Without a doubt, pierogis are the most famous Polish dish. In many restaurants they’re often called Polish dumplings as an English translation, but, to be honest, it’s difficult to compare them to anything else. The best way to explain, is that pierogis are pierogis – and nothing else. Pierogis are also the only dish in Poland to have their own patron saint: St. Hyacinth, as well as their very own festival held every year in August in Krakow.
You can learn how to make your own pierogis during our Home Cooked Krakow tour, or you can practice on your own using the recipe and directions below.
Generally speaking, to make pierogis you need two things: dough and filling. Though there are many options when it comes to fillings, from meat to cheese to fresh fruit, one of the most common pierogi fillings is potato.
For the dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose ﬂour plus additional for kneading
- 1 cup water
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 pound russet (baking) potatoes
- 6 ounces coarsely grated extra-sharp white cheese (2 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the dough:
- Put ﬂour in a large shallow bowl and make a well in center.
- Add hot water, egg, oil, and salt to the well and carefully beat together with a fork without incorporating any ﬂour.
- Continue stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually incorporating ﬂour, until a soft dough forms.
- Transfer dough to a lightly ﬂoured surface and knead, dusting with ﬂour as needed to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes (dough will be very soft).
- Invert a bowl over the dough and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
For the filling:
- Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until tender (about 8 minutes).
- Drain potatoes, then transfer to a bowl along with cheese, salt, pepper, and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
- When mashed potatoes are cool enough to handle, spoon out a rounded teaspoon and lightly roll into a ball between the palms of your hands.
- Transfer ball to a plate and keep covered with plastic wrap while making more balls in the same manner (there will be a little ﬁlling left over).
Form and cook your pierogis:
- Halve the dough and roll out one half (keep the remaining half under the inverted bowl).
- On a lightly ﬂoured surface using a round cookie cutter or a cup, cut 24 rounds from the rolled-out dough (rounds should be 15-inches around and 1/8 of an inch thick).
- Holding one round in the palm of your hand, put one potato ball in the center of the round and close your hand to fold the round in half, enclosing ﬁlling.
- Pinch the edges together to seal completely. (If edges don’t adhere, brush them lightly with water, then seal; do not leave any gaps or pierogi may open during cooking.)
- Transfer pierogi to a lightly ﬂoured kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and cover with another towel.
- Form more pierogi in the same manner.
- Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add half of your pierogi, stirring once or twice to keep them from sticking together, and cook 5 minutes from the time pierogi ﬂoat to the surface.
- Ready, steady, go! Serve your Polish pierogis fresh and hot with onion, bacon, or sour cream on the top.
Smacznego! (Bon Appetit!)