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pierogies-msg - 8/2/01


Stuffed dumplings from eastern Europe which are sometimes boiled and then either baked or fried. Other variations include: Pirozhkis (Russian origin), varenyky,  Pyrohy.


NOTE: See also the files: pasta-msg, pasta-stufed-msg, dumplings-msg, pies-msg, meat-pies-msg, fruit-pies-msg, fried-foods-msg, ovens-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001 22:24:25 -0600

From: Jenn/Yana <slavic at mailbag.com>

Subject: Pierogies vs pirozhki (was Re: SC - Northkeep's Winterkingdom)


Stefan li Rous wrote:

>Okay, what is the differance between a pierogie and a piroshki?


In the modern sense, pierogies (Polish origin) are pastry dough stuffed

with or wrapped around a filling and boiled (sometimes pan-fried

afterwards). Pirozhkis (Russian origin) are shortcrust (pie) dough or bread

dough stuffed with or wrapped around a filling and baked, pan-fried, or

deep-fried (and for the liguistically-minded, the singular is "pirozhok",

the plural is "pirozhki", and it is spelled with a "zh", not a "sh").


>Did anyone find any definative evidence that these were period? Period

>recipes would be even better, but I doubt we have that.


I only know about pirozhkis.  Yes, they are period, no, we don't have a

"recipe."  But, we do know what types of fillings were used in pies, and

pirozhki means "little pie."  The Domostroi (in the definitely period

section) lists pie fillings: "For meat days stuff them with whichever meat

is at hand.  For fast days use kasha, peas, broth [I presume mixed with a

drier ingredient], turnips, mushrooms, cabbage, or whatever God provides."

[Pouncy:125].  On page 151 and 161, "turnovers" are mentioned.  In Pouncy's

footnote of the latter entry, she calls them "pirozhki."  


No mention of the cooking technique, but I would guess they were probably

baked, like the bigger pies, if only because they would be slightly easier

to bake for an entire household instead of frying them in batches.

Although if you set up some sort of assembly-line type of service (fry a

few, rush them to the diners, fry a few, rush them to the next batch of

diners, etc.) it might work.  Or maybe keeping them warm in the

oven...okay, I'm reaching here.  I don't know how they were cooked.  :-)


- --Yana



Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001 14:24:20 -0600

From: Jenn/Yana <slavic at mailbag.com>

Subject: Re: Pierogies vs pirozhki (was Re: SC - Northkeep's Winterkingdom)


Marina/Jane wrote:

>Yana is correct that pierogies is the term used by modern folks for



Umm, I didn't say that, sorry.


> However the dough is more of a noodle dough (can be quite

>stretchy) as opposed to a pastry dough (usually flour, egg, water and



Oops, you are right, I did really mean pasta dough, not pastry.  The

fingers ran wild on the keyboard.    


>The Ukrainains refer to these [pierogies] as Varenyky. The Ukrainians

> also offer a dish similar to varenyky called Pyrohy


Which is actually the same as "pierogie" [because Ukrainian uses an H in

place of a G, or the Russians use a G in place of an H, whichever way you

want to look at it], although the actual dish may not be the same as the

Polish pierogie.


>which is made with a yeast-raised

>dough or shortning like pastry dough.  The varenyky are not used in the

>traditional sense of dumplings (cooked on top of soup or stew) but rather,

>quite often, as a meal on their own, first boiled to cook the dough and

>then served hot with sour cream.  Depending on the filling these are really

>yummy served as leftovers fried in butter.


And vareniki are found in the later chapters of the Domostroi, which I

consider *just* outside of SCA-period (Pouncy translates them as dumplings,

ravioli may be a better term, and learning to use the original name may be

best of all).  In my experience, vareniki are eaten in Russia today just as

you suggested above (sweet-cheese vareniki topped with sour cherries and

sour cream, mmm).  I have thought/observed that vareniki are smaller than

what I consider to be pierogies, but that may be regional. I usually

picture pierogies as a 3-inch-or-so circle of dough folded in half and

stuffed, with the edges pressed together to make a seal. Vareniki (in my

experience only) are smaller and come in various folded shapes, more like

wontons or tortellini (once again, the pitfall of using a different

culture's food terminology).


>Pirog: large rectangular pie made with a yeast dough and compared to Brioche


(For the next set of my comments, please understand that I am arguing with

the author of your book, not you, and I am only writing about modern

Russian cuisine).  When I picture "brioche", I don't picture it filled with

anything (is it ever?), at least not before baking.  I personally would

describe a pirog as a pie which is usually made with a yeast dough instead

of a typical shortcrust dough.  The dough can range from plain ol' white to

rich eggy and sour cream doughs (and likely other yeast doughs).


