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Summer varenyky: 5 Irresistible recipes with berry-fruit fillings

Varenyky hold a cherished place in Ukrainian culinary tradition, and what better time to savor these delights than during the sunny summer days? With the secrets to creating the perfect varenyky dough, you can indulge in these mouthwatering treats every day, experimenting with a delightful array of fruit fillings.

Perfect dough for varenyky

Let’s start with the heart of Ukrainian varenyky – the dough. Authentic Ukrainian varenyky are steamed, resulting in a light and fluffy texture when cooked right.

Ingredients:

  • 650 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 chicken egg
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500 ml kefir

Feel free to replace kefir with any sour milk product you have at home. The amount remains the same, half a liter.

Cooking:

Begin by mixing the flour, salt, and baking soda on your work surface. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with sugar until it’s smooth and creamy. Create a well in the flour pile and gradually incorporate the egg-sugar mixture and your chosen sour milk product.

Knead the dough thoroughly, then place it in a spacious container, covering it with a clean cloth towel. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into four portions, and shape each into a long sausage. Cut each sausage into individual rounds.

Roll out each round into a small circle using a rolling pin, ready to be filled with your favorite fruit fillings. Seal the edges well; otherwise, the filling might leak or fall out during cooking. We recommend using the steaming method when cooking varenyky with fruit fillings, as this will keep the dish airy and fluffy.

Variations of fruit fillings for varenyky

The beauty of varenyky lies in their versatility – you can fill them with a delightful assortment of fruits and berries, creating a symphony of flavors that will leave you wanting more. To ensure you get perfect fruit varenyky, we have prepared recipes for several delicious fillings rich with vitamins. By the way, if you love varenyky so much you can’t wait, we have the recipe for lazy varenyky with blackberries, raspberries, and wild strawberries.

Varenyky with raspberries

Varenyky are the tastiest when made with fully ripe raspberries. The only downside is that these ripe berries tend to fall apart and release juice upon slight pressure, making it difficult to seal the varenyky while preparing and cooking. Fear not; there’s a solution! Roll each berry in starch before putting the berries inside the dough to prevent this issue.

Ingredients:

  • 350 g raspberries
  • Sugar to taste
  • 50 g starch

Cooking:

1. Roll each berry in starch, ensuring it’s well coated from all sides.

2. Place five or six starch-coated berries on a rolled-out dough.

3. Add sugar according to your preference, adjusting the sweetness.

4. Seal the edges of the varenyk, and you’re all set for delicious raspberry-filled dumplings!

Varenyky with blueberries

Usually, you won’t have any trouble sealing blueberry varenyky. However, if you encounter any issues, follow the same technique as the previous recipe and coat the berries in starch to avoid mishaps.

Ingredients:

  • 350 g blueberries
  • Sugar to taste
  • 50 g starch

Cooking:

1. Coat each blueberry in flour, ensuring a smooth surface.

2. Place three to five berries on a rolled-out dough.

3. Add a little sugar, then seal the edges of the varenyk securely.

You can use the same method to make varenyky with currants. The berry’s skin is quite firm, so there is no need to coat currants in flour or starch. However, adding sugar is recommended as currants taste more sour, and the dish benefits from a touch of sweetness.

Varenyky with plums and apricots

This sweet filling is a wonderful combination of plums and apricots. Plums and apricots usually ripen at different times, so this recipe is more suitable for the winter period and those who have frozen the mentioned fruits. However, try this sweet filling if you can buy plums and apricots and combine them!

Ingredients:

  • 200 g plums
  • 200 gs apricots
  • Sugar to taste
  • 50 g starch

Cooking:

1. Pit plums and apricots, then cut them into small cubes.

2. Sprinkle the fruit mixture with sugar and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes, start shaping the varenyky: fill them with the fruit-sugar mixture, being mindful not to scoop up the juice the fruits release during the resting period.

Varenyky with sour cherries

Sour cherry varenyky are among the favorite variations, thanks to their juicy and irresistible cherry filling!

Ingredients:

  • 350 g pitted sour cherries
  • Sugar – to taste
  • 50 g starch

Cooking:

1. Place three to four pitted cherries on each dough circle.

2. Add a teaspoon of sugar to each varenyk with cherry filling, and then steam the varenyky to perfection.

Varenyky with strawberries

A special note for strawberry varenyky: they should be prepared exclusively by steaming (the dough will turn coarse otherwise) to achieve a fluffy texture.

Ingredients:

  • 350 g strawberries
  • Sugar to taste
  • 50 g starch

Cooking:

1. Cut each strawberry into four pieces.

2. Cut out the dough circles and fill them with the strawberries, adjusting the amount based on their size. On average, you will need one and a half to two standard-sized berries for each varenyk.

