It Started with Aunt Dot
One of my favorite childhood food memories is when my Russian Godmother, my Aunt Dot (famous for her amazing Fruit Cake) would make the most mouth-watering potato cheese pierogis and cabbage pierogis. They were absolutely addictive. One thousand was not enough and one was too many…one bite and you couldn’t stop eating these tender pockets filled with mashed potatoes flavored with cheese or stuffed with sautéed cabbage.
Aunt Dot was an amazing chef. She ran the entire kitchen of The Russian Hall for years. The Russian Hall was where everyone had their weddings back in the 1970’s. We celebrated my Dad’s 50th surprise party there. My cousin, Daria, my Aunt Dot and Uncle Walt’s daughter, had her wedding there. My first bridal shower was held there. I could go on and on about events in my life that happened there. And there would be Aunt Dot at the helm.
A staple always on the menu would be Aunt Dot’s pierogis. Now, I have to tell you, they were infamous, truly. I’m not exaggerating. I kid you not.
Every year, my Aunt Dot, her sister Marie, and many other women from that generation and who attended St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, New Jersey, would gather to make the pierogis for their annual picnic. They would make them, literally, by the thousands because they not only needed to supply them for the picnic but also for the people in the community who wished to purchase them to bring home. It was a sad day every year when the last bag was pulled from my family’s freezer.
Ah, such fond memories of an era gone by. The women no longer gather to make the pierogis. The picnic no longer happens.
Let The Quest Begin!
I’ve been obsessing about these pierogis for decades now. No matter which ones I’ve purchased, whether from a grocery store or some other local church, they don’t even come close to Aunt Dot’s pierogis.
And so my quest began. My new challenge was to develop a recipe that would sate my obsession for one more of Aunt Dot’s pierogis, but vegan, of course.
Not having Aunt Dot’s recipe, I began trolling the web for any and all pierogi recipes. They varied extensively, but I do recall that Aunt Dot’s dough recipe might have had sour cream in it. There isn’t a vegan sour cream on the market yet that I think is worthy enough to befit this recipe.
I have to admit (and I hope it is okay to say this without sounding full of myself), I think I nailed it! I demonstrated this recipe at my Veganification Boutique Culinary Demonstration on March 5, much to what seemed to be the sheer delight of every participant. There wasn’t one left in the house when the class was done.
Daria, I hope you give this recipe a whirl and tell me what you think!