Whether from a street vendor during the Tastefest or in Eastern Market,* or a package of homemade ones from the Polish Market, pierogis are both a quintessential comfort food as well as a popular ethnic food in Detroit. Brought by Polish immigrants to Hamtramck, those potato-filled treats evoke so many memories: frying store-bought ones with my friends to hanging out at summer festivals. When I lived in Hamtramck, within easy walking distant of freshly made pierogis, I fell in love more, topping mine with both pico de gallo and homemade sour cream from Honeybee Market.
Sadly, those little bundles of delicious fried comfort fell off the menu when I went gluten-free. And then I discovered how regional they are: while gluten-free ravioli and even gnocchi are easy to find, I had no luck with finding the Polish dumplings. My own pierogi attempt didn’t work out, and I even struck out while I was in Poland.
Enter: Old World Gluten-Free. Based in St. Clair Shores, I’m delighted that a fellow pierogi lover realized the void that going gluten-free can leave. Their pierogis are brilliant— tasty, filling, and bringing back all the memories and comfort that good pierogi should. Bonus: the main flour used in the dough is garbanzo bean flour.
I tried two kinds, one sweet and one savory. The savory was potato and cheddar cheese— and oh, these are perfect. Savory and simple, you can taste the cheese and rich potato flavor. Even better, the gluten-free dough holds up great when boiled and crisps up beautifully when fried. And the flavor takes me back to dinners in Hamtramck, the flavor of the dough is spot-on. And they’re a good size, too— proper pierogi sized, not smallish, as so many gluten-free products tend to be.
The sweet cheese ones were tasty as well— a soft, gentle, sweet flavor. I fried mine in butter with a touch of sugar— and they’re great with a dusting of cinnamon.
One suggestion: make sure to boil them first, as they can be a bit dry otherwise. (I tried just defrosting and frying some of the sweet cheese ones.)
My only wish? That you could buy them at more places. (Here’s the list of stores they are available at.)
Also, they are on the pricy side— and while the ingredients and quality are worth it, it does make me wish gluten-free foods were more affordable. But the price is worth it to have pierogis on my plate again.
*Yup, I know I’m dating myself by mentioning the Tastefest.