The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 21, 2014

Bottle Works cooks up pre-Easter classes

Tom Lavis

JOHNSTOWN — Making dough for nut rolls, pierogi or Pasha bread is time-consuming, but students won’t “knead“ to wait to witness results during upcoming baking classes at Bottle Works in Cambria City.

Designed to encourage people to expand some of their Easter cooking ideas, hands-on classes conducted by three area women will take the guesswork out of baking.

Each person will be able to participate in the recipe sharing and tasting of these holiday treats.

The sessions will be conducted in the Bottle Works kitchen and class sizes will be limited to 12 to 15 people.

Teena Petrus of Westmont will lead a pierogi-making class from 10 a.m. to noon March 22.

Rosemary Pawlowski of Westmont will guide participants in making nut rolls from 10 a.m. to noon March 29.

Tina Repak Mirilovich of Lower Yoder Township will offer a class on traditional Paska bread and German onion pie from 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 2.

Petrus and Mirilovich are contributing field editors for Taste of Home magazine.

“There’s nothing more dear to people’s hearts in this region than pierogies,” Petras said. “But they are quite labor intensive and can mess up a kitchen.”

That’s why she prefers to make large batches, typically enough for three meals.

“I make enough to enjoy fresh that day and freeze the others,” she said. “They keep well.”

Petras will have dough premade in order to cut preparation time; however, each student will be rolling out the dough.

“Pierogi dough is a little more chewy than ravioli dough, and I will show them how seal them,” she said.

Petras prefers a class of about 14 to make it manageable.

“Everyone is going to get their hands dirty because that’s the best way to learn,” she said. “We will make the basic potato-filled pierogi but I want to encourage them to try different fillings like prune or various cheeses.”

Dough also is key in making nut rolls, and Pawlowski will prepare some early.

“It takes the dough about two hours to rise, so we will eliminate that step,” she said. “We will make the nut filling using ground walnuts, butter and sugar to make a sweet mix.”

Pawlowski said fresh homemade nut roll is hard to beat.

“This recipe is for those people who like a thin crust and lots of nuts,” she said.

Pawlowski will make as many as 20 nut rolls in order for people to take some home.

“We want people to bring a pan so they can take two rolls home to bake,” she said. “We guarantee the participants instant popularity once people eat them.”

Participants also will learn how to  use a variety of tempting fillings.

Mirilovich said the Bottle Works is an ideal setting given the popularity of ethnic dishes.

The crust of her German onion pie is slightly sweet with the consistency of pizza dough.

“I then top it with sauteed onions, bacon and some sour cream,” she said.  

Following the class, participants will be able to taste test the finished product.

“That’s the best part,” Mirilovich said.

Pawlowski said cooking classes remain popular at Bottle Works.

“Watching cooking shows on television is enjoyable, but it’s so much better when something is right in front of you and you can put your hands in it,” Pawlowski said. “We also plan to expand our children’s cooking classes, which have proven to be successful and enjoyable for everyone concerned.”

Cost of each class is $25 for nonmembers and $22.50 for Bottle Works members.

Because space is limited, early registration is recommended by calling 536-5399.

Baking basics

The following classes are being offered prior to Easter at the Bottle Works, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown:

March 22: Pierogi-making, from 10 a.m. to noon, with instructor Teena Petrus of Westmont.

March 29: Making nut rolls, from 10 a.m. to noon, with instructor Rosemary Pawlowski of Westmont.

April 2: Making Paska bread and German onion pie, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with instructor Tina Repak Mirilovich of Lower Yoder Township.

Tom Lavis covers Features for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on LavisTD.