Pirogen

Pirogea (peer-row-gen) are little crescent shaped pasta, filled with a variety of sweet and savoury stuffings such as cream cheese, minced meat and stewed fruit. In Poland, Pirogen are traditionally made zoith cottage cheese although we have used cream cheese in this recipe. Serve Pirogen with a butter and breadcrumb sauce, as a first course, or with salad as a light meal.

12 oz. flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 to

3 tablespoons lukewarm water

1 oz. butter

1 medium-sized onion, finely grated

1 lb. cream cheese

2 large egg yolks, beaten

2 teaspoon salt :}- teaspoon black pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon lukewarm water

First make the pasta. Sift the flour and salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the lightly beaten eggs and water.

With your fingertips, draw the flour into the liquid, until all the flour has been incorporated and the mixture forms a stiff dough.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or working surface and knead it for 10 minutes or until it is smooth but stiff. If necessary add more flour to obtain the necessary stiffness.

Divide the dough in two and roll each piece out into a very thin sheet, pulling it with your hands into a rectangle.

Cover the dough sheets with a damp cloth and leave them to rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small frying-pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the grated onion and fry, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent but not brown. Remove the pan from the heat and tip the contents into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Add the cream cheese to the onion and, using a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients well. Gradually beat in the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Mix in the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Uncover the dough sheets and, with a 3-inch pastry cutter, cut the dough into circles. Place one teaspoon of filling in the centre of each circle.

In a cup, combine the egg and the water for the glaze. Moisten the edges of the dough circles with this mixture. Fold the dough over the fillings to form semi-circles, and seal the edges by pressing them together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring 4 pints of salted water to the boil over high heat. Drop the pirogen into the boiling water, cover the pan and cook them for 6 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pasta, or until the pasta is tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the pirogen in a colander. Transfer them to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.

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