Varenyky are considered a national dish of Ukraine, and while they are often filled with potato, there are plenty of other traditional fillings. In fact, cherry varenyky are one of the more popular varieties of ‘dessert varenyky’ and are a popular Ukrainian recipe.
Two of the most famous Ukrainian traditional foods are borsch and varenyky. Why? Because both of these were considered peasant foods popular with the hard-working farmers. As Ukraine is a heavy agricultural society, it is no wonder that the food of the farmers became popular countrywide.
A lot of people wonder what is the difference between varenyky and pierogi. They are very similar dishes with one difference; traditional varenyky are always boiled and traditional pierogi are always fried. However if you don’t follow that ‘rule’ no one will complain if they’re getting free dumplings!
How To Make Varenyky
My varenyky dough is the same whether I am making the standard potato version, dessert dumplings, or even some fancy varenyky. 450 grams of flour (a little over 3.5 cups), 65 ml oil, 1 large egg, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 250 ml of water. Toss that all in a stand mixer until well kneaded.
Cut the dough ball in half and roll out a sheet. This recipe will make about two large sheets. Make sure your table and rolling pin is well dusted in flour.
Use a ring mold or other circular cutting tool to cut out rounds. These will be the dumpling skins that you use to make these cherry varenyky.
For this recipe I am using regular frozen cherries. You can use fresh, but sadly I wasn’t able to find fresh sour cherries and I would rather use frozen sour than fresh sweet cherries for my personal preference. However you can use whatever you like, it’s all up to you.
Next it is time to stuff the dough and shape the varenyky. I usually try to get 2-3 whole cherries into each dumpling, just be sure not to overstuff. Traditionally the varenyky are sealed by rolling the edges into a sort of rope looking crimp, but I tend to just resort to the Asian method I do for gyoza.
After you are done closing the varenyky just place it back on the floured table. When you have finished making them all then you can start boiling them.
Set a pan of boiling water and carefully drop in the varenyky. As this is a fresh dough they will not take long to boil at all. I find 3 minutes to be a good amount of time to boil these cherry varenyky, but if your dough is thin then you can get by with just a minute or two.
You can serve cherry varenyky right from the pan. Some people like smetana or sweet cream, but I’m just a fan of dropping over some more cherries and a few mint leaves.
- 1 rolling pin
- 1 stand mixer optional, but saves a lot of time
- 400 grams Sour Cherries fresh or frozen
- 450 grams Flour about 3.5 cups
- 1 large Egg
- 65 ml Oil something neutral like sunflower
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Sugar
- 250 ml Water
- Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment add all the ingredients except the cherries. Let it run until you have a smooth elastic ball of dough.
- Cut the dough in half and roll out a sheet using a rolling pin on a well floured surface. Then use a ring mold or other round cutting device to cut circles out of the dough. This will be your varenyky dumpling skin.
- Add 2-3 cherries into each dough round and crimp closed. Place the varenyky back on a floured surface while you make all of them.
- Boil a pan of water and carefully drop the cherry varenyky in. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove and serve with smetana / sweet cream or just some extra cherries and mint.
Cherry Varenyky (Ukrainian Dessert Dumplings)
Best Ukrainian Recipes
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