cookies · Family recipe · on USSR / Russia · sweet · traditional Russian recipe

Rozochki or Cream Cheese Meringue Roses

Rozochki

Unintentionally – but quite justified – I’ve taken a sort of a sabbatical from my writing here. With all the editing of the translations of Turkish (!) soap operas and various documentaries and TV programs, I just seem to be not very fond of computer in the evenings. But let’s do it, let’s open this new year with a revival of an old recipe that our family friend once shared with my mother.

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Who knows how old this recipe actually is but my guess is that it came into our family no later than 1988 – judging from one of the ‘nearby’ recipes in My Mom’s cookbook that has this date next to it. And as you can imagine the recipe is pretty laconic (see the first one at the top of the picture above). Though I would rather call it – lacuna-ic. Just as I did with my Granny’s recipe for Jam-filled Cigars, this Soviet recipe was non the easier in terms of deciphering (or rather guessing) the instructions.

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Before getting our teeth into the soft pastries / cookies, could we pause for a moment to marvel at this powder box from the early 1970s that belonged to my Granny. For no particular reason, just wanted to share with you my fascination for the Soviet ingenuity. Let’s unzip the box…

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…And ho-o-op we find the mirror and the (metal!) protective screen with a tiny lock at its right. The engraved emblem says Leningrad and bears the most recognizable symbol of the city, the Peter and Paul Fortress. And then we turn the screen over…

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…To find yet another protective screen – a gauze one this time that covers powder puff and the powder itself. I remember that I used to play with this box when we were coming or even staying over at our Granny’s – I used to be a fan of all things ‘lady’, imagining myself in the times of Frances Hodgson Burnett‘s stories. The other paraphernalia that played the part in my imaginary life were my Granny’s super-fine gloves, a silk scarf and a straw hat. Oh yes ūüôā

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And now on to the food part – to the rozochki or small roses cookies (sic). The main trick with this recipe was that my mother couldn’t really recall the procedure. The instructions in her cookbook were apparently taken down at the time when they were pretty obvious and the only thing she might need were the exact figures for the ingredients. But since then (God knows when, late 1990s, I guess?) she has not baked these quasi-cookies at all and naturally the recipe has now presented itself as quite a riddle both to her and to me. But we did it, somehow.

Rozochki

1 year ago РBird Cherry Birthday Cake

2 years ago – Peanut Butter Post

3 years ago –¬†How to Make Silky Cream Cheese at¬†Home¬†(that’s what you do when you work from home)

4 years ago –¬†Two Spinach Pies and Spinach‚ĶRice

5 years ago –¬†Rye Malt Bread, Two¬†Versions

6 years ago –¬†2 Energy-Boosting Sweets to Keep Your Mind and Spirit¬†Up

Rozochki or Cream Cheese Meringue Roses adapted from our family friend’s recipe.

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 1-1.5 cups cottage cheese – see remarks below
  • 100-120 g butte, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1-1.5 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch of baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Procedure

First, make the pastry. Mix the cottage cheese with the butter and the two egg yolks, add in the flour. Adjust the amount of flour / cottage cheese in your pastry. It’s ok if the grains of cottage cheese are still visible. The consistency should not be very tough, just enough to be rolled out in some flour. Shape the pastry into a ball, cover and set aside (somewhere cool / cold).

Make the filling by beating the egg whites with the sugar, salt and soda with a hand-held mixer. The desired consistency here is what you would get with the meringue – a sort of a thick spreadable cream. Preheat the oven to 200-210 ‘C.

Now you can either roll out the entire piece of pastry or in parts. Use flour generously to avoid a sticky mess and rerolling. Roll it out into a rather thin rectangle and spread the filling quite generously onto the surface, leaving a margin on the long side (though the filling will start escaping anyway). Start rolling from the long end – gently and not tight – into a log. Cut the log across into as many pieces as you want (roughly two fingers wide) and carefully transfer onto baking paper / mat cut side up. Put your fingers round the bottom part and gently press them so that the upper part opens up into a ‘rose’. Repeat with the rest of the pieces and with the remaining pastry. Space the roses apart as they will puff up and also spread out even more in the oven (so you might want to bake these in two batches). Bake for 12 minutes on the middle rack and then 2 more on the top shelf (for the golden effect). Do not overbake these as they will hard up as they cool down and you don’t want to lose their softness!

Rozochki

Remarks

A few words about the pastry: tvorog or cottage cheese should be quite dry, here the drier the better, so the grainy type will do as well. Mine was 5% fat. The less liquid you have in the pastry, the easier it will be to roll it out (and the less flour you will use).

