Author Topic: VARIATIONS ON VARENYKY DOUGH - 13 RECIPES (how to prevent problems)  (Read 10840 times)

Olga Drozd

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For Christmas Eve potato and cabbage fillings prevail. The dough should be thin, but not too thin, and resilient to the bite, but not tough; the filling should be distinct, but not overwhelming, in flavour.

There are as many variations on this dough as there are Ukrainian cooks. Potato filling is by far the most popular for varenyky. Many non-Ukrainians are under the false impression that potato is the only filling for varenyky. Before the nineteenth century, however, the potato was scarcely used in Ukraine; varenyky were filled with a turnip and onion filling.

These half moons of dough may be filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, although for Christmas Eve potato and cabbage fillings are the favorite.


If the Varenyky (perogies) fall apart during cooking, these may be the reasons for the problem:

If Varenyky stick together:


It is important to knead the dough well, then allow it to relax for at least 1 hour or, better yet, overnight. Shape the dough into a ball and dust it lightly with flour.  Cover the dough with an inverted bowl or wrap in plastic wrap and let it relax at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. You'll find it much easier to roll after it rests. If the dough starts shrinking back when you roll it, cover it with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes before continuing.   


Varenyky Dough: (1) (Pyrohy)

5 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter (soft)
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water(more or less as needed)

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl, forming a well in the middle. Add butter and milk and mix lightly until flour is absorbed. Add a little warm water if needed.

Knead until dough sticks together, cover and allow to rest for a few minutes, then knead until smooth. Cover and set aside. The dough should be somewhat soft, since more flour is added as dough is rolled out. Or, in processor, combine flour, salt, and butter and stir a few times. With machine running, add liquids until a ball forms. Allow to rest a few minutes, then process until smooth.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn, and cover for about 30 minutes before rolling out. It may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for a day or so, brought to room temperature, and then rolled out.

Place a fourth of the dough on floured work surface; cover remaining dough. Roll into a circle, away from the center, turn over, flour lightly, and roll again to about 1/8 inch thickness. Run a hand under the bottom to loosen it. With a 3 inch biscuit cutter or wineglass, cut rounds.

Place a tablespoon of filling to one side of each round, flip over other half, and press edges together, sealing in filling. Place dumplings on a floured tray; keep dumplings covered with a towel.


Drop a few varenyky at a time into a large quantity of rapidly boiling salted water.  Do not attempt to cook too many at a time. Stir very gently with a wooden spoon to separate them and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Continue boiling rapidly for 3 to 4 minutes.  The cooking period will depend on the size of the varenyky and the thickness of the dough. Varenyky are ready when they are well puffed.  Remove them with a perforated spoon or skimmer to a colander and drain thoroughly.  Place in a deep dish, sprinkle generously with melted butter, and toss very gently to coat the varenyky evenly with butter and prevent them from sticking.  Cover and keep them hot until all are cooked.  Serve in a large dish without piling or crowding them.  Top with browned buttered bread crumbs.  The traditional accompaniment to varenyky is “smetana” (sour cream).

Varenyky dough: (2)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
7 to 8 tablespoons water

In a food processor, blend the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. With the motor running, add the egg yolks and the oil through the feed tube, then pour in the water, in a slow, steady stream, until the dough forms a ball around the blade.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover with cotton tea towel and let stand for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces and shape them into balls. Let stand covered for 15 minutes. Roll out each ball into a circle and fill with filling.

Potato Dough: (3)

1 cup cold mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour

Combine the potatoes with the butter, eggs, and salt. Add the flour and enough water to moisten the mixture sufficiently and make a soft dough. Knead lightly, cover, and let it stand for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into 2 parts for easier handling.

Cheese Dough for Varenyky: (4)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cottage cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup milk, about

Mix the flour with the salt. Press the cottage cheese through a sieve and combine with the egg and milk. Stir in the flour and knead to make a soft dough. Cover and let it stand for 10 minutes. Roll quite thin, cut as desired, and form small varenyky, using a cottage cheese filling.

Rich Dough for Varenyky: (5)

This recipe gives tender and rich Varenyky.

1/2 cup cold mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons shortening
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour

Mix the first 3 ingredients thoroughly. Add the water and beat well. Sift 1 3/4 cups of flour with the cream of tartar and salt, and then stir into the first mixture. This will form a very soft dough. Add 1/4 cup of flour in 2 tablespoon portions until the dough no longer sticks to the hand. The dough should be very soft. If some of the flour is left, use it for flouring the board. Knead lightly, cover, and let it stand for 10 minutes. Roll quite thin, cut into the desired shape and form varenyky, using any favorite filling.

Varenyky dough: (6)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg or 2 egg yolks
1/2 cup water, about

Mix the flour with the salt in a deep bowl. Add the egg and enough water to make a medium soft dough. Knead on a floured board until smooth. Too much kneading will toughen the dough. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Cover and let it stand for at least 10 minutes. Prepare filling.

