Author Notes: This is my mom's recipe for pyrohy dough. Find any church cookbook and you will see a million different ways to make the dough. This one, in my handwritten recipe book, makes no sense on paper. No, you are not making glue. Actually, it is damn confusing when you make it too. Trust me, like the pyrohy process as a whole, take it gentle and it will all come together into your little pillows of goodness. —Cheryl Arkison
Makes: 4-6 dozen, depending on size
cup canola oil
egg, room temperature
cups just boiled water
cups fillings of choice
- In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt.
- Combine the oil and the egg, beat together lightly. Stir in to the flour and salt. It will not combine well, but keep stirring and working at it until you have a coarse meal, like biscuit dough would be before you added the liquid.
- Pour your hot water in to the flour and egg mixture, all at once. Immediately start stirring. It won't look like it is coming together, but keep stirring it. Don't beat the crap out of it, but stir for a minute or two and it will come together into a somewhat lumpy, ugly dough. Cover with a damp tea towel or loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes, if not 30.
- While your dough is resting you can get your fillings together. Purists will insist upon mashed potatoes, perhaps with some cottage cheese or maybe cheddar. Some of us love a good sauerkraut filling (the only ones I would eat as a kid). The classic filling in this house is cheesy mashed potatoes with a crumble of bacon smack in the middle. Don't mix it in with the potatoes because the sharp bits of bacon will pierce the dough. Regardless of your filling choice, make sure it is cool or cold, not hot. You can also make dessert pyrohy with saskatoon berries, with blueberries and ricotta, or even pears and mascarpone.
- To make the pyrohy cut a good hunk from the resting dough, recovering the remainder. Then roll it out into a log, like we do with playdough. Make it about an inch around. Then cut off 1/2 inch chunks. Take those chunks and roll them into balls. You will have about 1 inch balls.
- Roll those balls flat with a rolling pin. Not too flat or your dumpling won't stay together. Not too thick or you will have very thick pyrohy and the dough may not cook all the way through. I would say it's about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch.
- Take a heaping teaspoonful of your filling and place it in the middle of your dough. Again, not too much, not too little. After you've made a few you will be able to eyeball the perfect ratio for you. Fold the dough over one side to create a semi-circle.
- Pinch the sides together. This is where personal style takes over. My mom, for example, does a solid pinch all the way around, once. I do a soft pinch for an initial seal, then a firmer crimp. It doesn't matter how as long as it is sealed and preferably without a big flange of thin dough.
- The best way to store pyrohy is frozen. You need to freeze them individually first. I lay out tea towels, sprinkle them generously with flour, and place the pyrohy on them as I finish each one. Freeze, then store in plastic bags, containers, or even ice cream pails in the freezer until ready to use. Just remember to label them if you made more than one kind!
- Whether you cook them fresh or frozen., the technique is the same. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Toss in your pyrohy, not crowding them too much. Keep at a boil and stir gently every now and then. The pyrohy are finished when they float at the top. If they are frozen and particularly thick you might poke them gently to make sure the filling is soft. Drain. You can eat them straight this way, generally served with fried onions and sour cream. A lot of people fry them with the onions to crisp up the outsides. Growing up we ate them boiled for dinner and the leftovers were fried for breakfast the next day.