The original recipe called for 200 g of margarine but it worked out fine with just half of it – and with softened butter, not margarine.

And yes, there’s absolutely no sugar in the pastry! But the super sweet filling plus the juices it creates while baking does the trick. The entire pastry is thus soaked in this juice and becomes sweet too.

The bigger piece of pastry you take for rolling out, the more ‘petals’ (spirals) your roses will have. My first batch resulted in rather small roses (I rolled out smaller pieces) but the second one (featuring in the pictures here) was from a bigger piece of pastry, resulting in something that was more close to the original (as we remember it).

As we couldn’t really recall the procedure, the instructions above might not be the authentic ones but they were clearly the most optimal ones for these roses. The original recipe suggested eating these warm but when they cool down they are perfectly fine.

Rozochki

Result

Very sweet and soft, these cottage cheese and meringue pastries will disappear before the second batch is ready. The combination of the chewy cheese pastry and the super-sweet meringue is addictive. Can constitute a sort of a warm meal for the sweet-toothed as these rozochki are pretty nourishing.

More Soviet recipes are here. And more Soviet paraphernalia in case you are interested is here.

G.

Family recipe · on USSR / Russia · sweet · traditional Russian recipe

Jam Cigars from my Granny’s Recipe Book

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

It’s been a week since my Granny died. A few hours before she actually died while turning my thoughts back to my Babushka I for some reason had a ‘vision’ of those sweet rolled things filled with jelly she used to bake – called sigary, i.e. cigars. I told myself that I would make them too.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

Although in my mind I confused them with somewhat similar dessert – not with jelly but with nuts, I found a copy of the original recipe in my Mother’s recipe book and – a bit taken aback by the sheer… brevity of its instructions – I however ventured on this experiment.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

Can we call it a traditional Russian recipe? Probably not. But this is definitely a Soviet recipe. Soviet recipes has at least three features in common. Firstly, they can have very vague ingredient measurements. Like this phrase ‘put as much flour as the dough will take’ which can mean anything from several glasses (Soviet cooks do not use cups) to a kilo or more.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

Secondly, the procedure itself might be quite elliptical in its explanation. Like… no procedure at all, just the ingredients¬† or something like ‘bake until done’ without any indication of temperature, time or even any instructions on what to do before baking (how come you don’t know what to do if the recipe’s title is ‘cake’?!).

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

Thirdly, the ingenuity with which a Soviet cook would use the ingredients (the choice of which can be quiet scarce and / or striking to begin with) tells you a lot about the Soviet way of life in general.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

The recipe in question is at the very bottom of the page, written by my Granny’s hand. Some of the instructions must have been added later, probably when my Granny’s memory started to fade a bit and she had to resort to more detailed recipes. I will share with you my Mother’s take on this recipe combined with my changes, so this is a true family recipe.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

A year ago РWhole Wheat Biscotti with Chocolate and Pistachios

2 years ago РFinnish Sourdough Flatbread and Cookies with History

3 years ago РGerman, French and Polish Sourdough Bread

4 years ago РWinter Light and Lemon Cake

5 years ago РWinter’s Here. Time for Spicy Rye Bread

6 years ago – Flammekueche

Sigary or Cigars from my Granny’s recipe book

Ingredients

  • 200 g smetana or 15% fat sour cream
  • 180 g butter, melted*
  • 2-2.5 glasses or about 320-350 g flour
  • jelly / jam / confiture of your choice (tangy ones are best)
  • powdered sugar

Procedure

Melt the butter and add in the smetana. Start adding the flour gradually until you get smooth malleable dough. Optional – place your¬† dough covered into the fridge for about half an hour. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 190 ‘C**.

Take a piece roughly the size of a big walnut and start rolling it mostly in one direction so that you get a long strip resembling an oval. The thinner you roll your dough the more layers of it you will get in your cigar. Spread your jam over the dough in a thin layer leaving narrow margin on the edges. If your jam has bits of fruit in it, place a small bit in the middle of the strip. Start rolling the strip starting from the top edge (it’s somewhat easier this way) so that you get … well, a cigar. These cigars won’t spread so you can place them pretty closely on the baking mat but mind that the jam will most certainly leek out (I would suggest using silicon rather than paper – to collect all the jam drippings :).