If varenyky are to be frozen, remove with a slotted spoon when they float to the top. Do not overcook. To freeze, place in freezer on an oiled cookie sheet while tepid. When they are rigid, store in tightly sealed plastic bags.

To serve: varenyky may be poached, pan-fried, or steamed, serves as an accompaniment to meats, or served with sour cream, chopped sauteed onions, or fried bacon with a little bacon fat.

Makes about 48

Varenyky: (7)

4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tbsp cooking oil or melted shortening

Sift together the flour and salt. With a fork, beat the egg with some of the water and all the oil or fat. Make a well in the flour. Add the egg mixture to the flour. Mix and knead, adding enough water to make a medium soft dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put in a bowl and cover well with a cloth or piece of plastic. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes, or the dough will shrink as it is rolled.

Potato-Water Dough: (8)

2 tsp salt
5 cups flour
1/4 cup cooking oil
2 cups very hot potato water (cook potatoes, use drained water for liquid, and add water to make up any shortage)

Makes between 35-50 varenyky.

Sift the flour with the salt. Mix oil and water. Pour into the flour and keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more water if required. Cover and let rest 30 minutes before rolling.

Sour Cream Dough: (9)

Makes about 30 pieces.

4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups or more sour cream or plain yogurt.

Sift the flour with the salt. Add the sour cream or yogurt and knead lightly until a smooth, medium soft doug is formed. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Some cooks say that you should use only cool water to make the softest dough. I have used slightly warm water, hot water, and cold water, but I have not noticed and appreciable difference; kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic seems to matter a great deal--but do not knead beyond that, as it will toughen the dough.

Tender Sour Cream Varenyky Dough: (10)

This Tender dough Varenyky is enriched with sour cream, its soft and easy to roll out.

8 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups sour cream
2 eggs

In large bowl, stir flour with salt.  Whisk together milk, sour cream and eggs; stir into dry ingredients just until soft shaggy dough forms.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 1 minute or just until smooth.  Divide into quarters; wrap each in plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.  Makes enough dough for about 7 ˝ dozen perogies.

Varenyky Dough With Baking Powder: (11)

The dough is quite stretchy and shrinks back a bit after cutting, so you will have to stretch it over the fillings when filling.

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
Cold water

FOR THE DOUGH: In large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and butter; stir into flour mixture. Add cold water, 1 tbsp. at a time (6 to 7 tbsp. total), until soft dough is formed. Knead until dough is smooth. Cover with plastic and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll dough to scant 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out 3 inch rounds. Makes 32 to 36.

Noodle Dough: (12)

This recipe makes rich, pale golden noodles with a slightly resilient texture. A hand cranked pasta machine is helpful but not necessary for rolling out the dough.  This recipe also makes good varenyky dough.

Yield: 1 pound

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus additional for dusting and kneading
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt



Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.  Put the beaten egg yolks, milk, and salt into the well.  Using a fork, gradually draw the flour into the eggs to blend until the mixture clumps together into a rough, shaggy dough.  Gather it in the bowl into a ball.  If the dough feels sticky, sprinkle on a little flour.  If it feels dry or crumbly, add just enough water to make the dough stick together.  Briefly knead the dough in the bowl until it forms a soft mass.  Transfer the dough to a well floured surface and knead by pressing down on the dough with the heels of your hands, then folding the dough in half over itself.  Give the dough a half turn and repeat the kneading procedure until the dough feels very smooth and soft but not sticky, about 10 minutes.  Dust with a little more flour whenever the dough starts to feel sticky.

Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, milk, and salt.  With the motor on, gradually add the egg mixture through the feed tube.  Process until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and rides on the blade, about 10 seconds.  Continue to process for about 30 seconds.  If the dough starts to stick to the bowl, add a little more flour and process until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth and firm.

LET THE DOUGH REST:  Shape the dough into a ball and dust it lightly with flour.  Cover the dough with an inverted bowl or wrap in plastic wrap and let it relax at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Basic Varenyky Dough: (13)

1 large egg, lightly whisked
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting

Whisk together egg, salt and sour cream.  Whisk in milk and water.  Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time.  Turn out dough onto a floured surface. (Dough will be loose and sticky.)  Using a bench scraper, turn and fold dough to knead, dusting with flour as needed, until elastic and no longer sticky, 8 to 10 minutes.  (Dough will come together as you knead it.  Be careful not to add too much flour, since it will toughen the dough.)  Cover with an inverted bowl; let rest for 1 hour.

Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean linen towel, and dust generously with cornmeal to prevent sticking.  Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick round (keep other pieces covered.)

Cut out circles very close together, using a 3 inch cutter or glass.  Cover with plastic wrap to prevent dough from drying.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Fill varenyky. Transfer varenyky to cornmeal dusted towel, and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Boil salted water and transfer varenyky in batches, cook until they rise to the top and cook about 2 minutes more. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Coat a platter with butter and oil and place varenyky on platter and drizzle tops with butter and season with salt. Makes about 5 dozen.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 12:40:07 PM by Olga Drozd »