From the Motherland is a series in which I pay homage to my Ukrainian heritage and share my favorite childhood recipes.
Lenivie vareniki (pronounced leh-nee-vi-YEAH vAH-reh-nee-key) are a classic Ukrainian recipe. Similar in texture and technique to Italian ricotta gnudi, they’re a sweet-savory dish made of tangy farmer cheese.
“Lenivie” translates from Russian to “lazy” and vareniki are traditional Ukrainian stuffed dumplings (a.k.a. pierogi). What makes these vareniki lazy is the fact that the would-be cheese filling is mixed straight into the dough versus being used as a stuffing.
Much like Italian gnudi or gnocchi, the quintessential feature of lenivie vareniki is their light, pillowy texture. Be sure to use a light touch when mixing the dough as it’s imperative to ensure the dumplings’ lightness – the more you work the dough, the tougher it gets.
Lenivie vareniki are typically topped with sour cream and sugar and eaten for breakfast. Drizzling them with honey or fruit preserves would also delicious.
Be sure to use a light touch when mixing the dough as it’s imperative to ensure the dumplings’ pillowy texture. Levinie vareniki are best eaten immediately after cooking.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 pound farmer cheese (two 7.5-ounce Friendship brand packets)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I use raw turbinado sugar), plus more to serve
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- About 4 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Sour cream, to serve
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
- In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs using a fork. Add the farmer cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir until smooth. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of the flour and gently fold it into the dough. The final dough should be light but no longer sticky to the touch. Using your hands, continue incorporating another tablespoon or two of the flour into the dough until it is no longer sticky.
- Prepare a lightly floured platter/tray for the vareniki.
- Divide the dough into 3 pieces and place 1 piece onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll the dough into a log about 1″ in diameter. Cut the log into 3/4″ pieces; if your knife is sticking, sprinkle the dough lightly with a bit of flour. Place the cut pieces on the prepared platter and continue with the 2 remaining pieces of dough.
- Pour the melted butter into a large serving bowl; set aside.
- Once the water is boiling, gently drop the vareniki into the pot along the sides of the pot to prevent a splash. Using a slotted spoon, gently stir the water. Cook the vareniki in batches as to not overcrowd the pot. Once the vareniki float to the top, about 1 minute, cook them for an additional 30 seconds and transfer them to the serving bowl with the butter. Gently toss in butter and continue boiling the rest.
- Serve lenivie vareniki hot, with sour cream and extra sugar for sprinkling. (Leftover vareniki can be reheated in a skillet with a bit of butter).
- Calories: 246
- Saturated Fat: 8.5 grams
- Protein: 19 grams
Keywords: vareniki, farmer cheese, ukrainian