As we kick off pumpkin week, I thought I would try something I’ve never done before, pierogies. Pierogies are a Eastern European dish which are similar to Italian raviolis. Although, I would venture to say they might be better, because after you boil them, you get to brown them in butter. For many people, especially those of Polish decent, pierogies are served on Christmas eve, but what about Thanksgiving eve? Let’s start off the eating early on on “Thanksgiving Eve” and serve pumpkin pierogies. For the dough recipe, I researched many recipes before deciding on one for my pierogies. I was trying to find one that was easy to remember, and would be simple to put together. I found this dough recipe on Everyday with Rachel Ray, the website. You mix the dough like a biscuit, so that was easy. Then you roll the dough very thinly like dumplings. The only difference is the dough is softer and sticks to your work surface, but I found out that was a good thing, because then it was easy to seal the pierogies after I stuffed them. If you incorporate enough flour for the dough not to stick, on either side, the pierogies will be tough and chewy. I then scarped up the dough circles, gently, with a kitchen bench scraper. Then I flipped the non-sticky side down in my hand, sticky side up, filled them, and easily sealed then without having to add water to the dough to the dough circles. I paired my pumpkin filling with ricotta, sage and a little nutmeg. I then topped them with a rich sauce made with cream, pecans and sage. They turned out so much better than I ever imagined.
I wrote this recipe so that it would use up a whole can of pumpkin. It makes about 60+ pierogies, plenty for a holiday party or get-together. If you are just making these for your family or a small get-together, you might either want to halve this recipe or freeze half the pierogies. To do that, after you’ve stuffed the pierogies, but before you boil them, put them on a cookie sheet and transfer to your freezer. After they are frozen, place them in a freezer bag for future use.
Pumpkin Pierogies with Pecan Sage Cream Sauce
For the Dough
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
16 oz sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
plus additional flour for rolling
For the Filling
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 – 14 oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon dried ground sage
a dash of nutmeg
For the sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts
4 tablespoons fresh sage
1 cup cream
Additional butter for frying pierogies
Water and 1 teaspoon salt for boiling pierogies
For the Dough
1. Whisk eggs and sour cream together. Add flour and salt. Work together with your hands, like a biscuit dough, kneading in the bowl, until the flour is incorporated in the dough.
2. Divide dough in half. Wrap in saran wrap. Let dough rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
For the Filling
1. Combine all ingredients for filling and mix well. Set aside.
Back to the Dough
1. Take one half of the dough and place on a very lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour your rolling pin and top of the dough. Roll dough out until it is very thin, 1/6 inch. You may have to add additional flour to keep dough from sticking while rolling. Use a biscuit cutter or glass (I used my tea glass) to cut out the circles in the dough. The dough will probably be stuck to the table at this point. Take a kitchen bench scraper, and wiggle it under the dough circles to get it off. Do this very carefully.
2. This is important, now that your dough is on your scraper, turn the dough upside down in your hand or on the counter, so that the part you were rolling is down, and sticky side is up. Now play with the dough a little if you need to adjust the circle back to size, then add a very small amount of pumpkin filling, about a teaspoon. Fold the dough over and press it with your fingers to close, being careful not to tear the dough. Place pierogies on a cookie sheet.
1. Fill a large soup pot water. Salt the water. Bring to a boil. Drop about 10 pierogies in the boiling water at a time, vertically, as not to let them flop in horizontally and splatter boiling water on you and burn you. When they float up to the top, they’re done, remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Then return to a cookie sheet.
2. Then add 4 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet and melt. Add a single layer of pierogies. Over medium low heat, brown the pierogies on each side, and remove from pan. If butter starts to get burnt areas in it, clean pan between batches. Add fresh butter between batches if needed.
3. For the last batch of pierogies, use fresh butter. Add pecans at the same time you are cooking the pierogies. Remove pierogies when browned. Add sage and saute for about a minute. Add cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer until thickened. Serve over pierogies.