Sunday, December 06, 2009

Varenikis (Page 818)

RECIPE #1053

  • Date: Saturday, November 21, 2009 -- 8pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our New House!
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Brad, Deniz, Karen H, and Dave
  • Recipe Rating: B


I made this recipe for dessert when my in-laws came to visit a couple weeks ago. I started by making the Vareniki dough, which I had already made once before and blogged about here. Then I prepared the filling. I combined water and sugar in a saucepan and boiled it, then I stirred in some brandy. I then chopped dried apricots in the food processor and stirred in some chopped walnuts. I rolled out the dough, cut it into squares then put some filling in the center of each square. I folded the squares into triangles, then brought two of the vertices of each triangle together to form a hat-like shape. To cook the dumplings I boiled them in lightly salted water until tender. In the meantime I browned fresh bread crumbs and chopped walnuts in butter then I seasoned the mixture with salt. I then added some cinnamon and sugar. I drizzled some melted butter on a serving platter, then put the cooked varenikis on the platter. I topped them with the bread crumb mixture and some additional cinnamon sugar. I liked this dessert ok. My major complaint was that the dumplings were too doughy. The filling had a nice flavor and texture, but relative to how much dough there was, there wasn't enough filling. Although the dough was good, the part of the vareniki where the vertices of the triangle came together had too much dough in one place. The large amount of dough there needed a larger amount of filling to complement it. The highlight of the dish was really the toppings, which was delicious! It was buttery, with a lovely crispness from the breadcrumbs, and some sweetness from the cinnamon sugar. Yum! I found myself eating the topping off the platter long after I lost interest in the dumplings. Overall this dessert was perfectly fine, but it isn't one I will be making again.

The recipe is here.

My friend Mike has been visiting the last few days. He came out to Indiana to give a couple lectures at IU in the math department. After his last talk on Friday we drove up to Michigan and we have been hanging out this weekend at the house. Mike made a special request for some nasty book food, so he and I sat down with the book and tried to construct a dinner that sounded disgusting! What we came up with: Calf's Liver with Onions, Bitter Greens with Onions, and Figgy Pudding. And, just as hoped, it was bad! I will blog about these recipes soon, but the summary of how the meal went was that I took a couple bites, pushed the food around my plate for a few minutes, then made myself some Cream of Wheat for dinner instead! Surprisingly, the dish that was met with the most resistance by Mike and Matt was the Figgy Pudding. They agreed that they might have liked it if they didn't know what went in it, but that knowledge made it difficult to enjoy. The upsetting ingredient: 3 CUPS of beef fat. Mmmm... dessert with beef in it! I'm totally ok with the idea of putting a little animal fat in dessert (e.g. pie crust made with lard), but 3 cups of beef fat!?! It was a lot of fat. It makes me cringe thinking about it even now. The kitchen had a mysterious sweet beefy smell this morning when I came downstairs -- the lingering scent of figgy pudding.

Today I tried to redeem myself (and the project) by producing some food that actually tasted good. We had our friends Corbett, Mary, Allison, and Rich over for brunch and we had a very tasty quiche from The Book, and some yummy pastries involving brioche dough and pastry cream (hard to go wrong with that!). It was definitely a more satisfying meal than dinner last night!

3 comments:

vero said...

Too bad I was not there for the "crap from the book" night. It sounds like fun.

It sounds like you finally made the "pains aux raisins". Yum!! We had them this weekend for the second time. They are amazing!!

Liz Tee said...

Just reading the menu made my stomach hurt, even before you mentioned the BEEF FAT. But you got to check off three recipes, so some good came of it. :)

Teena said...

Vero -- The funny thing is, while we were eating I even said, "It's too bad Vero isn't here. We could use her commentary!" You were definitely missed.

We did make the pains aux raisins finally, and they were so good! Yum!

Liz: Yeah, it is definitely a good thing to get through some of the nasty recipes so I don't have 3 months of gross food at the end!