A recipe for Pierogi Ruskie (Polish Dumplings with Potato and Cheese) inspired by our visit to Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs)! These homemade dumplings are packed with potatoes, fresh cheese, and caramelized onions.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
We had a couple of tickets to Disney World leftover from our October trip, so we decided to come back for Evan’s birthday! We stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort and spent the week visiting Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal, and Legoland.
Check out the rest of our trip to Orlando in 2014:
- Caprese Pizza and Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Baghrir (Moroccan Crepes) and Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2014
- Bobotie (South African Spiced Meat Casserole) and Animal Kingdom
- Shrimp Pesto Pizza and POP Century
- Naan Breakfast Sandwich and Art of Animation
- Fruit Gummy Legos and Legoland Florida
- Cornish Pasties (Cornish Pastry Filled with Beef and Vegetables) and Universal Orlando
- Fettuccine with Mushroom Cream Sauce and Universal Orlando
Last week, I covered my day at Epcot. This week, I am sharing our few visits to Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs). We visited Downtown Disney for the first time during the week after Chad’s parents arrived for a quick bite to eat.
There were plenty of activities at Downtown Disney to keep Evan occupied. He hated being idle in the hotel room (he kept pulling on the doorknob while saying bye) and there seemed to always be thunderstorms in the area enough to close the pools, so it was a great way to spend some time when we had no other plans.
The Lego Store had a duplo table set up outside at the perfect height for him. Even though we have plenty of legos at home, he could have spent hours here. He also loved just exploring the area. There is a digging area attached to the T-Rex restaurant that was also a hit.
Downtown Disney Food Trucks
The Downtown Disney Food Trucks are a new addition since our last visit. There are four food trucks located in Downtown Disney. We spotted Fantasy Fare and World Showcase of Flavors. The other two are Superstar Catering and Namaste Cafe.
World Showcase of Flavors featured food from the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival with Lobster Roll, Pierogi, and Grass Fed Beef Sliders.
Fantasy Fare had from Magic Kingdoms around the world: Hand-Dipped Corn Dog, Glass Noodle Salad, and Croque Monsieur.
Superstar Catering highlighted Hollywood Studios: Lamb Meatball Flatbread Sandwich, Turkey Sausage and Golden Raisin Meatballs, Spinach and Feta Meatball Sandwich, and a kid’s Beef Meatball Slider with Marinara and Provolone.
Namaste Cafe focused on Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge: Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs, Tandoori Shrimp, and Butter Chicken.
Chad and I both got items from the World Showcase of Flavors Food Truck: the Grass-Fed Beef Sliders and Pierogi with Kielbasa and Caramelized Onions. Both items were delicious.
Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop
A couple hours after visiting the Food Trucks, we stopped by the Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop for an afternoon treat.
We went with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sundae with Hot Fudge and a Vanilla Milkshake. If you have a large group, you can go for the Earthquake Family Favorite. This includes 8 scoops of ice cream, 8 toppings, fresh bananas, whipped cream, chopped almonds, chocolate chips and cherries.
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant
We visited Downtown Disney again at the end of the week with dinner reservations for Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.
Chad started the dinner with a flight of beer The Four Provinces (Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp, Kilkenny) and I got the Dalky Duo (Battered Cocktail Sausages with a Dalkey Mustard Dipping Sauce). The Brown Irish Soda Bread served with a Sweetened Guinness Reduction and Olive Oil was especially memorable.
I also ordered the Bangers and Booz (Guinness & onion bangers on mash, topped with caramelized onions and beef stew) and Chad got the Schnitzel Savvy (Breaded and seared ham schnitzel with smoked bacon baked beans, a fried egg, and chips).
Throughout the dinner, there was live music on stage and Irish dancers. We were in a separate room from the stage, but the dancers came over and danced right next to our table. They even brought Evan out to join. It was the perfect end to our week!
Pierogi Ruskie (Polish Dumplings with Potato and Cheese)
There are such an amazing variety of both sweet and savory Pierogi. After trying Pierogi Ruskie from the World Showcase of Flavors Food Truck, it was just the push I needed to finally make one of my favorites at home!
