(Modified to use a kitchen/dough mixer. The original recipe is supposedly my great-great-grandmother recipe.)
7 cups of all-purpose flour + flour for rolling the dough
3 heaping tablespoons lard (or shortening)
1 teaspoon salt
7 eggs, mixed (or appropriate amount of egg-substitute) + 2-3 additional eggs mixed for sealing
Approx 1 cup of water
Filling – Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, ricotta or fresh farm cheese, etc.
Kitchen mixer method
Forming the Dough
1. Equip kitchen mixer with mixer/beater blades. Combine flour and lard or shortening into kitchen mixer bowl. Mix on low, stirring parts of lard/shortening into blades to evenly mix. Mix until the flour is very silky soft to the touch and mixture is even (no chunks).
2. Add salt. Turn mixer on low and slowly add eggs until dough starts to form. Turn mixer off and switch to dough hooks. Add the rest of the eggs slowly, beating constantly. Continue beating. Using a rubber spatula, push flour from the side of the bowl towards the dough hook and developing dough. Add a small portion of water to the bowl and continue pushing flour into dough mass. Continue adding water and mixing until one solid mass forms. You may not need all the water.
3. Continue beating dough until it is smooth and slightly springy to the touch. Add more water if the dough isn’t spry enough.
4. Once the dough is complete, form into a square mass, 2 inches thick and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours.
Creating the Pierogis
5. Remove from refrigerator, and slice dough with a sharp knife into 3 or 4 equal pieces length-wise. Dough should be approx 2 inches wide when cut.
6. Take 1 section of dough and slice into ¼ to 1/3 inch” thick slices. When complete, form the 2” x 2” x ¼” cut piece of dough into a ball.
7. Set a large pot of water to a boil, then lower heat to keep it at a constant medium boil. Set a colander in the sink.
8. Lightly flour a flat surface to roll dough with.
9. Using a rolling pin, roll balls into a circle by rolling the ball a bit, then rotating ¼ turn, and rolling more. Continue rotating and rolling, creating an even circular shape. Be careful not to roll the dough too thin, or it can develop holes in the next steps. You will need to continually replenish flour on the surface and on the rolling pin in order to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.
10. Set flattened dough into a crimper (if you have no crimpers, omit this step).
11. Set a heaping teaspoon of your filling of choice into the center of the flattened dough. Too much filling will result in pierogis that burst when closed with a crimper. Using mixed eggs and your finger or a pastry brush, liberally brush the outside ring of the dough with egg (this acts as a sealer for the dough).
12. Carefully close crimper and press firmly to seal. (If you don’t have crimpers, carefully fold dough over and fold the edges a bit, sealing like a pie crust.)
Note: If the dough begins to tear easily during the stuffing process, refrigerate dough more or roll the dough less thinly.
13. Dust the outside of sealed pierogi liberally with flour.
14. Place pierogi in boiling water and cook until it rises to the surface (about 10 minutes).
15. Rinse pierogi in cold water to remove residue. Pierogi can be stored at room temp for a limited time -- until dough is used up. Fry immediately or stack/store in the freezer until ready to fry them.
To store them in a freezer:
1. Place rinsed pierogis in a storage container in a single layer.
2. Spray lightly with non-stick Cooking Spray (Pam®, for example) and place a layer of waxed paper on top.
3. Stack a second layer of pierogis on waxed paper, spraying again before stacking with another waxed paper.
4. Do not stack more than three layers deep as weight will help them stick together. Leave some space between pierogis if possible to further prevent sticking.
5. Freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator a day or two before using.
To cook them:
1. Heat a large frying pan over medium to med-high heat with a liberal amount of butter.
2. Fry pierogis until desired brownness.
3. Remove from pan and keep warm.
4. When butter turns brown, replace butter.
5. When complete, pour a bit of the melted butter over top of the pierogi platter. Serve warm with sour cream on the side.
By hand method
Doing the recipe by hand takes more time and effort. Substitute the first three steps above with these three:
To do the recipe by hand:
1. Using a fork, cut lard into the flour in as in step 1 above.
2. Add eggs, and using a wooden spoon, mix well until dough forms. Add water slowly and continue to mix until all the flour is combined into one single dough/mass.
3. Kneed dough for 30-40 minutes by hand, adding water as needed. Dough should be spry to the touch when complete.