Secret Home Operation: Baba’s Perogies
Last visited: March 10, 2012
Area: Burnaby, BC (North Burnaby)
Address: Secret home address
Price range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Home made perogies
- Home business
- Traditional/modern varieties
- Extensive menu
- Dessert options
- Frozen to-go
- To-go/pick-up only
- Delivery possible
- Cash only
- E-mail to order: Orders@babasperogies.ca
**Recommendations: Potato & Cheddar Pierogi and Bacon, Cabbage & Onion Pierogi. The Pulled Pork perogies have potential and are unique, but are still in developing stages.
Who doesn’t love a secret? When it comes to food I get really excited about hidden gems, secret locations and insider tips regarding the food scene. Baba’s Perogies is not intentionality a secret, but the owner and pierogi maker Ali is just starting out. She has discovered her passion. She has discovered her fate. And it’s with the pierogi!
I feel it’s necessary to share her story and how this all came to be. It all started with a life changing accident that took place at her previous job. The accident was serious and it meant taking an indefinite leave of absence to properly recover from severe injuries. Being the active person she is, it was agony being at home. Having to find other ways to be productive with her time Ali began to invest heavily into making her Baba’s (Grandma in Ukrainian) perogies. And from here on, the rest is history… but the home made pierogi business is now her future.
When I say “home made”, I really mean it. Ali is pumping these perogies out two at a time with her very expensive pierogi maker. She’s tried many techniques and pierogi kitchen gadgets in the past, but so far this machine is what’s working for her. From hand kneading and rolling the dough, to making the fillings and packaging them up in Ziploc bags, this is just about the most “home business” a cook can get. The business literally operates from home and if you want to try these perogies you’re either going to have to pick them up at her house, or pay for the delivery charge.
So how did I discover Baba’s Perogies? Easy. It all started with Twitter and the words “Pulled Pork Perogies”. I’m a huge fan of pulled pork and I also really like perogies, but having the two combined was something unheard of. Needless to say I was curious and exited to try this modern day pierogi.
Ali actually invited me to try her perogies and was looking for honest feedback. She made the “mistake” of asking me if I wanted to try just the pulled pork or all of them. I was charmed by her innocence and had to bite my lip from bursting into laughter. So 16 perogies later (had some extras) I had a solid sample and taste of the full menu. I mean how else can I determine what I liked and give proper feedback?
The perogies were actually pretty good and I did appreciate all the traditional and modern fillings. She’s doing something different and she has heart. I do think a smaller menu with solid perogies would be better than having a large menu with some hit and miss ones though. At least they’re frozen so it’s easier to manage quality, but some of the fillings could use some refining and there were some issues in consistency. The business is still in the very early stages and I think there’s room for improvement.
The recipes are inspired by Ali’s Ukrainian grandma (Baba), but Ali has altered them to her style. I was most impressed with the ultra thin skins and soft tender dough; but when I purchased a pack to bring home, some of the skins broke during the cooking process. You have to gently boil them for 4-5 minutes and keep a close eye on them. The perogies have a lot of potential and I would say some are still in their developing stages, but I’m confident they’re on their way up because of Ali’s passion and drive to pay tribute to her Baba.
On the table:
Potato & Cheddar Pierogi - It’s the original and the best seller made with Russet Potatoes and sharp cheddar cheese. Again, the skins are very thin, soft and tender and they only gently boil for 4-5 minutes, so you have to watch them carefully. I really enjoyed these ones and felt confident in her recipe, but the skins are really delicate and fragile. Once the skins break and water seeps in, the filling will obviously be watered down and bland.
Jalapeño Garlic Potato & Cream Cheese Pierogi - It’s not spicy, but there is heat. There’s no crunch of jalapeños, but the heat is gradual and most if not all of the seeds (which is the hot part) were removed.
Dry Cottage Cheese, Bacon & Dill Pierogi - I actually couldn’t taste the dill and the dry cottage cheese was almost like cheese curds so I did miss the creamier texture and this was more of a chunkier filling.
Bacon, Cabbage & Onion Pierogi - The authentic Ukrainian pierogi would normally be made with sauerkraut so this was similar except not pickled and just sauteed. I actually liked this one the best, but you have to like sauteed cabbage and sauerkraut to start. Traditional Ukrainians would probably go for this one and it happens to be one of the favourites for Ali’s Baba too.
Mushrooms & Onion Pierogi - This ended up being pretty sweet since the onions and mushrooms caramelized. I think I was expecting a variety of wild mushrooms, but it was just brown mushrooms. This is apples and oranges, but if you like mushroom dumplings I also recommend the Steamed Mushroom Dumpling at Jade Seafood Restaurant.
Breakfast “The Hangover Cure” Pierogi - This is part of her gourmet line and I’ve actually had them once in Calgary before at a Ukrainian place. It’s not traditional, but they’re fun. I found the eggs a bit crumbly and the filling slightly drier since the eggs are pre scrambled before being stuffed, and then the perogies are boiled and fried before serving. It had some bacon, sausage and cheese in it, but I couldn’t taste the cheese and it was more or less a breakfast scramble in a pierogi. This was good with salsa.
Pulled Pork, Bacon, Onion & Cheese Pierogi - This was what started it all. The one we’ve all been waiting for… except vegetarians… and people who don’t eat pork. I think I had high expectations because I found the pulled pork just okay. It was also sauteed with some cole slaw, onions and bacon, but I think the recipe could use more experimenting. The concept was fun and they were good, but they could be even better. I actually ended up putting Ali in contact with the boys from Hog Shack Cook House in Richmond, BC so hopefully we can expect Pulled Pork Pierogies 2.0 soon!
Blackberry Pierogi - I was expecting a blackberry jam or compote filling, but it was just one whole blackberry. I’ve had authentic sour cherry versions of these fruit perogies before and they were made the same way, so it is quite traditional to make them like this. Traditionally, Cherry Vareniki or Sour Cherry perogies are sprinkled with sugar or eaten with sour cream.
Peanut Butter, Banana, Chocolate & Pecan Pierogi - In this case I think a little less is more. The chocolate was a bit thin and I could use more of a pecan crunch. It just seemed like chocolate chips and one whole pecan so the recipe could probably use some work although they weren’t bad.