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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Two Cowboys: Every Individually Perfect Pierogi is Pinched by Hand in Airdrie, Alberta

The Little Things


When you work with dough, every batch is a little different. Only the trained eye and the sensitive touch of a master baker is in tune with the moods of the gluten gods. They all say that knowing dough is to understand its feel.

The perfect pierogi has the same demands for detail and attention. Emma Linton knows that to craft the ideal delicate shell of her creative flavour explosions, she has to pay particular attention to the dough’s consistency, bounce and stretch. She feels with her hands for when the mixture is perfect. Every pierogi is hand-crafted. She makes her pierogies the way its traditionally been made. She pinches them by hand.


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When she makes them by hand, she can trust each one to provide a thin, yet sturdy housing for her traditional and more adventurous fillings. The shell enhances the overall taste of the morsel, and it promises to remain closed so that no filling leaks out during steaming, cooking, frying or grilling.

Emma makes a lot of pierogies. She sells them at several farmers’ markets in and around Calgary. It is also available for online order through her website (http://www.pinchedbyhand.com) and delivery within Alberta.

We checked in to see how she does it and she obliged us with a privileged look into the inner-workings of pierogi making genius, by taking us through her processes. We are not divulging any secrets, but it is safe to say that as it is with all the simple classical recipes, it has a lot to do with the method of making and with the quality of the ingredients. In the case of pierogies, it also has a lot to do with practice and patience.

Pinching every one by hand is a tedious job. Why then the attraction is to do it? According to Emma, pierogi making was, and still is a family affair. It has a social aspect to it. It brings people together to collectively prepare food and share a meal - something that is quite unique to our species. When Emma makes pierogies, it brings her people together, and it is her hope and wish that it does the same for others.

Observations


Pierogi making is a lot simpler than most people think. A little dough, some filling, a bit of creativity, practice and patience and time with family and friends around the kitchen table.

Not only is it simple, it also allows small quantities of food to go a long way. If you have leftover meat or vegetables from another meal that you prepared, you can mush it together and work it into a filling for pierogies. Add some extra spices or flavouring sauces, and you will soon have your own style and unique pierogi creations. Freeze it to keep it and fry it up with lots of butter when it comes time to enjoy it.

If you are pinched for time and cannot go without your pierogi fix, then Emma will look after you. Enjoy her pierogies because it gives her a chance to come up with another recipe. Emma's pinched by hand pierogies comes with the Two Cowboys endorsement. It is that good!

Hendrik van Wyk 
Pinched Cowboy

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