These Ruthenian dumplings (named after the area in present day southeastern Poland and western Ukraine), are filled with a combination of mashed potatoes, Twaróg (Polish farmer’s cheese), and caramelized onions. After forming, they are boiled until tender, then optionally lightly pan-fried before serving with bacon, onion, and sour cream.
A Few Tips
There is a bit of prep work involved, but some of the steps can be assembled ahead of time. The potato filling can be made up to a day or two in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to form.
If the dough is too sticky to handle, slowly add a little more flour. If it is too dry and crumbly, slowly add a little more water. Allow the dough to rest, covered, for at least 30 minutes. If the dough is still shrinking back and not easily rolled, allow to rest for a few more minutes.
Keep the dough you are not actively working with completely covered to prevent it from drying out. If the edges of the wrapper do become too dry to seal, wet lightly with a little water.
When filling, take care to place the potato mixture in the center of the wrapper and away from the edges. This will make the dumplings easier to tightly seal.
The Pierogi Ruskie can be served immediately after boiling or you can take them a further step and lightly panfry in butter.
If desired, top with a little fresh parsley for an extra pop of color.
You can freeze the extra Pierogi in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet before or after boiling. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe airtight bag. If you are boiling frozen Pierogi, the cooking time needs to be increased to about 8-10 minutes. If they are pre-boiled, the time in the skillet will be increased a bit to make sure the filling is heated through.
Twaróg or Ser Biały is a fresh Polish farmer’s cheese with a soft white color. It is available in some specialty cheese sections in larger areas or markets with Polish ingredients. If you are unable to locate it, you can use farmer’s cheese or prepare it at home. I actually made this Twaróg recipe from Polish Housewife the night before and refrigerated until ready to use.
Pierogi Ruskie (Polish Dumplings with Potato and Cheese) Recipe
Adapted from Wild Honey & Rye
Pierogi Ruskie (Polish Dumplings with Potato and Cheese)
- 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1/2-3/4 cups (118-177 milliliters) lukewarm water
- 1 pound (450 grams) russet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 8 ounces (227 grams) Twaróg or Farmer's Cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 8 ounces (227 grams) bacon chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter or more as needed
- Sour cream for serving
To make the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
- Mix in the egg and oil. Slowly pour in the water just until the dough comes together. If too dry and crumbly to bring together, slowly add more water. If too wet and sticky, slowly add a little more flour.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until soft and smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
To prepare the filling:
- Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low boil and cook until the potatoes are completely tender, 20-30 minutes.
- Gently remove the tender potatoes from the water and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- In a large skillet, place the butter and vegetable oil over medium low heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized. Remove to a plate.
- Peel the warm potatoes and mash until completely smooth in a large bowl or press through a potato ricer.
- Mash in the cheese into the potatoes until well combined. Mix in the caramelized onions and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Line a large baking sheet or counter surface with parchment. Lightly flour a large work surface.
- Divide the rested dough into 2 equal pieces. Place one piece on work surface and place the other back in the plastic wrap.
- Roll the dough into a thin sheet, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking, until it is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.
- Use a 3 inch (7.5 cm) wide circular cutter or the top of a glass to cut out circles of dough. Gather up the scraps and add it to the covered piece of dough.
- Place a spoonful of the cooled filling to the center of a circle. Fold the circle in half over the filling to make a half moon shape, lightly pressing around the filling to remove any air pockets as you press down to seal the edges. If desired, use a fork to crimp around the edges. Place on prepared parchment in a single layer and repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- In a large pan, place the chopped bacon over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat has rendered. Add the chopped onion and continue to cook until golden.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a few of the pierogi, taking care not to overcrowd, and stir gently to separate from the bottom. Cook until the Pierogi float to the top and the edges are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove, drain, and repeat with remaining Pierogi.
- In a large skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter over medium heat if pan-frying.
- Add enough boiled Pierogi to cover in a single layer (do not overcrowd) and cook until lightly golden on both sides. Repeat with remaining Pierogi, adding more butter as needed.
- Toss the boiled or pan-fried Pierogi with the bacon and onions and serve immediately with sour cream if desired.