After trying the lazy pierogies, I decided to try my hand at making actual pierogies.
I read several recipes and ended up making one very similar to this one. Since
I’d used cheddar for the pierogie casserole, I wanted to try a different flavor. Many recipes, including this one, call for farmer’s cheese, which I couldn’t find in my area. Some suggest using ricotta cheese to replace farmer’s cheese, so I tried it.
The first time, admittedly, was difficult. The recipe called for lightly flouring the rolling pin and cutting board, but the dough was the stickiest I’d ever worked with. Eventually, I ended up pouring a substantial amount of flour on everything—my hands, the board, the rolling pin, and the dough itself, just to keep it from sticking. That worked well, and once I started seeing those neat, floury dough circles, it felt really good.
As I wet the edges of the dough and sealed them tightly with my fingers, I was reminded of my host family and I standing around the kitchen table, silently folding and sealing dumplings when I was a student in China. Several of my dumplings were overfilled or weren’t sealed tightly enough and came apart in the water. I carefully and firmly pressed down on each pierogie, remembering that experience, and made sure that I put just a little less filling than I wanted to in each. I hoped these wouldn’t fall apart.
Gently transferring them to the pot, I then remembered the oldest person at our table pointing to an expertly-shaped dumpling she had made, in which a tiny hole in the dough had formed. Its contents were falling into the water along with mine. She pointed as if to say, See? Even mine wasn’t perfect. It’s part luck.
It encouraged me with the process—nothing’s perfect.
This time, they made it to the plate intact for a light, filling comfort meal.