Perogies for Thanksgiving

Perogies on a plate with fall decor

Perogies, Pyrohy, Piroshki, etc., etc. Delicacy of Eastern Europe, particularly of Ukraine. Western Canada is perogy-land, having been settled by a large number of Ukrainians over the last century.

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They often make an appearance at old-school buffets, and many community halls hold perogy dinner fundraisers. Many people I know also include them at the Thanksgiving table.

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I learned to love perogies when our family moved away from the prairies to the maritimes, and my mom had to make them from scratch. It was a special-occasion meal because it was more labor intensive. When we moved to Alberta when I was a teenager, perogies beam a convenience food, cooked from a bag from the freezer aisle.

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It wasn’t until I lived on my own that I tried making perogies from scratch myself, but they’re worth the effort (I say that a lot on this blog!!). This recipe is one loosely based on a recipe from the Vegetarian Times cookbook. It’s also a good recipe to make with friends, as many hands speed the assembly stage. Our friend Matt came over when we last made these, and is the lovely hand model in the photos.

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Vegan Cheddar and Chive Perogies

An Agent Minty original recipe

Makes approximately 45 perogies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours to overnight
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 + 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sundried tomato, soaked in water and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Instructions:

Prepare components:

  1. Peel and cube potatoes, cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, process together drained soaked cashews, until coarse.
  3. Add almond milk, miso, and vinegar and puree for 3-5 minutes until perfectly creamy.
  4. Set aside cashew cream for now.
  5. Once potatoes are cooked until very tender, drain, reserving potato cooking liquid in a bowl.
  6. Mash potatoes until smooth.
  7. Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with cream of tartar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Mix 1 3/4 cups of mashed potato with 3/4 cups of potato cooking water and the oil.
  9. Add mixture from step 8 to the flour-salt mixture and stir well.
  10. Either kneading in the bowl by hand, or using your mixer’s dough hook attachment, start kneading the dough.
  11. Add remaining flour in 1/4 cupfuls every minute or so, until the dough is no longer very sticky.
  12. Continue kneading for about five minutes.
  13. Cover dough with plastic wrap to rest while you prepare the filling.
  14. Blend together 1/4 cup of cashew cream from step 4 with remaining mashed potato. Add in remaining ingredients and puree or stir until creamy.

Cut and fill perogies:

  1. Using a generous amount of flour, roll out 1/3 of dough to 1/8-inch thick.
  2. Cut 3-inch circles, and fill each with 1 Tbsp of filling.
  3. Moisten the edge of the dough with water, fold over, and press together with a fork.
  4. Transfer all finished perogies to a tray covered with plastic wrap to keep them moist.
  5. Scraps from cutting dough can be reused.
  6. After all perogies have been cut and filled, bring a pot of water to boil.
  7. Cook perogies in boiling water for 5-8 minutes.
  8. If desired, lightly sauté in oil before serving.
  9. Serve with remaining cashew cream, fried onions, and vegan “bacon” bits.
  10. Leftover boiled perogies store well in the fridge for a week.Perogies-3

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Seasonally Appropriate Pumpkin Pie

This time of year, everyone starts craving pumpkin. I’ll leave pumpkin-spiked coffee for other people to rhapsodize over; I’d rather focus on pumpkin baked goods! Since Canadian Thanksgiving is two and a half weeks away, I’m trying to post a recipe with enough time in advance so that you can actually make it (Unlike Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day in the past). This recipe sets like a charm – no runny filling or dry, tofu flavour. I promise that the spicy pumpkin flavour really shines in this recipe! If you plan on making this for a mixed crowd, don’t even bother telling anyone that it’s vegan, as they will never know.

Sugar-covered pumpkin pie

A few notes about substitutions:

The good news is that this can be enjoyed by people with dietary sensitivities, too – if you want it gluten-free, just use certified gluten-free cornstarch and a gluten-free or nut-based pie crust.

Over the past years, I have used almost every iteration of dairy-free milk possible, and everything works except the extremely low-fat milks. If you are using potato or rice milk, sub in a few tablespoons of coconut milk for the total “milk” volume. Or, in desperation, sub in one and a half tablespoons of neutral-flavoured oil (I have done this and it works).

Any tofu labelled “soft” will work – unsweetened, dessert tofu, or Mori-nu vacuum packed. I have not tried using traditional asian tofu or medium tofu, so I can’t vouch for the success of that substitution.

If you have a favourite combination of spices from a family recipe, go ahead and use them here instead of the ones I have recommended.

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie – An original recipe by Agent Minty

  • 1 prepared pie crust
  • 2 cups canned, cooked pumpkin (non seasoned), divided
  • 6.5 Tbsp (1/3 of a 300g/10oz package) of soft tofu… do not press beforehand!
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp dairy-free milk
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp arrowroot OR corn starch
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Pre-bake crust: Roll out pie crust and fit into pan. Prick all over with a fork. Cover with tin foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes until crust is barely golden. Remove tin foil and allow to cool while finishing the filling.
  3. Readjust oven temperature to 350F
  4. Combine 1/2 cup pumpkin with the tofu in a food processor. Blend for at least 5 minutes, until the mixture is a smooth, creamy orange with no flecks of tofu. You may need to scrape down the bowl halfway through.
  5. Add the remaining pumpkin and process another minute.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients and process 2-5 minutes if smooth, scraping down the bowl if necessary.
  7. Pour into the pre-baked pie crust and smooth with the back of a spatula.
  8. Cover the entire pie with a loose sheet of tinfoil. This prevents the crust from burning or the top of the filling from getting leathery.
  9. Bake at 350F for one hour.
  10. Remove the tinfoil and increase oven temperature to 385F.
  11. Optional but nice step: brush the exposed crust with dairy-free milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  12. Bake another 15-30 minutes until the cruse is lightly browned.
  13. Allow to cool for at least one hour.
  14. Serve with Coconut Whipped Cream if desired, or decorate with powdered sugar.