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.
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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. :-)
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)
>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
>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
>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
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)
> >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.