Cherry Vareniki

Explore the unique taste of Cherry Vareniki (Cherry Pierogi), where the richness of sweet cherries meets the heartiness of dough, creating a Ukrainian delicacy that’s simply irresistible with sour cream.

A plate of Cherry Pierogi served with sour cream.

History of Cherry Vareniki

“Cherry Vareniki” combines two words: “cherry,” from the Old Northern French “cherise,” and “vareniki,” a Slavic term for boiled dumplings, derived from “variti,” meaning “to boil.” This name fuses the natural produce of Eastern Europe, cherries, with a traditional cooking method. Cherry Vareniki is also known as “Cherry Pierogi”.

The use of cherries in vareniki likely coincides with the cultivation of cherries in the region, which dates back several centuries. Cherries were abundant in Ukraine, especially during the summer, making them a natural choice for a sweet filling.

Cherry vareniki served with a dollop of sour cream.

Reasons to Love These Cherry Varenikis

  • I love that the combination of sweet cherries and savory dough creates a unique, irresistible taste.
  • Cherry Pierogi are versatile and perfect for any meal – be it breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.
  • These cherry dumplings are made with readily available, simple ingredients, making them easy to prepare at home.

Recipe Ingredients

Cherry Vareniki served on a plate and a small bowl with sour cream.
  • Kefir: Used in the dough to add a slight tanginess and to tenderize the dough.
  • Sour Cherries: The key filling ingredient, giving the Vareniki its distinctive sweet and tart flavor.
  • Sour Cream: Served with the Vareniki, it complements the sweet cherries with its creamy tang.
  • All-purpose flour: This is the base for the dough, providing structure and texture. My flour of choice is Bob’s Red Mill’s Organic All-Purpose Flour. I use their organic all-purpose flour for just about everything. It might be controversial, but I even use it to bake many of my favorite bread recipes. I love making Honey & Herb French Bread and Rustic Olive Bread, especially during the holidays.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Flour Substitute: Replace all-purpose flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend to make it suitable for gluten-sensitive diets without altering the texture significantly.
  • Kefir Alternative: Use buttermilk instead of kefir to maintain the tanginess and tenderness in the dough.
  • Enhance the Cherry Sauce: For an even richer sauce, consider adding a bit of lemon zest or juice to the cherry sauce. This can brighten up the sauce and add a refreshing contrast to the sweet cherries.

How to Make Cherry Vareniki (Cherry Pierogi)

Step #1: Place two cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl along with the sea salt and baking soda.

Step #2: Whisk the kefir and egg together in a small bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the kefir mix. Gently knead together the dough, adding more flour one tablespoon at a time, until the dough stops sticking to your fingers. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with a damp towel, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Step #3: While the dough is resting, prepare the sour cherry sauce: Pour the can of cherries through a sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside one cup of the strained cherries to use as filling. Place the liquid from the can along with the remaining cherries into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and cornstarch; cook over medium heat until thickened. Set aside.

Step #4: When the dough is done resting, dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough into a long log. Dust the log with flour and cut it into 20 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a disc, then use a floured rolling pin to roll each piece into 3-inch circles.

Step #5: Place 2 or 3 cherries into the center of each circle. Fold the dough into a half-circle to enclose the cherries; pinch or pleat together to seal. The dough will be very elastic, so you may need to re-stretch the pieces a little bit as you form the varenikis.

Step #6: Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Set out a large mixing bowl and place the butter on the bottom. Place one completed vareniki into the water and boil for 60 seconds. Remove the vareniki with a slotted spoon and test to ensure the dough is cooked through.

Step #7: Cook the remaining varenikis in batches, straining them from the pot and placing them in the bowl to toss with butter. To serve, place the cooked varenikis on a platter and top with cherry sauce and dollops of sour cream.

Cherry dumplings and a fork on a plate.

Expert Tips

Achieve the Perfect Seal: Ensuring that your vareniki are perfectly sealed before boiling is key to preventing them from opening up in the water. After pinching them shut, it can be helpful to use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges for an extra secure seal.

Do Not Overcrowd the Pot: When boiling the vareniki, avoid overcrowding the pot. This ensures that they cook evenly and don’t stick together. Cooking them in batches might take a bit longer but will result in better-textured vareniki.

Serve with Complementary Toppings: While sour cream is traditional, offering a variety of toppings can enhance the eating experience. Consider chopped nuts, mint, or even a drizzle of honey for additional textures and flavors.

Cherry varenikis on a plate drizzled with cherry sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of cherries work best for Cherry Pierogi?

Tart cherries or sour cherries are ideal for Cherry Vareniki, as they provide a delightful contrast to the sweet dough.

Can I use canned cherries if fresh ones aren’t available?

Yes, canned sour cherries are a good alternative when fresh ones are not in season.

How thin should I roll the dough?

Roll the dough to about ⅛ inch thickness for the perfect balance between durability and delicacy.

Storage Info

You can store Cherry Vareniki in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To freeze, simply place them on a baking sheet until frozen, then transfer them to a freezer bag, where they’ll stay good for up to 2 months.

To reheat, you can either steam them or warm them in a microwave until heated through. If frozen, there’s no need to thaw; boil them directly from the freezer, adding a couple of minutes to the cooking time.

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Cherry dumplings and a fork on a plate.

Cherry Vareniki Recipe

Explore the unique taste of Cherry Vareniki (Cherry Pierogi), where the richness of sweet cherries meets the heartiness of dough, creating a Ukrainian delicacy that's simply irresistible with sour cream.
4.8 from 9 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: European
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 20 varenikis
Calories: 80kcal
Author: Linda
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup kefir
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 14-ounce can sour cherries
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream for serving
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Instructions

  • Place two cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl along with the sea salt and baking soda.
  • Whisk the kefir and egg together in a small bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the kefir mix. Gently knead together the dough, adding more flour one tablespoon at a time, until the dough stops sticking to your fingers. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with a damp towel, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, prepare the sour cherry sauce: Pour the can of cherries through a sieve into a medium bowl. Set aside one cup of the strained cherries to use as filling. Place the liquid from the can along with the remaining cherries into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and cornstarch; cook over medium heat until thickened. Set aside.
  • When the dough is done resting, dust a clean surface with flour and roll the dough into a long log. Dust the log with flour and cut it into 20 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a disc, then use a floured rolling pin to roll each piece into 3-inch circles.
  • Place 2 or 3 cherries into the center of each circle. Fold the dough into a half-circle to enclose the cherries; pinch or pleat together to seal. The dough will be very elastic, so you may need to re-stretch the pieces a little bit as you form the varenikis.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Set out a large mixing bowl and place the butter on the bottom. Place one completed vareniki into the water and boil for 60 seconds. Remove the vareniki with a slotted spoon and test to ensure the dough is cooked through.
  • Cook the remaining varenikis in batches, straining them from the pot and placing them in the bowl to toss with butter. To serve, place the cooked varenikis on a platter and top with cherry sauce and dollops of sour cream.

NOTES

You can store Cherry Vareniki in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To freeze, simply place them on a baking sheet until frozen, then transfer them to a freezer bag, where they’ll stay good for up to 2 months.
To reheat, you can either steam them or warm them in a microwave until heated through. If frozen, there’s no need to thaw; boil them directly from the freezer, adding a couple of minutes to the cooking time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1vareniki | Calories: 80kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 31mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. We usually do pierogi for Christmas Eve, made from my grandmother’s recipe. Unlike most Polish pierogi we fill ours with fruits, cheese, and sauerkraut. These remind me of them so much. We eat our with melted butter and salt, love the idea of sour cream!

  2. Its like you read my mind! It has been on my list to figure out how to make these things!!! Have you been to Katchka in inner SE Portland yet? It was voted best restaurant of the year last year and got the official stamp of approval from my husband’s Russian family. Their cherry dumplings are out of this world, Sooo damn good!

    1. Yes! Dimitry and I went there a few months ago and we loved the dumplings. And the vodka. So other than the dumplings I don’t remember much of the experience 😉