Bake for about 20 minutes or until your cigars are nicely browned. They become crispy and pretty fragile when they cool down. While they are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. The best here is home-made grounded sugar that will contain some larger bits as well – for a more Soviet-gourmet experience.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

Remarks

As I was making this recipe I had to stop as I realized I didn’t really know what to do once I mixed all the ingredients. So I put the dough into the fridge, a step which was not in the recipe, until my Mother came back home and explained me the procedure. I guess you can omit it or give your dough a short chill anyway. For this recipe I used two types of homemade (Mother-made) jam – plum jam and apple jam – both with large bits of fruit in them. I had to pick out one piece of fruit per a cigar. You see, the dough itself is quite fragile so you probably won’t be able to put in a chunkier jam. My Granny’s side note says that you can add some sugar to the dough but I wouldn’t do that as the jam provides all the sweetness you need.

* I reduced the amount of butter in this recipe – the original recipe actually called for margarine as it was and still is much cheaper than butter.

** We had to experiment with the oven temperature with the first batch. For some reason my Mother thought that these should be baked at a pretty low temperature, so we started somewhere at 120’C and them moved up to almost 200 as the cigars just wouldn’t brown. We baked our second batch at about 190’C for exactly 21 minutes.

Result

Sweet and tangy, crispy but moist too. Such a treat! One of those things I haven’t tasted for years.

Cigars from my Granny's Recipe Book

I intend to make more recipes from my Granny’s recipe book. There are those that with just their taste can bring back so many childhood memories.

And no, I do not smoke and in no way do I promote it!

Adding this post to the Sweet recipe collection.

G.

Family recipe · no-dough · on USSR / Russia · vegetarian

Stove-Baked Potatoes

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

This summer feels like a lingering spring. Though most of June it looked like autumn – isn’t it a bit early to sit in front of the stove yet?! Thanks God, we are having pretty warm days now and are already dying from ‘heat’ (22 ‘C) :). And the White Nights period is still on:

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

Since I’m (again) searching for a job and can move around freely, I’ve spent several days at our dacha, unfortunately dressed in many clothes and trying to warm myself and the house up by feeding the stove with all that paper junk. Among which I found this Geography notebook from 1997:

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

Yes, back then we learnt that Pluto was a full-fledged 9th planet in the Solar system (what a loss!). I remember the teacher gave each pupil a planet’s name and we had to quickly rearrange in the planets’ order. We did the same with the months of the year and I can vividly recall my fear because I didn’t really study the months at home for that lesson! However, nostalgia did not prevent me from eventually throwing this school memorabilia into the dacha stove as well.

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

Heating pechka (brick stove) is almost obligatory even in summer because our house is wooden and poorly isolated. It feels pretty cool inside during hot days which is nice but it cools down a bit too much once the heat is gone (in our case the heat has not been here at all). We used to heat soup or other things using the metal ‘plate’ on top of the stove but you can also cook things inside the stove too.

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

The ‘recipe’ I’m going to share with you today is actually a no recipe at all, it’s just a way of making up a lunch or dinner which requires two main ‘ingredients’: a stove and potatoes ūüôā Ah yes, the third ingredient is that grainy salty salt!

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

My grandparents would bake us some potatoes in the residual heat left over from heating the stove when we spent our school holidays at our dacha. By the way, they constructed the stove themselves back in the 1970s when they were allotted a plot near Sinyavino in the Leningrad region. The dacha era was on!

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

So, backing potatoes in the stove goes like this: you wait till you get burning coal in your stove and then place some potatoes with the skins on (no need to clean them) right inside that coal & cinder mess. Shut the stove door and wait for about 40 minutes to 1 hour. You can check the doneness from time to time (it depends on the amount of heat left and the size of your potatoes) by fishing one of the potatoes out and touching them with your fingers (ouch!). If it feels soft and you can almost squash the potato through with your fingers – the potatoes are done.

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

So grab some salt and peel the potatoes with your fingers, creating mess all around (your face included), gobble them down while they are still hot! The best part is this burnt crispy layer which lies right beneath the skin. The rest is tender and almost sweet. New (baby) potatoes work best here – they are small and so will bake through in less time.

Potatoes Baked in Pechka

If you’re afraid your potatoes will burn too much or in case you prefer a cleaner type of meal, wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil before placing them in the stove. But this won’t be the authentic rough old-school way, you know.

P.S. I’ve tried baking potatoes in a bochka, a metal barrel traditionally placed outside the dacha plot (so that all your neighbors can enjoy the smell), used to burn down all that cannot decompose naturally (according to my Granddad). So I guess anything goes here!

Adding this recipe to Lunch/Dinner collection.

