Basic Varenyky With Variations.
There are as many variations on varenyky dough and fillings as there are Ukrainian cooks. Potato filling is by far the most popular for varenyky. Many non-Ukrainians are under the false impression that potato is the only filling for varenyky. Before the nineteenth century, however, the potato was scarcely used in Ukraine; varenyky were filled with a turnip and onion filling.
In time with practice you too will make perfect varenyky. Never give up!
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- MAKE THE DOUGH: Whisk together egg, salt and sour cream. Whisk in milk and water. Stir in flour, 1 cup at at time. Turn out dough onto a floured surface. (Dough will be loose and sticky.) Using a bench scraper (or rubber spatula), turn and fold dough to knead, dusting with flour as needed, until elastic and no longer sticky, 8 to 10 minutes. (Dough will come together as you knead it. Be careful not to add too much flour, since it will toughen the dough.) Cover with an inverted bowl; let rest for 1 hour.
- Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean linen towel, and dust generously with cornmeal or flour to prevent sticking.
- Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick round (keep other pieces covered).
- Cut out circles very close together, using a 3-inch cutter or glass (5 inches for the plum version). Cover with plastic wrap to prevent dough from drying. Repeat with remaining dough.
- TO FILL VARENYKY: Place filling in center of each dough circle. Holding 1 circle in your hand, fold dough over filling. Pinch edges, forming a well sealed crescent.
- Transfer to cornmeal or flour dusted towel, and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining dough circles and filling.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, transfer varenyky to boiling water. They will sink to the bottom and then rise. Gently stir with rubber spatula so that they won't stick to the bottom of the pot. Once they have risen, cook through, about 2 minutes more (or up to 4 minutes for plum varenyky, depending on ripeness).
- For savory varenyky, coat a platter with half the butter. Transfer varenyky to platter using a slotted spoon. Drizzle tops with remaining butter, and season with salt.
- For sweet varenyky, transfer to a platter using a slotted spoon, and dot with sour cream.