Oh! I love the results of this “recipe”. I was always very excited when my mother would make these little pockets of goodness. Dad came from Gnadenfeld in Ukraine, (now Bohdanivka in county Zaphoriz’ka or Oblast Zaphoriz’ka) however, my mother’s family came from a village in the same colony, Sparrau (now maybe Dovhe, Ukraine, same oblast). Her family left several generations before my father’s. Anyway, this recipe was used by both my mom and dad’s families.
Note: The recipe has been passed down from memory only. There isn’t any precise measurements; you just mess with it. You can’t really ruin it. If the dough gets too wet, add more flour. If the cheese is too dry, add another egg. Here is how it’s done:
The dough is flour, water and salt, the filling is dry curd cottage cheese, egg and salt and the topping is sour cream. Simple foods for simple farmers. You will also need cheese cloth (3 big pieces) and a rolling pin. The teacher in me says read this first before you try it.
Dry curd cottage cheese
Dry curd cottage cheese is just regular small curd cottage cheese rinsed off. No kidding. Take one carton of small curd cottage cheese, probably 8 oz for the first try, put it in a strainer so the curds won’t fall through and rinse all the wet milk off. Keep rinsing until the water that runs off of the curds is nearly clear. Put the curds in a cheese cloth, squeeze out as much of the water as you can. Don’t wring or twist, just squeeze. Spread the curds in a thin layer onto a dry cheese cloth, on at towel, on the counter. Let it dry for several hours covered by another cheese cloth.
Once dry put it in a bowl and add one small egg and mix with the cheese. If you can spoon up a portion of the mixture and it sticks together in a ball the filling is ready. Add salt to taste. If it is still dry and falling apart, add another egg. Use small eggs! If it creeps you out to taste raw egg, make sure you get pasteurized eggs or just trust your salt judgement.
Take a large 6 qt pan, fill it with water until the level of water is about 2 inches below the top of the pan. Get it starting to boil. It will take some time to boil so start now.
Take as much flour needed for the number of veranika wanted. If you are doing this for the first time, I’d start with 2 or 3 cups of flour. No more and definitely no less. Add salt and water until it becomes a ball of dough that is not too wet or too dry but can be rolled out easily on a floured surface. Just mess with it until it works! I know that is vague but these are recipes that are in heads, not paper! Ha ha ha!
Once the dough is ready, roll it out flat on a floured surface and either use a large biscuit cutter to cut it into round shapes or just cut into large rectangles bout 3 x 4 inches square. Spoon some of the filling into the middle, fold over, wet the edges with your finger dipped in water and seal making a cheese-filled pocket. I just use my finger to pinch the seal. You can add fancier seals with a fork or spoon. I never worried about that because I ate it too fast once it was done.
Hopefully the water is boiling now. Take each veranika and place it in the boiling water (maybe on a medium high temperature for a rolling boil). Don’t drop them in or you will be burned. Put in as many would cover one layer of the water. They will drop to the bottom. When they rise to the surface they are done. Take them out with a slotted spoon or skimmer and place on a surface to try. I put them on parchment paper in the glass pan as you can see in the first photo above.
Slowly warm the sour cream in a shallow sauce pan with a larger diameter. When the veranika is done and dried off a bit, you cover them in the sour cream to keep them warm.
Other variations is to add carmelized onions to the sour cream or even make an onion gravy. We never added the onions. We just use sour cream.
If you have questions, let me know! There is a recipe close to this one at the following site: Mennonite Girls Can Cook.