>Kurnik:  "one of the oldest pirog recipes.  It is round with a cone-shaped

>top, about 5 inches high and contains several layers of filling--chicken,

>fresh mushroom, and chopped hard cooked eggs.  Crepes separate the fillings

>and asorb the juices"


Yep, and may I add that they are yummy, yummy.  The crepes are really

"blini", slightly different from French-style crepes.  And the fillings can

be different.  I have 4 recipes in front of me that adds to your list rice,

potatoes, cream, and sour cream.  An additional note from one of my modern

Russian cookbooks ("Slovar' russkoi kukhni", pp.198-199, translation mine),

"without this onion-dome-shaped pie, the Russian wedding table would not be

complete."  Hmm, now that I look closer, only the recipe for the "wedding

pie" has blini, the others are simple pies.  I will have to look further

into this.


>Kulebiaka:  narrow rectangular pie (4 X 12 X 4 inches) (w x l x h) with 2

>full crusts and filled with different layers or each corner contains a

>diferent filling.


But they can be different sizes, larger and smaller (well, not much

smaller).  They can also be oval or oblong, and the fancier ones are

decorated on top with cutouts and pastry decorations, very pretty.


>Pirozhok:  small (2.5 to 5 inch long) oval pie or turnover and stuffed with

>a meat filling.


Well, they don't have to have a meat filling.  I have usually eaten them

with a cabbage filling.  Yes, oval, rectangular, oblong, whatever way you

care to fold them.  I wonder if the author means triangular when she says

"turnover", or wrapped in layers of flaky dough. Maybe she means a pie

which can be held in the hand without leaking?  I hate abstract descriptions.


>Rasstegai:  similar to Pirozhok but open in middle to reveal filling


I usually think of rasstegai as being filled with fish or Sturgeon spine

marrow (vesiga), but they are also filled with meats, eggs, etc. as well.


>Vatrushka:  small round open face pie, usually a soup accompianment.


Usually filled with a cottage cheese-like mixture (tvorog), or egg

(although other fillings are fine) and served at breakfast, or as a snack

with tea.  Similar to a danish or kolache (Ack!  It is so hard to avoid

mixed culture terms!).


>All of these types of pies are baked.


Well, I have had pirozhkis that were deep fried.  You can buy them on the

street from a booth/cart, piping hot.  You can also pan-fry them in an inch

of fat and then turn to cook the other side.


>It seems that the Russians used piroghi to refer to all pies of the above


Makes sense, since "pirogi" (no H, stess on the final syllable) simply

means "pies" (plural, with no connotations as to what type of pie).


>nature as opposed to the the Polish Perogie and the Ukrainain Varenyky.  It

>is interesting to note that the Russians also use the term Varenyky to

>refer to that special type of dumpling that the mundane world refers to as



This is because the Slavic root-word "var" means "to boil" and "vareniki"

means "little boiled things."  Makes sense if they already had a word for

boiled ravioli/dumplings and didn't want to confuse the issue by using the

Polish "pierogie", which is too easily confused with the Russsian "pirogi"

or the Ukrainian "pyrohy."  (the Slavic root-word "pir" means "feast", just

for additional info)


>Thought I would add to the conversation.  Hope it helps, not confound.


Cool with me, I love hearing different viewpoints and additional research.


- --Yana  ;-)



Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001 15:40:20 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: Pierogies vs pirozhki (was Re: SC - Northkeep'sWinterkingdom)


Jenn/Yana wrote:

> >Pirog: large rectangular pie made with a yeast dough and compared to Brioche


> (For the next set of my comments, please understand that I am arguing with

> the author of your book, not you, and I am only writing about modern

> Russian cuisine).  When I picture "brioche", I don't picture it filled with

> anything (is it ever?), at least not before baking.


Brioche comes in unfilled form, in which case a common shape is a small

or large round with a small sort of topknot shape on top, and filled,

usually with either saucisson a l'ail (a garlic sausage not unlike real

krajana or kielbasa) or with whole foie gras. I believe I have also seen

brioche wrapped around chacolate bars, although croissant dough is

probably a more common source for pan au chocolat. The filled brioches

I've seen tended to be simple rectangular turnover/roll-shapes.

Saucisson en brioche tends to be made from a straight length of the

sausage, maybe two or three inches in diameter, laid on top of a bottom

rectangle of dough, covered by an oblong cross-shape, i.e. another

rectangle with the sides and ends attached to the sides and ends of the

top, which hang down and get crimped onto the bottom rectangle.





Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2001 08:22:20 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: Pierogies vs pirozhki (was Re: SC - Northkeep's Winterkingdom )


The pirog I am familiar with uses a leavened dough shortened with oil.  It's

much closer to a number of flat breads than to brioche.  


Brioche is a soft bread enriched with eggs, butter, and, occasionally milk

or cream.  Brioche proper is commonly served as rolls or small loaves, but

the brioche dough is also used with a number of dessert breads which may

have various fruits, seeds, candies, etc. kneaded into the dough or have

been rolled out and filled with spices, sugar, and etc. before baking.


The "rich eggy and sour cream doughs" you are describing fall within the

spectrum of brioche-type doughs.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org