Varenyky (Ukrainian filled dumplings)

11:55 AM

I remember the first time I tried varenyky, back in 2005 when I first visited Ukraine.  Little dumplings filled with everything imaginable, from mashed potatoes and cheese, to sauerkraut, to berries; I quickly fell in love.   Not knowing how to make it, I was left unable to fulfill my craving until 2007 when I found a little restaurant in Prague that was serving some.  That was nice, but visiting Ukraine every few years to satisfy a varenyky craving is a little impractical.

Not to worry!  Meagan and I invited a woman from church to come over and she taught us how to make varenyky.  Ira showed us how to do it, but she did it by feel, rather than with measurements.  I've found other recipes online, and I'm aware that there are different ways of making varenyky, but I like how simple and traditional this one is.  It's definitely not lacking anything either - they're delicious!

Serve dessert varenyky topped with melted butter and sugar or a simple syrup.  Savory varenyky are traditionally served with sour cream and/or sauteed onions.  Enjoy!

Varenyky Dough

  • flour
  • hot water
  • pinch of salt

The ratio for flour to water is approximately 4:1.  Mix all together in a bowl.  As you stir, it really doesn't look like there's any possible way that there could be enough water to wet all of the flour.

At this point, start squishing and kneading it together in the bowl, adding a little flour if necessary.  Be careful - it's hot and sticky!  Be careful not to over-knead the dough.  The consistency is something like play-dough when it's finished.

When the dough is ready, cut/pull off a piece and roll it out into a log.  (maybe a 1 inch diameter)

Next cut the log into uniform pieces.  The bigger the pieces, the bigger the varenyky.  I like small bite sized ones for dessert varieties, with something bigger and more substantial for the heartier dinner varieties.

Using a rolling pin or your fingers, flatten the pieces into round disks.  Leave them relatively thick so that they can stretch around the filling.

Spoon in the filling - we used pitted cherries covered in sugar.  You don't want so much filling that it explodes out the sides, but an under-filled varenyky is no fun either.

Keeping fingertips floured, fold the dough circle in half around the filling and pinch the edges closed.

While completely unnecessary, you can make fun little decorations/scallops around the edges as you pinch them shut.

Drop them one at a time into a pot of boiling water.  (I would salt the water, as for pasta)  Gently stir them around to keep them from sticking.  When they start to float, let them cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Some form of "spider" or slotted spoon is good for scooping them out of the water.

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