add a small container of sour cream. Pour over and bake at 350 degrees until they are heated through, the liquid is absorbed and a bit bubbly.
If you can spell Pyrizhky you can make it!