December 23, 2009

Babci's Pierogies

This is the first year I made my grandmother's pierogies for Christmas Eve dinner.
I have fond memories of going to Babci's (Polish for grandma) house every year on Christmas Eve and having a traditional meal of fish, pierogies, pickled cabbage and her yummy assortment of cookies. I remember we had to wait until the dinner dishes were washed before we could open presents, but isn't that the fun of Christmas--the anticipation?

I dug out her recipe, which she wrote down for me before she died. I really should frame it, or at least make photocopies for my cousins to have.
I'm always amazed at how beautiful her handwriting was, and how much pride she took in it. I guess that was typical of women of her generation, as Chris' great aunt is the same way. A lost art...

But I digress. I made pierogies once or twice with her, and she was always very particular about getting the dough thin enough. Mine of course were quite thick, but her dough was so thin that it was nearly translucent. While my brothers and I preferred the potato/cheddar-filled pierogies, she often made versions with prunes, farmer's cheese, and cabbage inside.

So now that I've fogged up the kitchen windows with steam from the boiling pot of water, I'll sit down and share the recipe with you. The first part is her recipe, while the second are my steps and photos for making it.

Pierogi with Sour Cream Dough
~~6 cups flour
~~3 eggs
~~3/4 cup water
~~1 pint sour cream
~~1/2 tsp. salt~~

Potato Filling

~~4lbs. cooked potatoes mashed with butter
~~1/2 lb. American or sharp cheddar cheese
For Serving
~~2 onions sauteed in butter

~~rolling pin
~~large bowl
~~juice glass or round cookie cutter
~~pot of boiling water
~~slotted spoon

Get your helper, and clear a work surface.
Make your mashed potatoes, using peeled potatoes, butter and either the cheddar or American cheese.
I like to run my mash through a hand mixer to get a smooth consistency.
Set aside your potatoes, and make your dough. Before you make it, get out a big pot, fill it with water and a tablespoon of oil, and start boiling the water for cooking the pierogies.
Mix eggs, sour cream, water and salt thoroughly.
Add in the flour, 1 cup at a time.
I had to knead mine on the counter to incorporate all of the flour.
Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Roll out thinly, flouring the surface lightly to prevent sticking.
Using your juice glass or circular cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough.
Alternatively, you could cut squares if you don't want circles. Then fill them with a teaspoon of the mashed potatoes
Fold over the dough and press it together along the edges, making sure there are no holes for the filling to leak out.
Once you have them made, take them over to the pot of boiling water and drop in about 10 of them. They're ready when they float to the surface
Pull them out with a slotted spoon, and lay them on a plate or in a baking dish to cool.
When you've made them all, saute 2 onions in butter (I used 1 stick, but you could use more or less) and toss the pierogies in it.
If you want, you could also serve them with sour cream. Not necessarily health food, but tis the season.
I miss my grandma, and I'm glad to carry on her Christmas tradition. Biting into these delicious carb-laden pierogies is certainly bittersweet.


  1. oh, yum! I am totally going to try this recipe. Thanks for doing it step-by-step for pierogie novices like me... I like my onions long and caramelized and also mushrooms would make me happy. Okay, I am drooling now.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a special recipe! I bet yours turned out delicous. Isn't it wonderful to have such great memories of family members who have passed? I know I cherish mine.
    Merry Christmas.

  3. oh man these look like alot of work i need to learn to make these for my boyfriend he loves them.i wish either of my grandmothers passed on any recipes to me but the one doesn't cook and the other forgets what she puts in stuff lol

  4. Oh...they look scrumptious.....
    It's a special kind of dish when it comes from grandma; she'd be quite proud of you.
    Happy Holidays Kathleen, Mr. Geek and SoJo. May they be warm and frosty.

  5. I will definitely be referencing this in the near future. Yum!
    Why aren't we neighbors, again?

  6. No matter which culture you come from (mine was Swedish), we also had to wait for the dishes to be done at Grandma's house before opening gifts. :) Great recipe! I can see why you only do it once a year - that's a lot of work!

  7. Dzien Dobry!!
    That's incredible-I've never known another person who had a 'babci' before but me and my sister :)
    Nice to meet another person of Polish decent!
    Those look so yummy-I really miss having Pierogie.

  8. Definitely going to have to try these!

  9. What a touching post, and a wonderful treat! I am definitely going to try these. :-)

  10. Whenever I try to make my Mom's pierogi I have the same dough thickness issue! I think it just takes real practice to get it right... I got to go home for Christmas in December & pierogi were my favorite part of the Christmas Eve dinner! Thanks for the recipe! I'll compare it to my Mom's and see if I can learn a new trick. My parents live in the center of the country in a town named Konin. Where did your babcia learn pierogi? In Poland, dishes vary slightly or drastically from region to region!

  11. Just made these tonight. My husband's family is Polish, and his grandmother used to make home made pierogies. These were great- though very time-consuming!

    I made a red cabbage kraut in the slow cooker to eat it with, and after making 30 pierogies for the two of us, used the remaining dough to make twists with butter, cinnamon, and sugar. The dough was heavy, but they still tasted great straight from the oven.


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