As you may or may not know, I am partly Hungarian in my lineage. I pay homage to my Hungarian Ancestry with recipes that celebrate the old world. Usually these are bore of countless hours of searching through old papers to find faded handwritten recipes from my grandparents but sometimes I get an idea from listening to dad. Now one of the staple items in Hungarian cooking is lekvar or prune butter. This is used in a number of cookies and baked goods and tastes wonderful spread on warm toast in the morning. I have always avoided using lekvar though because it is prohibitively expensive to buy in the store, around $5.99 for a small jar. Enter the Hungarian Cookbook, a tome a recipes gathered by the Hungarian Ladies of New Brunswick, NJ in the 1950's. In it there's a recipe for lekvar and once I discovered how simple it was to make I'm sold on using it. Here's the recipe:
Lekvar (Hungarian Prune Butter)
1lb Pitted Prunes (Dried Plums)
Water to cover.
Place prunes in a heavy bottomed pot and add sugar and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 mins until the prunes are soft. Grind into a paste with either a food mill, food processor or hand blender and return to pot. Simmer on lowest heat until thickened (should coat the back of a spoon). Let cool completely and then either store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or freeze.
At this point you're going to have a big giant container of lekvar like I did and you're going to wonder what to do with it other than use it on toast or peanut butter sandwiches. This is when dad mentioned that his grandmother used to make pierogis and fill them with lekvar. I never thought of that and I'm no stranger to pierogis having grown up in a Polish household, but this lekvar filling seemed to be more Slovak in origin. Anyhow, here's the recipe I used to make the pierogis:
1/2 C Warm Water
Mix all ingredients in a bowl then knead until smooth. Let rest 30 mins then divide in half. Roll half of dough out to 1/8" thickness then cut into circles. Brush each circle lightly with eggwash made of 1 beaten egg then place a dollop of lekvar (or filling of choice: potatoes and onions, sauerkraut, etc.) in the center. fold in half and pinch to seal being careful to expel all air around the filling. Boil 5-8 mins until floating and remove to rack to cool. For the dinner pictured above take 3-4 slices good quality bacon or smoked pork jowl and cut into small pieces. Fry in pan until fat renders out and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon and set aside keeping oil in pan. Fry each pierogi until crisp on both sides then add 1/2 a sweet onion, diced, to pan cooking until onion is transparent. Add bacon back in, mix and then sprinkle onions/bacon over pierogis in a serving bowl. Serve with sour cream on the side.