It is that time of year again. For us, we celebrate the traditional Christmas. When you are married to a person of a culture different from your own it is fun to create new holiday traditions that reflect both cultures. Although for us there are some definite differences between Bavarian and American culture. Then again, not as broad a difference as other cultures. As I come from a German and Polish background, we grew up with many of the traditional German and Polish foods.
One in particular a Polish dish my grandpa used to make, traditionally on Christmas Eve and Good Friday. Pierogi. Now, I know in Michigan they serve this Polish meal up with different fillings, sauerkraut, potato and cheese to name a few. Originally the pierogi was made with a dry cottage cheese filling. That is the way I like them best and the only way I will make them.
If I may…. I just have to share a little family history about this recipe. I remember when I was very young, my Mom and Grandpa, in our very 1970’s decorated kitchen, taking over the kitchen table to make up a huge batch of Pierogi’s. It is a lovely memory. Later, my brother took over for Grandpa and then when my brother moved South, I was thrilled to learn how to make them and take over him.
My mom never had a written recipe, it was one of those you learn as a child and just know how to make. I will do my best to give you as exact of a recipe as I can in case you care to try your hand at making these.
Before you begin anything, cover your table with paper bags. I tape them with masking tape to my table. You really need to do this step as it can get a bit messy with the flour.
For the Cheese mixture you will need:
2 lbs dry cottage cheese (this is not always easy to find, especially in Germany so I just buy regular cottage cheese and press it into a mesh strainer to get rid of the liquid, the cheese has to be dry.)
salt & pepper to taste
Mix these together and set aside.
For the Dough:
3 cups flour
2-3 eggs (use three if the eggs are rather small)
water (as needed by the teaspoon)
Mix the dough ingredients until it becomes a thick consistency. Roll out the dough in a lot of flour until thin. Cut into circles with a knife (around the size of a large coffee can?) Put the filling in the center of each circle, fold in half and pinch tight. This is where it may get a bit tricky. In order for the dough to stick you do not want much flour on the part where you pinch it together.
Par-boil until they float. Set on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet in between layers of waxed paper. (I use parchment paper as waxed paper does not exist here in Germany.)
You can do that step ahead of time, just leave them covered on the counter till it is time to cook them.
Oh, don’t forget to chop up some onions.
Using a large skillet, fry them up in quite a bit of Crisco and onions. Crisco or a lard similar to it really does work the best and gives the Pierogi the proper flavor.
A little salt and pepper or sour cream can be added if desired when serving. I personally love them with just a little salt and pepper.
Oh, my I am hungry for them now!
So back to the whole tradition thing… Christmas Eve we have Hawaiian Toast (a Bavarian tradition) and Christmas Day we have Pierogi. Do you have a special food for dinner as your holiday tradition?