I know, who makes blueberry perogies anymore? Nobody, that’s who.
And I never have either, until the subject of Alberta cuisine arose earlier this week – and while we’re known for our beef, bison, canola, and really a ton of other great ingredients, there are few dishes that get up and scream Alberta. But homemade perogies – they truly are the food of the prairies. And sure, you could stuff them with any number of potato-cheese-bacon-saurkraut combos, but I wanted to give berries a go – in fact, I suddenly felt as if it would be unpatriotic to not make them. And besides, I wanted to know if they’d translate well into little doughy two-bite pies of sorts. Browned butter, berries and sour cream-oh my.
Perogies fall into that category of foods hardly made from scratch anymore because there’s no need. At one time perogy bees were the social events of the season – the original social medium – wherein folks would gather to catch up, gossip, discuss politics and together solve the problem of how to feed their families. This is what girls did before Starbucks, I guess.
Multitasking is not new – at peroghy bees thousands of perogies could be assembled in an afternoon to feed families, raise funds, or in preparation for social events. I love the thought that at one time weddings didn’t have ginormous trade shows and magazines and everyone just got married in the church where they lived, and the community got together to make perogies and dainties to serve afterward. Is that just in my head, having grown up watching Little House on the Prairie? I loved that show. I so wanted to be Mary, except for the blind part.
This dough is one of many versions out there, and simple to mix together. The finished perigees were boiled, then scooped out of the pot with a slotted spoon and browned in a hot pan with butter until they were golden and crisp on both sides.
You don’t have to fill them with blueberries, of course, if you don’t want to – take the leftover mashed potatoes from dinner, add a handful of grated cheese, and set the kids at the kitchen table with an after-school project.
OR. Gather a few pals and bring back the bee. Which brings me to my idea. (Insert eye-roll via Mike.) I think it’s been too long since our last playdate, which was before Christmas, come to think of it. Should we have our own perogy bee? Should we? Should we?
I’ll make dough, and get some bubbly, everyone can bring a filling, and we’ll open the back door and let the spring air breeze in while we cover the house with dough and flour. And I’ll enlist Mike to clean-up duty with the promise of homemade peroghies with bacon, onions and sour cream.
And blueberry perogies for dessert.
Blueberry or Saskatoon Berry Perogies
adapted from Canadian Living
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup water (approx)
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen (don’t thaw them) blueberries or saskatoon berries
butter, for cooking (optional)
sour cream or whipped cream, for serving
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl (or Pyrex measuring cup) stir together the butter, milk and egg; add to the flour mixture and stir until you have a dry, shaggy mixture. Add the water about a third at a time, until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead it about 10 times, then cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest on the countertop for 20 minutes.
To make the filling, stir together the sugar and flour; stir in the blueberries. On lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut into rounds. Stretch each round slightly; fill with a spoonful of the blueberry mixture, ensuring you get some of the sugar-flour in there as well.
Pull dough over filling into semicircle; pinch edges together to seal. Cover with tea towel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Freeze in a single layer or cook immediately.
In large pot of lightly salted water, boil perogies in batches, until they float to the top and the dough is tender, about 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to dish; drizzle with butter to prevent sticking. If you like, brown the well-drained boiled perogies in a hot pan with butter until crisp and golden; dribble the remaining butter from the pan overtop. Serve with sour cream or whipped cream. Makes about 3 dozen peroghies.