My Lithuanian great-grandmother’s pierogi were the stuff of dreams. Every Easter, she would arrive bearing an aluminum dish filled with the best part of our holiday meal. My family eyed them greedily, ignoring the glistening ham, various side dishes, and even the famous bunny cake with its jellybean eyes and marshmallow tail.
Swaddled in butter and with flecks of onion scattered across, her pierogi were tender and plush with a springy chew to the potato filling. Over the years, I’ve tried to replicate them, but my potato and cheese filling was always too mashed potato-like: light and fluffy, a bit grainy, and without that signature chew.
It wasn’t until I interned at America’s Test Kitchen with Cook’s Country editor Bryan Roof that I learned the secret: Use a stand mixer to mash the potatoes with the cheese; it releases just enough starch to give the filling that toothsome, chewy, springy texture.