Ukraine

Dish

In Ukraine many people go cherry picking in the summer, and preserve the cherries just so that they can make cherry vareniki, all year round. Vareniki make a great fast food because if you have some of these in your freezer, and they freeze well, you can have vareniki in probably 15 minutes (10 minutes to bring water to boil, 5 minutes to cook). In fact, a lot of expecting mums stuff their freezers with vareniki, so that when the newborn’s hectic schedule interferes with their inner gourmet soul, delicious food it close at hand.

Ingredients

Dough:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (or half bread flour half all purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Knead together all ingredients either with a mixer fitted with a dough hook or by hand until smooth and elastic. The dough should pull back when stretched but be pliant and smooth otherwise. Do not over mix.
  • Allow dough to rest, covered for half an hour.
  • Cherry Filling:
  • 2 Jars Morello Cherries (Trader Joes or Zurgut brand only)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup bread or cake crumbs
  • Drain the cherries very well, squeezing out as much moisture as possible by pressing the cherries against the sides of the strainer. Reserve the liquid.
  • Sprinkle the cherries with the sugar and allow to stand for 15-20 minutes. Press again to remove additional moisture.
  • If the cherries are still a little wet, sprinkle in the bread crumbs a little at a time to absorb some of the juices.
Cherry Vareniki

Method

  1. Once the dough has rested, generously flour your work surface.
  2. Working with half the dough at a time, roll it out to a quarter of an inch thickness. The dough will have a tendency to spring back, this is expected. Keep rolling the dough out until it looses some of its resistance and maintains the thin rolled out shape for a little bit.
  3. Using a 2 inch diameter round cookie cutter or thin edged class, cut out as many dough circles as you can fit onto the rolled out dough. The circles with shrink and wrinkle, this is OK.
  4. Pick up a dough circle and gently stretch it with your fingers, warming the dough. Once the dough has relaxed, place the mostly dry filling into the middle of the circle. It should look like there is too much filling.
  5. Gently, working with the middle first, pull the dough over the filling, stretching the sides until they come together. It takes some practice to stretch the dough without tearing it. Once the middle is closed, work your way towards the side, pushing the filling down and crimping the edges as you go.
  6. Make certain that the edges are well sealed and that any air is pushed out before the last crimp.
  7. Placed finished vareniki on a cookie sheet lightly dusted with flour.
  8. They may now be frozen in a single layer then bagged in individual portions. Frozen they keep for at least 2 months.
To prepare:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Once the water has started to boil, drizzle in a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil onto the surface.
  3. Boil 8-10 vareniki at a time. They should not be crowded in the pan or they will stick. They can be boiled fresh or straight from the freezer. They are ready when they float and the dough looses its raw colour. To test, pinch of a little corner and taste.
  4. Remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly.
  5. To serve cherry vareniki, drizzle with a little bit of ruby red cherry sauce and some sour cream.