As the weather outside switched from what I thought was going to be a sunny Sunday to a gloomy, heavy-clouded afternoon, all I could think about was to cuddle up with kitty, a book and something yummy. These dumplings came to mind: kinda natural choice when the time and energy for cooking are slim, but the mind demands something soothing and comforting.
For the record: leniwy in Polish means lazy. Do you already get the picture, of what kind of dumplings leniwe are? That’s right, comfort food strikes again. Don’t get fooled by their cute shape, they really are not as difficult to make as they might appear. It takes less than an hour to whip up these little cushion-like dumplings. Served with a bit of melted butter, some sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, they are a foolproof mood lifter. At least for me.
As for technicalities: there are two kinds of dumplings in Poland that look exactly the same, but the difference between them is quite fundamental – one kind is savoury, another one sweet. The sweet version is, of course, leniwe. The savoury ones are called kopytka (meaning ‘little hooves’ in Polish) and are made with boiled mashed potatoes instead of the quark cheese used in leniwe. And to make things even more confusing: kopytka are not the same thing as kluski śląskie, even though they are both dumplings made with potatoes.
SWEET COTTAGE CHEESE DUMPLINGS (PIEROGI LENIWE)
300g cottage cheese (or quark)
2tbsp potato starch
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
How to make?
1. Add cottage cheese to a bowl and work with a fork to smooth it out. Add an egg, pinch of salt, and mix everything well. You can use potato masher here, to get rid of any lumps.
2. Add both flours and work with your hands to joint all the ingredients together. Move the resulting mass onto a floured pastry board and knead into a smooth ball. Don’t overwork it, though.
3. If the ‘dough’ appears too loose, add a little bit more flour and quickly knead again.
4. Put a pot filled 3/4 with cold water on to boil. Cover with a lid.
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, and make a ball out of each.
6. Roll each of the balls with your hands until it lengthens and becomes a thick rope. Cut diagonally into small pieces.
7. Once the water in the pot boils, turn the heat down to medium and drop the dumplings in. Once they rise to the top, let them boil for additional 1-2 minutes before removing the dumplings with a slotted spoon.
8. Serve with melted butter, some sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
These look very promising. I have 2 questions. You mention 2 flours. Is one potato flour? Or do you get the starch from grating then squeezing out the starch (not lazy any more).
Also could other soft unripened cheese work? Like ricotta, paneer etc?
Hi! Thanks for stopping by!
And you’re right, I used terms ‘starch’ and ‘flour’ interchangeably, without noticing. So potato starch is what we need, but only because it can be found easier than potato flour which is quite a rare product (at least here).
I recommend Polish shops for buying it: it’s called ‘skrobia ziemniaczana’, and it’s not only always available in a Polish shop, but also cheap. You can, of course make our own, but it’s a quite labour-intensive process ;)
I wonder how corn or tapioca flour would work instead of potato one. I will try next time I’m making leniwe, and let you know!
As for cheese: any ‘fresh’ white cheese would do. The only thing I’d be worried about is that ricotta might be a bit too wet, in which case you can put it on a strainer and set aside for an hour or so to get rid of excess water. No idea how paneer would work, but please let me know if you try! I’m curious now, what would the flavour be like 😁
Is the purpose of the potato flour or starch to bind it together or for taste? I’m guessing to bind. Both corn starch and corn flour are available to me, and they are very different products. I’m thinking that the corn starch is the way to go for me. What do you think?
To bind, that’s why I suggested corn or tapioca. I feel like they add a slight ‘gumminess’ to the dumplings, which is desired otherwise they might fall apart while boiling.
I have some corn starch at home and I am now really tempted to try the recipe out with it! 😁
I’m looking forward to giving them a go too. I’m new to dumplings and they’re a flour treatment that is really in all cuisines.
I love it but for me the best topping is butter and sour cream
Butter and sour cream, plus a sprinkle of sugar. Yes, please! 😁
I gave it a go, and, success. They were very appreciated & delicious. There are a couple of notes to make, however. The one variable you can’t account for is the hydration level of the cheese in different parts of the world. This is important as the dough needs to be at something of a sweet spot to roll & shape – between 60-67% hydration. In my case the cottage cheese I used was really wet, consequently I had to add a lot of flour to make it behave. What I will do next time is to prepare a flour/salt mix of 200g flour and 4 g salt (that baker’s salt %) and weigh the flour as I add it until it feels right.
Its a cool dish as when it is done it can go in several different ways: a dessert as you suggest with cinamon and sweetner (maple syrup comes to mind) or indeed savory as part of dinner with some sour cream, a little pepper and herbs – and of course butter.
Thanks so much for the feedback! 😊 I’m very happy that they were a success!
You’re right about the hydration, of course. I did make these in Japan, UK and Croatia, and each time the cheese (and flour, for that matter) were different. The way to go around the water-in-cheese problem is to let it strain for a bit on a cloth before adding it to the dough, if you think it’s too wet. The cottage cheese in Poland is pretty dry, usually sold in a rectangle bloc. I made pierogi ruskie (the recipe for which also calls for cottage cheese) in many countries, and each time the cheese was different, and every time more wet than the cottage cheese in Poland. I should make myself more clear in my recipe, for sure. Thanks so much for the tips! 😁
Gave them another go – and this time I used chevre. It seems to be pretty similar to the cottage cheese you describe in terms of hydration, so my quantities turned out likewise similar. The other aspect of this was salt. Using the cottage cheese I have access to, it is not salted at all, and it meant I had to add 2-3% of the flour/cheese weight in salt to the recipe. Chevre on the other hand has a fair amount of salt (I’m guessing 2% or so) thus, the amount of salt you suggested is appropriate here.
It raises interesting questions and issues for those of us who blog about food. We are talking to an international audience – which is truly amazing and humbling. Its often difficult to forecast what the analogous ingredients are going to be like somewhere else. That’s where the comments and replies are useful to all of us as they broaden our own learning and understanding about the recipes we create and present to the world.
BTW I cited this recipe on one of my blogs here: https://wp.me/p2EQ7Q-oQ
[…] Aho’s recipe for sweet cottage cheese […]
Thank you for sharing this. I will give it a try!
You’re welcome! :) Let me know how did they turn out, if you do make them someday 😁
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