This is my death row wish, my last supper, my ultimate source of comfort. I had trouble deciding how many people the recipes below would serve – I can eat 40 dumplings at one sitting, and that is no joke. It may be nostalgia or that they are so incredibly tasty, or perhaps I am just a glutton. If you have any varenyky left over, they are amazing the next day, fried in butter until crispy.

Serves
4

Preparation

1hr

Cooking

45min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 4.8 (72 votes)
Yum

Ingredients

Water dough

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) water
  • 300–350 g (10–11½ oz) ‘00’ or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • fine sea salt

 

Curd cheese filling (varenyky z syrom)

  • 150 g (5 oz) Polish twaróg (cow's curd cheese)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) soured cream or creamy Greek yogurt, to serve

 

Cabbage filing (varenyky z kapustoyu)

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 300 g (10 oz) Kvashena kapusta (sauerkraut)
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter, melted
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) soured cream or creamy Greek yogurt, to serve

 

Potato filling with crispy pork (varenyky z kartopleyu)

  • 150 g (5 oz) potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 100 g (3½ oz) shallots, sliced
  • 100 g (2 oz) pancetta, sliced into lardons
  • sea salt flakes

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

Makes 40-50 dumplings. 

Resting time 30 minutes

First make the dough. Mix the egg and water together in a bowl, then gradually add the flour and mix it in well; if you feel that there isn’t enough flour, add slightly more than the recipe states.

Knead the dough on a well-floured work surface until it stops sticking to your hands. What you are looking for is a firm (or as we call it in Ukraine, tight), elastic dough.

Wrap the dough in clingfilm and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to help the gluten relax.

Next make your chosen filling. For the curd cheese filling, mix the cheese and egg together in a bowl and season heavily with salt – it should be slightly oversalted. For the cabbage filling, heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the cabbage for 5 minutes. Place it in a bowl and let it cool completely. For the potato filling, place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water, season well with salt and bring them to the boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until they can be easily pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes and mash them really well.

Meanwhile, heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots over a medium-low heat for about 15–20 minutes until starting to colour nicely. Mix the shallots with the potatoes and set aside.

Place the lardons in a dry frying pan and fry them over a medium heat until crispy. Tip them into a bowl and set aside.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your work surface generously and roll out the dough into a 30 cm (12 inch) diameter circle or until the dough is a bit less than 2 mm (about .16 inch) thick. Cut the dough into 3 cm (1. inch) squares – you should end up with about 20–25. Don’t throw away the off cuts. These can be cooked along with the stuffed pasta.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Have a well-floured tray ready. Pop 1 teaspoon of the filling into the centre of each square, fold in half diagonally to create a triangular-shaped dumpling and press the edges together to seal. Place the varenyky on the floured tray, making sure that they don’t touch each other.

For the curd cheese- and cabbage-filled varenyky, have a large bowl with the melted butter ready.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and carefully pop the varenyky in. Boil them for a couple of minutes or until they float to the surface.

Drain the varenyky well. For the curd cheese and cabbage varenyky, tip them into the melted butter and swirl them around, then serve with the soured cream or Greek yogurt. For the potato with crispy pork varenyky, sprinkle over the lardons and pour over any fat and serve.

 

Recipe and image from Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and beyond by Olia Hercules (Hachette Australia, $39.99, hbk). View our Readable Feasts review and more recipes from the book here.