Tags: food
Grandmother's pie

So, the time has come for dessert!

Sweet foods in Russia can be served as the third course at lunch, as sweets to serve with tea, or as a separate dish (especially if they include pastries like pies or pancakes). There weren’t a lot of sweet foods in Rus’. They were mainly baked foods, honey, fruits and berries.
Pancakes – A traditional Russian treat. Until today, it is still considered a tradition to make and eat them on the boisterous holiday of Maslenitsa. People also prepare them routinely for breakfast or dinner.  The pancake is a symbol of the sun, which Russian people miss so much in winter. It is a flat cake made from yeast-fermented, unleavened, or sour-milk dough. It is pan-fried on both sides or sometimes fried in a wood-fire oven. There are so many pancake recipes! Wheat, buckwheat, rye or pea flour, thick or thin, texturized or plain - suited to every palette! Pancakes are served with butter, sour cream, jam, fish, eggs... in a word – whatever you would like to have with them. They prepare pancakes with meat, cheese or fruit filling. Such pancakes are fried on only one side, then the filling is wrapped in it, and then the pancake is fried on the other side.

Olad’i – A sweeter variation of pancakes. They are smaller and thicker.

Syrniki (tvorozhniki) – Fried flat bread (olad’i) made from yogurt cheese with eggs and flour. They are pan-fried or baked in various ways.

Pies – One of the most famous dishes from Russian cuisine. It is with pies that Russian Babyshkas™ welcome guests on holidays. Their children and grandchildren are now mastering the art of making pies, little by little. The house where it smells of pies is a happy house. Pies are prepared from yeast: fermented or unleavened, laminated and cookie dough; with all kinds of fillings from fruits, berries, cabbage, jam, fish and meat. Pies with fish and cabbage are called kulebyaka.

Famous Baidakovsky pie, which was prepared in Testov’s Inn in the old days, was made as a 12-layer kulebyaka with 12 fillings – from cabbage to burbot’s liver with onion.

Nowadays, hardly anybody uses such large-scale recipes. But you can taste incredibly delicious pies, buns and kulebyakas at parties or in large restaurants and cafes that specialize on pies, so-called pirogovaya.

However, sweet foods in Rus’ had never been notorious for their diversity. Basically, it was, as mentioned above, pastry, honey, jams, fruits and berries, and later - fruit and berry pastes.

Now, any shop and café displays different cakes, pâtisseries, chocolates and other sweets. Cakes, both homemade and store-bought, and chocolates of reliable brands are highly valued at any table.

Marshmallows, fruit and berry pastes, and cranberries in powdered sugar are also used as sweets for tea. Particular attention should be paid to the bright sour cranberries in powdered sugar - you can hardly find them anywhere else.

Gingerbread is now manufactured in different forms, tastes and sizes with all kinds of filling. Honey, chocolate, ginger, mint… the best imprinted gingerbreads are still made in Tula.

Speaking of honey… Since ancient times, honey has been used instead of sugar, which, obviously, is much healthier for your body (unless you are allergic to it). Russian honey is a good gift. Heather, thistle, lime tree, buckwheat honey… it’s impossible to name all of the varieties. It is still used to prepare medovukha, a low-alcoholic drink made from water and honey with the addition of yeast. The most famous today is Suzdal medovukha. As for honey, Bashkir honey is good, and the most valuable are the Altai and Taiga varieties.