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Varenyky Recipe (Dumplings from Ukraine with a Surprise Sweet and Sour Filling)

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For a wholesome and pleasantly sweet and sour treat, look no further than our varenyky recipe to fill the bellies and capture the hearts of your family and dinner guests with one of Ukraine’s most beloved national dishes.

Varenyky with strawberry varenye on a white plate.

Varenyky Recipe

Dumplings have been a true bedrock dish of cuisines all over the world for hundreds, even thousands of years, and as such, varenyky have an integral role to play in both Ukrainian cuisine and culture.

This is a dish that can be made both savory and sweet. In this recipe, we’re going to focus on dessert varenyky for a simple and delightfully soft treat.

Varenyky with strawberry varenye on a white plate.

What are Varenyky?

At their simplest, varenyky are dainty dumplings made from unleaved dough, sealed with a crimped edge, and cooked in boiling water. The dumplings can have either sweet or savory fillings, and the fillings are vast and diverse, ranging from cheese and potato to sour fruits and soft cheeses.

This style of dumpling, consisting of dough wrapped around some form of filling, historically is believed to have originated from China and, through the centuries, eventually made its way to Europe and many other parts of the world.

In Central Europe and Eastern Europe, this type of dish is very common. Pierogi in Polish cuisine, derelye in Hungarian cuisine, and bryndzové pirohy in Slovak cuisine are just some of the many examples of dumpling-based dishes that are very similar to Ukrainian varenyky.

Ingredients

To make our varenyky dessert recipe, you’ll first need to assemble the following ingredients:

Varenyky recipe ingredients
  • Kefir – 300 ml (1 cup and 3 tbsp) kefir
  • Eggs – 2 egg yolks
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Flour – 400 grams (3 cups and 2 tbsp) plain flour
  • Baking Soda – 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp salt
  • Sour Cherries – 500 grams (17.6 oz) jarred pitted sour cherries (weight when drained)
  • Icing Sugar – 1 tbsp icing sugar/confectionary sugar

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Beat the egg yolks, granulated sugar, salt, baking soda, and kefir in a medium bowl.

Step 2 – Add the sifted flour in stages, stirring with a wooden spoon at the beginning. When you can’t mix with the spoon anymore, start kneading the dough with your hands for about 5 minutes.

Step 3 – Make a large ball of dough, and let it stand (covered with a clean towel) for about 15 minutes.

Varenyky step-by-step (making the dough)

Step 4 – Roll the ball of dough into a log.

Varenyky step-by-step (making the dough)

Step 5 – Using a knife or dough scraper, divide into small pieces that you can then flatten thinly with your hands or a rolling pin.

Step 6 – Fill with a teaspoon of sour cherries, a pinch of icing sugar sprinkled over the cherries, fold in half, and then close them, pinching the dough between your fingers.

Varenyky step-by-step (filling the dumplings).

Step 7 – In a small pot, add water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the varenyky (don’t overcrowd the pot) and put the lid on until they start boiling. Then, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook them until they lift to the surface (the timing depends on how thick your dough is). For thin dough, it can take just 2 minutes.

Varenyky step-by-step (boiling the dumplings).

Step 8 – Drain them and plate them.

Varenyky drained on a white plate.

What to Serve with Varenyky

Step 9 – Serve them with varenye or your favorite jam. You could also try them with:

Sour Cream – Lots of Eastern European dishes are served with sour cream, and this will add some tang to balance the sweetness.

Apple Sauce – Take a little inspiration from Central European cuisine, and consider a thick apple sauce to serve your dumplings with.

Varenyky with strawberry varenye on a white plate.

Coated in glistening, lusciously sweet varenye preserve, varenyky really will keep you coming back for more.

The dumplings provide that hearty, filling, savory foundation on which the sour cherries and the sweet strawberries can truly come into their own. Serve up a giant platter of these dumplings, and we’re confident you’ll have few, if any, left by the end of the evening!

Varenyky with strawberry varenye on a white plate.

Recipe Card

Varenyky

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Author: Nomad Paradise

Ingredients

  • 300 ml 1 cup and 3 tbsp kefir
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 400 grams 3 cups and 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500 grams 17.6 oz jarred pitted sour cherries
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar/confectionary sugar

Instructions

  • Beat the egg yolks, granulated sugar, salt, baking soda, and kefir in a medium bowl.
  • Add the sifted flour in stages, stirring with a wooden spoon at the beginning. When you can’t mix with the spoon anymore, start kneading the dough with your hands for about 5 minutes.
  • Make a large ball of dough, and let it stand (covered with a clean towel) for about 15 minutes.
  • Roll the ball of dough into a log.
  • Using a knife or dough scraper, divide into small pieces that you can then flatten thinly with your hands or a rolling pin.
  • Fill each piece with a teaspoon of sour cherries, a pinch of icing sugar sprinkled over the cherries, fold in half, and then close them, pinching the dough between your fingers.
  • In a pot, add water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the varenyky (don’t overcrowd the pot) and put the lid on until they start boiling. Then, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook them until they lift to the surface (the timing depends on how thick your dough is). For thin dough, it can take just 2 minutes.
  • Drain them and plate them.
  • Serve them with varenye or your favorite jam.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nomadparadisefood or tag #nomadparadisefood!

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Top down view of varenyky with strawberries and varenye.

Contributor: Efimia is a home cook and retired teacher, well versed in Eastern European and Baltic cuisine, who has been cooking a wide array of sweet and savory dishes for friends and family for over four decades.

Author

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating