Mmmm…vareniki…

Oh vareniki…I love vareniki. Vareniki are what some would call perogie. They are similar to a dumpling or pot sticker. They can be filled with meat, potatoes, cheese, cabbage, fruit, or whatever. They can be made sweet or savory. I love food like this because you can make the same food with different fillings and it make a completely different meal.

I have so many childhood memories of vareniki. Probably because my mom only made them when I was small and my grandma would always make them when my family would come over to her farm in Ukraine. My mom told me that vareniki is what they considered “fast food” because whenever my grandma needed to make a meal fast she would whip up some vareniki in no time. My grandma must be a vareniki master because I think they are a little time consuming.

I will share with you vareniki with a sweet combination of cream cheese and ricotta cheese filling. My favorite fillings for vareniki are on the sweet side. I especially love fresh cherries. Many years ago when I was really young and still living in Ukraine my grandma made some cherry vareniki for my cousin and I. She just placed a bowl full with vareniki on the table and we used our hands to scoop them up and eat them. Well being the girly girl that I was I delicately scooped one up and bit a piece and calmly chewed, swallowed and continued. I was being very careful not to get any of the cherry filling on my shirt. Well my cousin who was very outgoing and always in a hurry, she even talked fast, just grabbed the varenik and stuffed it in her mouth and went straight for the next one, cherry filling spilling out everywhere! I just stood there staring at her! I think that’s my favorite vareniki memory. Just as a side note my cousin grew up to be very girly, she now owns her own hair studio in Rocklin California! Woohoo Natasha!

So now for the actual recipe. I have a recipe from my mom for the dough but I decided to use one that I found in a TIME LIFE book Russian Cooking. It’s a facinating book filled with stories and photographs. I will share with you about the book another time and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the recipes in the book as well. Their recipe is called Varenyky, desert dumpling filled with cheese.

Ingredients:

Dough

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 Egg

1/2 Cup milk

1 Teaspoon salt

Filling

4 oz Cream cheese softened

12 oz Ricotta cheese

2 Tbsp sour cream

2 Tbsp Sugar (add by the tablespoon until desired sweetness)

The cheese filling is my creation based on what I had in the fridge. I absolutely loved it. I had some left over after filling all the vareniki so I used it for crepes but you can just use a little less ricotta cheese.

To mix the dough, pour the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a deep well in the center. Drop in the egg, milk and salt. Slowly mix in the flour and then all the ingredients together untill dough forms and you can gather it into a ball. If the dough crumbles add a little more milk, if it’s too sticky add a little flour. The book says to dust the dough with flour and wrap in wax paper and chill it for 30 minutes. When I did that I found that the dough was so stiff it was difficult to roll out. I would recommend chilling for half that time.

For the filling just mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste it and decide if you want more sure to make it sweeter. I always like things sweeter. My son was in his high chair at the table when I was working on the vareniki. This is him enjoying a spoonful of the cheese filling.

Cheese filling

 

Take the ball of dough and roll it out so it is about 1/32 of an inch. I found that the dough was too large for me so I cut it in half and worked on each half separately. Cut out as many circles as possible with a 3 1/2 to 4 inch round cookie cutter. I didn’t have one so I just used a coffee cup. Collect dough scraps and roll them into a ball, roll the dough out and cut out the circles again.

Drop about a tablespoon of the cheese filling in the center of the circle.

Bring the exposed edges together and press firmly together using the back of a fork or just your fingers. If the dough does not want to stick you can take a beaten egg white and brush the dough circle before dropping the filling and it will help it stick.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a 5 to 6 quart pot and drop in 6 vareniki. Lower the heat and cook the vareniki. You will know they are ready when they float up to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Continue with the rest of the vareniki. If it’s too much for you, they are great to freeze and prepare later. They are ready to eat. I like my vareniki skillet fried so right after I take them out of the boiling water I get them on to a preheated buttered skillet and brown the vareniki on each side.

Mmmmm…soooo good!

I will give you more filling recipes in future posts so come back soon and check them out!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Cabbage filled Vareniki (s tushenoy kapustoy) « Let's make some Russian food
  2. Trackback: Let's make some Russian food
  3. NatashasKitchen.com
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 13:09:44

    I’ve never made those with cheese filling. That sounds soo good. I think my 15 month old would like that filling! I definitely want to make this. Thanks for posting the recipe!

    Reply

    • Kristina
      Oct 21, 2010 @ 14:29:03

      Personally my favorite are with the sweetened cheese filling but unfortunately I haven’t tried them out on my 20 month old so I don’t know how well that will go (he’s super picky). I think just boiling them and not browning them again in a skillet will be easier for little mouths to handle. I hope he enjoys them!

      Reply

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