Martha learned her technique from her mother, and now you can learn it too! Master her basic pierogi recipe, then experiment with all kinds of sweet and savory fillings.
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1. Stir ingredients together
Make the dough: Whisk together egg and sour cream. Whisk in milk and water. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time.
For the Dough
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
- Yellow cornmeal, for dusting
For the Filling
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2. Knead dough
Turn out dough onto a floured surface. 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 be loose and sticky. It will come together as you knead it. Be careful not to add too much flour, which will toughen dough.) Cover with an inverted bowl; let rest for 1 hour.
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3. Divide dough
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean linen towel, and dust generously with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
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4. Roll out dough
Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/8-inch-thick round (keep other pieces covered).
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5. Cut out dough circles
Cut out circles very close together, using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or glass (5 inches for the plum version). Cover with plastic wrap to prevent dough from drying. Repeat with remaining dough.
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6. Fill pierogi
Place filling in center of each dough circle. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
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7. Pinch pierogi edges to seal
Holding 1 circle in your hand, fold dough over filling; pinch edges, forming a well-sealed crescent.
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Transfer to cornmeal-dusted towel; loosely cover with plastic. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Working in batches, transfer pierogi to pot of boiling water. Pierogi will sink to the bottom and then rise. Once they rise, cook through, about 2 minutes more (or up to 4 minutes for plum pierogi, depending on ripeness of fruit).
For savory pierogi, coat a platter with half the butter. Transfer pierogi to platter using a slotted spoon. Drizzle pierogi with remaining butter, and season with salt. For sweet pierogi, transfer to a platter using a slotted spoon, and dot with sour cream.
Ready to try your hand at making pierogi? Start with a classic potato filling -- Martha's secret ingredient is cream cheese, which adds richness and a subtle tang. Serve finished dumplings with nutty brown butter.
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Cabbage is steamed, put through a meat grinder, and amped up with butter and cream cheese until it strikes the perfect balance between tender and crunchy. Clarified butter lets the flavor of the filling shine.
Everyone will love the burst of sweet-tart blueberries that accompanies every bite of these tender dumplings. A dollop of nutmeg-flecked sour cream takes them over the top.
Italian plums keep these dessert dumplings nice and light. The seasonal fruits are available from mid-August to September, so turning them into pierogi is the perfect way to say goodbye to summer.