a harvest feast for the equinox / butternut squash & sage pierogis with hazelnuts

As a service to my readers, food & feast posts will always feature the recipe first, with history, folklore, and cooking tips toward the bottom of the page. For background on this recipe and helpful hints for navigating technique, scroll down! Otherwise, dive right in with the recipe below.


butternut squash pierogis with brown butter, hazelnuts,

and horseradish & dill sour cream

Yields 25 pierogis

Serves 4-6

Vegetarian, contains dairy, gluten, eggs

Prep time : 2 hours

Cook time: 20 minutes

for the filling

1 whole small butternut squash, cubed

1 yellow onion, sliced

8 cloves garlic, sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon pepper

for the dough

2 large eggs, beaten

½ cup warm water

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

for the horseradish & dill sour cream

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons finely grated horseradish

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Begin with your filling. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. On a roasting tray lined with parchment, lay your butternut squash, onion, and garlic in a single layer. Drizzle with your olive oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until squash is tender.

While the veggies roast, prepare the dough. Combine eggs, water, salt, and flour in a large mixing bowl, and use a wooden spoon to incorporate until the dough begins to come together. Use your hands to finish, and knead your dough for 5-7 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and chill at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

When the veggies have roasted, set aside until cool, and then add to a blender with your parmesan cheese, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. You may add a small amount of water (maximum 6 tablespoons) to help the veggies blend. Remove the squash purée from the blender and chill for at least 30 minutes.

To prepare your horseradish & dill sour cream, combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Set in the refrigerator until serving time.

Next, blanch your sage leaves. Trim away any stems and browned bits from the leaves before proceeding. Bring a small sauce pot of water to a boil, and cook your sage leaves for 20 seconds. Immediately transfer the leaves to an ice bath. Allow to cool completely, then gently wring dry and lay flat on a paper towel to dry completely.

When the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and unwrap. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, and thoroughly flour a workspace. Using a rolling pin, roll ¼ of the dough to a 1/16 inch thickness. Repeat with a second ¼ of the dough. Lay a few of your blanches sage leaves onto one of the sheets, and then lay the second over top, so that the sage leaves are sandwiched between. Using your rolling pin, roll the two dough sheets together, working it gently until it reaches a 1/16 inch thickness again. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Using a 3" cookie cutter (I used a ring from a large mason jar) punch out as many circles from the dough as you can. Lay these aside on a floured sheet of parchment. Remove your filling from the refrigerator. You can fill your pierogis with a spoon or using a piping bag (my preferred method, as it will be neater and easier to handle). Fill each circle of dough with 2 tablespoons of filling, and then gently wet the edge of the wrapper, fold it over, and crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat until all pierogis are made. Chill your pierogis for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

When your pierogis are chilled, remove them from the refrigerator. In a large skillet, heat your 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add a few of your pierogis to the pan, making sure not to crowd them, and brown each pierogi evenly on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer cooked pierogis to a paper towel lined plate to drain, and repeat until all pierogis are cooked. If you prefer not to make all of the pierogis at the same time, raw ones can be frozen for up to 2 months.

When the pierogis are finished, arrange them on your serving tray. Add your butter and hazelnuts to the pan over medium high heat, and cook while stirring constantly until the hazelnuts are toasted and the butter is browned with a nutty fragrance. Stir in any remaining sage leaves at the last moment, and drizzle your pierogis in the hazelnuts and butter. Serve immediately, alongside the horseradish & dill sour cream.


Details about this dish, technique, lore, & correspondences are coming soon! In the meantime, check out the other dishes in this Autumn Equinox feast, and some information on the rituals & significance of this solar holiday.

apple upside down cake with rosehip caramel

bramble scotch

autumn equinox / ritual & lore


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