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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » September 29, 2014
Regional and Traditional Products
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Bieszczadzkie Pierogi – Pierogi from Bieszczady
September 29, 2014   
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Bieszczadzkie pierogi are one of the traditional dishes of Bieszczady, a mountain region in the southeastern corner of Poland. They are made with different fillings: sweet cottage cheese, apple and cinnamon, and potato with cottage cheese.

Bieszczadzkie pierogi are semicircular pierogi with a special crimp where they are “glued” together. In cross-section, you can see the filling surrounded by the pierogi dough. These pierogi are light-cream or cream in color. In bieszczadzkie pierogi with sweet cottage cheese the filling is white or cream-colored. In those with apple and cinnamon it is cream colored with visible bits of apple, and in the potato and cottage cheese variety the filling is creamy yellow with visible white lumps.

Bieszczadzkie pierogi have been made the same way for years. Recipes passed on from generation to generation have survived to this day and are still used by locals. According to the traditional recipe, flour was first sifted onto a large bread board, to fluff it up and remove impurities. An indent was made in the middle, into which was poured warm water, sometimes a little milk, an egg and a pinch of salt. Next, the dough was kneaded, and to see whether it had been kneaded enough, the cook cut it in half to see if there were air bubbles inside. Once the dough was ready, it was rolled out thinly and then circles cut out, usually with a drinking glass. Onto these circles the cook would place the filling, made earlier, and then stick the pierogi together, making a decorative crimp in the process. The pierogi were then placed in boiling water. Once they floated to the surface, they were fished out with a slotted spoon and placed in a bowl – poured over with melted butter so they wouldn’t stick together.

The fillings take some work, too. The sweet cheese filling is made from cottage cheese with added egg yolk and a little sugar, and vanilla sugar for added flavor. Cream or milk with sugar is another valued and popular addition. For the apple and cinnamon filling, the apples are peeled and mixed with cinnamon; small apples can be cut in quarters, larger ones into more pieces. These pierogi are often served with cream and sugar.

Bieszczadzkie pierogi with potato and cheese filling have a unique taste due to marjoram being added to the flavorful mass of mashed potatoes, cottage cheese and fried onion. Traditionally, these pierogi are served with pork crackling, which lends them an unforgettable flavor.

Bieszczadzkie pierogi are appreciated by tourists, both Polish and international, who visit the mountainous region. Importantly, these pierogi contain no preservatives and are made from ingredients that come from small local farms. The pierogi are often presented as a traditional and regional product at local and provincial events.
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