Spelled a variety of ways (including pirogi and pierogi), these dumplings can be filled with potato, cabbage, cheese, meat or as they are here, a prune paste. Potato-and-cheese pirohis are the main course at the Lenten dinners at Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church in Annandale (see VARIATION).
Using cooking water from potatoes helps flavor the dough. To make half-moon shapes, you will need a 2-inch round cookie cutter. The pirohis are served with a sauce that can be made with all butter, if desired.
Make Ahead: Uncooked pirohis can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Servings: 50 dumplings
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup cooking water from boiling potatoes, plus more as needed
- 3 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- About 16 1/2 tablespoons canned prune filling, such as Solo brand
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) margarine or butter substitute
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine the eggs, oil and water in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer fitted with a dough hook; beat on low speed for a few minutes, then add the flour and salt. Increase the speed to medium and beat (knead) for about 5 minutes, adding water as needed to keep the dough soft.
Stop the motor. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
After the dough has rested, divide it into 2 balls of equal size. Working with one at a time, return it to the bowl and knead (by machine or by hand) for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a separate bowl to rest for 10 minutes (the second ball can be kneaded while the first one is resting). It is hard to overwork this dough; knead until it is flexible and soft.
Lightly flour a work surface. Working with one ball of dough at time, roll it out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough. (Or cut 2-inch squares of dough.) Repeat to form about 50 circles (or squares), placing them on a sheet of lightly floured plastic wrap or wax paper. Scraps can be re-rolled as needed.
Place a scant 1 teaspoon of prune filling in the center of the dough circles (or squares), then fold into a half-moon (or triangle) and pinch the edges to seal tightly. Make sure no filling is exposed; it's okay to create a generous pinched edge.
At this point, the pirohis can be frozen in a heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag for up to 1 month, or refrigerated (in a bag) for a day.
When ready to cook, bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add no more than 8 to 10 pirohis the pot, being careful not to crowd them. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until they have risen to the surface, then cook them for 5 minutes, until tender and increased in size. Use a Chinese skimmer or wide slotted spoon to transfer to a platter while you either cook more pirohis or make the sauce.
Combine the margarine or butter substitute and the unsalted butter in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, watching closely, until the mixture just starts to brown. Pour it over the cooked pirohis. Sprinkle with salt to taste, then toss lightly to coat evenly. Serve warm.
VARIATION: To make a potato-and-cheese filling for 50 pirohis, combine 1 pound farmer's cheese or dry cottage cheese, 2 or 3 medium-size cooked peeled potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon of savory (optional) and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined.
Adapted from "Epiphany's Seasons: Twenty-Five Years of Parish Recipes" (Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, 1996).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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