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Welcome to another culinary adventure into the flavorsome world of Ukrainian cuisine. Today’s recipe guide is centered around a dish that has won the hearts of both Ukrainians and cheese enthusiasts worldwide – Varenyky, commonly known as Pierogi, filled with cheese.
Varenyky are traditional Ukrainian dumplings, a staple in every Ukrainian home, symbolizing the country’s culinary heritage. Made with a simple dough and filled with a wide array of ingredients, Varenyky’s versatility and deliciousness have made them a favorite across Ukraine and beyond.
Today, we’re focusing on a particularly delightful version – Cheese Varenyky. The creamy, melted cheese encased in the tender dough of Varenyky offers a combination that’s hard to resist, making it a popular choice among cheese lovers. Whether it’s the tangy taste of cheddar, the smoothness of cream cheese, or the richness of cottage cheese, the cheese-filled Varenyky will tantalize your taste buds.
For the Dough:
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup of water
For the Cheese Filling:
- 1.5 cups of farmer's cheese (alternatively, you can use cottage cheese or ricotta)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (optional for a sweeter filling)
- Salt to taste
- Additional butter
- Sour cream
- Fresh dill or parsley for garnish
Step-by-step Dough Recipe:
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg and water together.
- Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the egg mixture.
- Stir to combine, then knead the mixture until it forms a smooth, elastic dough. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
- Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Step-by-step Cheese Filling Recipe:
- In a bowl, combine the farmer's cheese, egg yolk, sugar (if using), and salt.
- Mix until well combined and set aside.
Step-by-step Varenyky Making Process:
- Roll out the rested dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick.
- Cut out circles using a round cookie cutter or a glass.
- Place a spoonful of the cheese filling in the center of each dough circle.
- Fold the dough over the filling to create a half-moon shape, and press the edges to seal.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Carefully drop the Varenyky into the boiling water. Cook them until they float to the surface, then let them cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the Varenyky from the water and drain them well.
Serve the Varenyky warm with additional butter, sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh dill or parsley. Enjoy!
Cheese Varenyky are best enjoyed warm to ensure the cheese filling is melty and delicious. Serve them with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of fresh herbs like dill or parsley, and a pat of melted butter on top. Consider sprinkling some sautéed onions or crispy bacon bits for added crunch and flavor. Pair Varenyky with a simple salad or a bowl of clear broth as a main dish.
Can I use any type of cheese for the filling?
While traditional cheese Varenyky often uses farmer’s cheese, you can experiment with other kinds of cheese. Creamy cheeses like ricotta or cottage cheese work well, as do harder cheeses like cheddar or Swiss, which will provide a different texture.
Can Varenyky be frozen for later use?
Yes, Varenyky freeze very well. After you’ve assembled them, lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or container. They can be cooked directly from frozen; just add a few minutes to the cooking time.
What other fillings can be used for Varenyky?
Varenyky are very versatile and can be filled with many different ingredients. Other popular fillings include potatoes, sauerkraut, mushrooms, and even sweet fillings like cherries or blueberries for a dessert version.
We hope this guide has inspired you to create your own cheese Varenyky at home. Cooking is an art, so feel free to experiment with different cheeses and serving styles. Ukraine’s rich culinary heritage has a wealth of other dishes to explore, from hearty Borsch to refreshing Okroshka. Keep exploring and happy cooking!