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Here are four authentic dough recipes for making pierogi. Each dough yields a pierogi with a unique texture and taste. Try them all and choose your favorites! See below for a several kinds of sweet or savory fillings for your creations.

Pierogi are a great make-ahead or picnic lunch favorite! Some fillings are just as good when served cold.

Don't stop with the recommended fillings below! Meat fillings, and standard ravioli or lasagna fillings are just as much at home when pocketed in pierogi dough as they are in their native element.

Tip: Have all ingredients at room temperature. The milk/water should be warm (not hot). Don't overhandle the dough, or it might become tough.

Dough I:

1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. (or slightly more) sifted flour

Beat egg, milk, water and salt in a bowl. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, until fully blended.

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Allow dough to rest under and overturned bowl for 20 minutes.

Dough II:

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2-1 tsp. baking powder (optional - for a lighter, puffy dough)

Sift together flour and salt on a work surface; form a mound with the flour and make a well in the center. Stir together sour cream and melted butter and pour into the center. Work the flour into the liquids slowly.

Dough III:

2 1/4-2 1/2 cups flour
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp. room temperature butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients to make dough.

Dough IV:

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup warm/hot water
eggs (optional)
oil (optional)

General Method:

Sift flour and salt together onto a work surface. Make a hill with the flour and form a hole. Pour the water in a thin stream and work in the flour. Mix well and knead until smooth. Rest under a bowl for 15 minutes. If you want to use eggs in this recipe, break two eggs into a measuring cup and add water to equal 1/2 cup. Up to 1 tablespoon of vegetable or light olive oil may be added before the water is measured.

Adjust consistency of the dough by adding more flour if the dough is too sticky (sometimes a short rest will make the dough less sticky, too). If the dough is too dry or crumbly, work in a small amount of water, or a few drops of vegetable oil. A tablespoon of sour cream, yogurt or cream cheese may be added to any of the recipes (in place of 1 tbsp. water or milk called for) to make a more tender pierogi.

For convenience, any of the doughs may be mixed using a food processor, but the pierogi may be less tender and quantities may require slight adjustments.

Roll dough thinly as you would pasta dough (a pasta machine may be used).

Cut out circles. Place a spoon of filling on one side; fold the other side over the filling and pinch to seal. The pierogi will be the shape of a half circle. If pierogi are not sealing well, paint the edges with beaten egg white or water.

Pierogi may be filled with a mashed potato and onion or leeks mixture, soft cheese mixture or a cabbage mixture.

Cheese Filling:

1 lb ground Farmer's Cheese (dry cottage cheese)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. sugar (optional)

Sweet Cheese Filling:

1 lb ground Farmer's Cheese
1/2-1/2 c. sugar (scant)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Potato Filling:

1 1/2 lbs mashed potatoes, cooked and cooled
2 onions, finely minced and browned in 2-3 tbsp. butter
1 egg
2 tbsp. bread crumbs (optional)
2 tbsp. chopped chives, scallions, leeks or green onions

Note: The onions may be browned in lean salt pork or bacon. Combine mashed potatoes with browned onions and other ingredients. The eggs and the bread crumbs may be omitted.

Cabbage Filling:

Shred 1 small head of cabbage, cover with boiling water and heat on high heat for 3 minutes. Drain. Cover again with boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a skillet, brown 1 chopped onion in 3 tablespoons of butter until tender and lightly colored. Stir in cabbage to mix, add salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer, covered, until tender, then uncover and continue to cook over low heat for a few minutes until moisture evaporates. Press out excess moisture using a sieve or squeeze dry between clean paper towels. Pulse in a food processor of finely grind the mixture. Optional seasonings: 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill or 1/4 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds. 1/2 lb. sliced fresh mushrooms may be added to the cabbage.

Cooking the Pierogi:

After pierogi are filled and sealed, boil them in salted water for 10-15 minutes, or until they rise to the surface and are cooked through (try one to see exactly how long it will take to cook through as this will vary due to size and other conditions).

The pierogi may be served as is with a little melted butter, or they can also be browned in a little butter before serving. Leftover pierogi are best browned or steamed the next day.

Submitted by: CM
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