This recipe is an evolution of several recipes and made for an authentic Vareniki as well as ease of preparation. Makes approximately 30 Vareniki.
2 1/2 cups King Arthur flour ~1 1/8 cups all-purpose & ~1 1/8 cups bread flour. (why use King Arthur flour)
1/2 cup plain organic whole milk yogurt (Stonyfield or equiv)
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and then stir in the yogurt to form a mixture. Mix this and the salt into approximately 2 cups of the flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Add more of the flour until dough becomes supple and does not stick to the bowl. Form the dough into a ball and place inside a covered bowl and let it ‘rest’ for at least one hour. The dough can also be refrigerated for several days and then used to make the Vareniki.
Cherry Filling and Sauce:
1 can of organic tart cherries
Reserved juice from canned cherries
1 tablespoon sugar
Approximately 1 to 1.5 cups of real cranberry juice with other flavor such as raspberry or blackberry (I use Northland 100% juice with no sugar added)
Drain the cherries very well against the side of a strainer, squeezing out as much of the juice as possible. Reserve the cherry juice. Sprinkle the cherries with sugar and mix in. Let stand for a while and then press and drain again more juice.
To make the sauce, mix the cherry and cranberry juices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil the mixture until it reduces to about one quarter its original amount. Add sugar if needed. Cool.
Place the cherries onto a plate covered in a few paper towels. Pat the cherries to remove more liquid so they are pretty dry. When excess cherry juice gets onto the edges of the dough, they won’t stick together and will leak when cooking.
On a floured work surface, take half the dough at a time and roll it with your hands into a long log about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Cut off about 3/4 of an inch and pat both sides of the cut medallion in flour. With a rolling pin roll the medallion into a very thin sheet about 4 by 4 inches. Use flour as necessary to keep it from sticking too badly.
Peel the sheet up and place in your hand with the stickiest side up. Place about 2 to 3 cherries in the center, wipe cherry juice off of fingers, and then fold and close up cherries in the dough so there aren’t any large air pockets, but being careful not to allow juice to squeeze out on the dough.
Squeeze the dough together and place on the work surface. Use a glass with a diameter of 2 to 3 inches and press down to get a half circle shape on the Vareniki. Pull off the excess dough and then lift the glass. Save this dough and remix thoroughly at the end and make more Vareniki. Press a fork carefully onto the Vareniki to seal the edges.
Arrange them on a pan covered in wax paper or dusted with flour and, if the Vareniki are not going to be immediately cooked, they can be frozen and then placed into a bag for storage.
To Cook and Serve:
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Drop the Varenkini one by one into the boiling water but not so many that they are crowed and stick together. Boil the fresh ones for about one minute, the frozen for up to one minute longer. Remove with a slotted spoon draining off as much water as possible.
Serve in a bowl with a few teaspoons of the cherry sauce drizzled over the top.
Tricks of this recipe are to figure out how wet the dough should be; drying the cherries so they don’t leak juice onto the dough when making the Vareniki; rolling the dough thin enough, but not too thin; and, flouring the work surface and pin sufficiently when rolling.
Making the Varenkini takes about 45 minutes and since only about 4 or 5 are eaten per serving, the frozen ones will last for many meals.
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