3. Optionally, sprinkle sugar over the strawberries, then pinch the edges together to seal the delightful filling.

In conclusion, summer is the perfect season to indulge in the delightful Ukrainian tradition of varenyky, especially when filled with delicious berries and fruit fillings. You can enjoy light and fluffy varenyky daily if you master making the perfect dough. So, gather your favorite fruits and berries, roll up your sleeves, and embark on a culinary journey of pure delight. Embrace the vibrant flavors of summer with each bite of these delightful Ukrainian delicacies!

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History and 10 facts about Ukrainian varenyky

Varenyky is the classic Ukrainian national cuisine dish that hascome down to Ukrainefrom ancient times without much foreign influence. Indispensable on the Ukrainian table,varenyky were more than just a dish – they served as a form of family communication and protection. Earlier, women and girls gathered to cook the dish, knead the dough, shape varenyky, and eat them together, all accompanied by jokes and songs.

People believed that kneading the dough symbolized the process of creatingthe universe. It represented the profound role of women as mothers and progenitors, shaping and nurturing the world and ensuring the perpetuation of the human race.

Celebrating new life and livestock birth, people made varenyky to bless the animals to be as plump as a varenyk.Varenykywerefrequently served as a ritual dish at winter celebrations, memorial services, weddings, and other holidays. In other words, varenyky were not just an everyday food but a symbol of a significant life period or completed cycle.

Varenyky in traditional holidays

For example,bridesmaids broughtvarenyky to the bride on the second day of a wedding. Here the dish was seen as a symbol of “conception“: varenyk symbolizes wealth and abundance and future children born in a new family.

Women often brought varenykywhen they went to see a friend who had just given birth. They gave the new mother this simple present and wished, “May your baby be as plump as a varenyk.”

The winter holidays, such as Christmas and New Year, were the times to commemorate the deceased. Traditional festivities includedservingkutia (a ceremonial grain dish with sweet gravy) as a ritual sacrifice, cabbage rolls, fish, stuffed cabbage, and varenyky.According to folk beliefs,the latter combined feminine and masculine elements and were a source of newly formed energy of attraction, love, and life.

The variety of varenyky fillings has given this dish a unique taste for many centuries: cottage cheese, boiled or fried cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, grated beans, viburnum, wheat porridge, buckwheat porridge with cheese, blueberries, cherries, mashed pears, mashed dried fruits, poppy seeds, flour crumbs, and many others. In the Poltava region,you can taste varenykywith boiled peas mashed with viburnum.

Varenyky are usually served with sour cream or oil and fried onions, regardless of their filling. Sweet ones, with cherries, poppy seeds, apples, plums, and berries, are sprinkled with sugar or served with berry syrupsor honey, with sour cream on the side.

10 facts about Ukrainian varenyky

  1. Traditional Ukrainian varenyky are four times larger than Italian ravioli.
  2. Writer Mykola Gogol in his famous “Viy” mentions varenyky as big as 30-40 cm in diameter,approximately the size of a hat.
  3. The Jewish poet Saul Chernikhivskyi wholived in Ukraine for a long time liked traditional Ukrainian dishes so much that he dedicated a poem and a musical idyll to them called “Varenyky.”
  4. The name “varenyky” is a typical Ukrainian term, while “pyrohy” is a term used in western Ukraine (Halychyna region). People believe this dish existed even in paganism and had its unique symbolism.
  5. In ancient times,Ukrainians associated varenyky with the moon because of their similar shape and considered them sacrificial food, carrying a symbolic significance.Varenyky with cheese were offered as a sacrifice near spring water wells.
  6. The most popular fillings for varenyky are potatoes, cottage cheese, cherries, blueberries, and other types of berries. However, Ukrainian culinary heritage includes unusual combinations, such as dumplings with fern or horseradish filling.
  7. Varenyky, beloved by the Ukrainian diaspora, has been immortalized in stone in Glendon, Canada, as a tribute to their cherished meal.There is a monument to varenyky on the city’s central square, and it is considered the city’s official symbol! This culinary wonder made of stone is 9 meters tall and weighs nearly three tons.
  8. The only monument to varenyky in Ukraine was installed in Cherkasy in 2006. Dismantled in 2013, it is now in a private collection.
  9. Every year, a traditional Varenyky festival takes place in Bukovel. In 2013, a snow monument to varenyky was built, which entered the “Bukovel Cable Car” record book as the world’s largest varenyk made of snow.
  10. During his visit to Ukraine, Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, had the pleasure of trying varenyky filled with cherries. The renowned food enthusiast was delighted and declared that varenyky had earned a coveted spot on his “Must be served” list.

In conclusion, Ukrainian dumplings, known as varenyky, are significant in Ukrainian culture and cuisine. More than just a delectable dish, they embody symbolic meanings. Varenyky proudly showcase Ukraine’s diverse culinary heritage, offering a range of fillings from traditional cheese and cherry to unique combinations like fern or radish. From literary references to monumental sculptures, these dumplings have left a lasting impression on Ukrainian culture and have even gained recognition beyond Ukrainian borders.