Apr 1, 2011
We’ve been running this blog for a year and a half and still haven’t posted anything on such a staple of Eastern European cuisine as Vareniki. Strange, isn’t it? One of the reasons for this might be that Vareniki are pretty laborious to make (to my mind, that is). I guess both me and my Mom are bad at repeating the same thing for 50-60 times. The success of our favourite dishes relies on generous quantities of soul-warming ingredients like eggs, whipping cream, or butter (alternatively, mushrooms, cheese… butter again) , and on the simplicity at which these components can be merged into something yummy. Rolling out several batches of dough, cutting it into uniform shapes, filling and sealing each item? That’s something we are incapable of doing more often than once in a month. Preferably two months.
But on the other hand, who doesn’t like Vareniki? Slippery from melted butter, dipped into thick sour cream, hot filling oozing out of the centre… unhealthy? Come on, they’re not fried at least! (although that can be done too).
There’re various ways of making dough for Vareniki, I would like to try the one with Kefir next time. This time we used a variation which I think is pretty classic. And of course I chose sour cherries as a filling - my favourite! I added a pinch of ground nutmeg, just because I love it with cherries. And a pinch of cinnamon to jazz them up even more. Everything else is very simple. Flour, warm water, milk, an egg. A dash of vegetable oil to make the dough more plastic. Half a teaspoon salt to pull out the flavour of the dough. Sugar to sweeten the sour cherries. And of course some patience. Here we go!
3 cups AP flour
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
1/3 cup warm water
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups thawed frozen sour cherries (firmly packed)
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
+ 1 tsp salt for boiling
+ more flour for rolling and sealing
Makes about 60 Vareniki
Sift flour into a large bowl and make a depression in the middle. Crack the egg into the deepening, and pour milk and water. Sprinkle with salt and knead the dough until it can be formed into a smooth ball. Adjust flour if necessary.
Place the dough into the bowl and cover with a damp cloth or with a plastic wrap. Leave the dough to rest for 40 minutes.
Gently squeeze out the cherries to get rid of excess liquid (otherwise the Vareniki will be soggy or the filling will leak out). Mix cherries with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Divide dough in two parts. On a floured surface, roll each part as thin as possible without the dough tearing. Using a glass with sharp edges, cut uniform circles (ours were about 7cm in diameter). Collect remaining dough, roll it out again and cut out more circles. Repeat with remaining dough if possible.
Fill each Varenik with sour cherries (3 cherries per each on average). Double-seal each Varenik.
In a large saucepan, bring to a boil approximately 1 1/2 liters water. Add 1 tsp salt.
Divide the Vareniki into 4 batches (to prevent sticking together). Drop each batch into the boiling water one by one.
Carefully stir with a wooden spoon so that they don’t stick to the bottom. Cook in boiling water for 3 minutes. Ready Vareniki will float to the surface.
Repeat with remaining Vareniki. Add more water if necessary.
Serve with butter and sour cream.
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