Rhubarb Ricotta Pierogies
I found myself on a mission. I had combed through my local farmer’s markets in search of rhubarb, one of the many produce that is currently in season, but regrettably came up empty. The last stop on my list (before giving up and going to a supermarket) was a local farm.
Barefoot Farm is known for their Pick-Your-Own strawberries, but they have a lush garden of produce that they sell during the day as well. I crossed my fingers and set off, driving over rolling hills that were made luminous by the setting sun and under sun-dappled leaves that fluttered in the easy summer breeze.
The thick, ruby red stalks that I found exceeded my expectations and, after a friendly chat about the upcoming raspberry picking season (check out their Facebook page here for more details), I skipped home to make some pierogies.
Now, these are certainly not the traditional potato and cheese or sauerkraut and mushroom pierogies that I grew up making and eating. While those classics will always hold a special place in my heart, I wanted to put a summery spin on the traditional comfort food.
The combination of ingredients I used work in harmony to create a full flavor while still allowing the rhubarb to shine through. You begin by making the rhubarb sauce for the filling. Make sure not to overcook the rhubarb sauce…the chunkier the better! The pieces of rhubarb will add more texture to the filling. The cinnamon and the vanilla ground the fresh tartness of the rhubarb by adding warmth, while the balsamic vinegar adds a subtle tang that fills out the combination.
While the rhubarb sauce is cooling, you can make the pierogi dough. The recipe calls for coconut oil to make it vegan, but if you don’t mind using butter and eggs, you can find a great traditional Polish recipe here. Just be sure to halve it for our purposes. (Side note: this recipe makes approximately 20 pierogies. Feel free to double it for more!)
After the rhubarb sauce cools, fold in the ricotta, which adds substance and creaminess to the rhubarb filling. Be careful not to over mix! I over mixed the filling the first time (which you can see in some of the pictures), but was careful not to in the second round. You want the filling to be swirled, but not completely combined.
When the filling is ready and the dough has sat for 30 minutes, roll the pierogi dough out on a flat, floured surface and cut out circles with a glass or cookie cutter.
Spoon a teaspoon – 1/2 tablespoon (depending on the size of your circles) into the center of the circle of dough and seal the edges with your fingers. Watch the video below for a quick demonstration!
When your pierogies are ready, bring the water in a large pot to a boil and then add your pierogies and cook for 2.5 minutes, or until soft, after they have floated to the surface.
In the meantime, toast some almonds on a pan on medium-low heat. These add a crunch and a rich nuttiness that brings a warmth to the dish. Mix some honey and yogurt together for dipping to add a creamy sweetness, which will help balance out the tartness of the rhubarb.
Once the pierogies have cooled, warm a pan on medium heat with some butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. Fry the pierogies until they are lightly brown on each side. Serve with the toasted almonds, honey yogurt, and plenty of honey on top!