G.

Family recipe · sourdough

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Last weekend I experimented with spelt flour which I had never used before in baking. I drew upon my basic sourdough recipe which I use most of the weekends when baking black bread for my family. I also use it for baking so-called white bread as well. So you can almost call it a family recipe now.

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

I cannot say that the whole-grain spelt flour added in rather small amounts in relation to the bulk of all purpose flour brought in some specific flavour. Also, there was my sourdough culture which is rye.

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

So in the end,  the baguettes had quite a dense crumb with a general whole-grainy look and flavour. But that flavour they had for sure!

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

1 year ago РSpring in St Petersburg. The Beginning
2 years ago РStirato or Italian Baguettes
3 years ago Р2,800 km of Russia Seen from Above
4 years ago РWhat a Peach! Sunny Cake and a Zesty Cranberry Cake
5 years ago РPane al Cioccolato… Senza Cioccolato

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes adapted from basic sourdough bread recipe originally adapted from Darnitsky bread recipe

Ingredients:

For the starter:

  • 1 Tb rye sourdough starter from the fridge
  • 100 g water
  • 100 g rye flour

For the bread:

  • 200-220 g of water
  • 150 g spelt flour
  • 200 g all purpose flour, more if needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pumpkin seeds

Procedure:

Take a tablespoon of sourdough starter from the fridge and mix it with 100 g of water and 100 of rye flour, then leave it overnight.

In the morning when your starter has puffed up, add 200-220 g of water, 150 g spelt flour and 200 g all purpose flour, salt and pumpkin seeds. You should get quite thick though sticky dough so keep adding all purpose flour as needed. You should be able to fold the dough. Leave it covered for more than one hour, making at least one fold in between (if it’s too sticky, use either more flour or water your hands). Now you can either flour a glass bowl or a proofing basket, shape the bread into a round loaf, flour it and place it in the bowl, cover and leave to rise for an hour. Alternatively, you can make baguettes by dividing the dough in two and then folding and rolling each part to create 2 baguettes, place them on paper / baking mat, then cover and leave the shaped dough to rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 225 ‘C with a pan / tray on the bottom to create steam and a reversed tray in the middle (as a sort of baking stone). Reverse the loaf onto a baking mat / paper, make several slashes and slide it onto the hot tray / slash the baguettes diagonally and slide them onto the reversed tray together with the paper. Pour some water into the pan on the bottom to create steam. I usually do not change the temperature but if I see that the loaf is browning too much, I might decrease the temperature or move it to a lower rack. The baking takes from 30-35 minutes for the baguettes to 45-50 for a loaf.

Remarks: I tried hard to shape these baguettes, working the dough quite a lot by folding and rolling and re-rolling, and they puffed up nicely in the oven, also growing quite chewy crust.

Result: Flavourful and chewy. You might not tell at once that they are made with spelt flour but these baguettes are perfect for breakfast. Pumpkin seeds are good too!

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Here pictured with the precious Piave cheese from Italy’s Veneto region:

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

It was a pretty Sunday morning and I took a lot of photos of the baguettes. I also spotted this thingy here which is a projector for silent cinema reels we have of me and my sister. My Mother is being busy converting the films into megabytes of me and my sister doing the pretty mundane things – without a sound ūüôā Yes, sometimes I do feel I was born way earlier than what my passport claims!

Spelt Sourdough Baguettes

Adding this post to my Sourdough Bread collection.

G.

Family recipe · no-dough · vegetarian

Veggie Dishes, Improvised

Yellow Lentils with Bulgur and Cauliflower

Back to food for a change. Two improvised vegetarian recipes I threw in together when I got tired of the usual pasta-rice-buckwheat circle. I’m actually thoroughly enjoying this ‘throwing’ procedure, which allows you to get curious results and varied flavours. It is all very easy and creative, so join in!

A year ago РChasing Alexander Pushkin in Tsarskoye Selo

Two years ago РZucchini and Aubergine Whole Wheat Pizza

Three years ago РMoscow and Courgette Pies

Yellow Lentils with Bulgur and Cauliflower (improvised) will make a fiber & protein-rich vegetarian dish.

Ingredients:

  • cauliflower, broken in florets, if frozen no need to defrost
  • yellow lentils, rinsed
  • bulgur
  • olive oil
  • turmeric
  • chopped herbs such as dill or parsley
  • toasted pumpkin & sesame seeds, optional

Procedure:

Start with heating a deep pan, then throwing in¬†bulgur and adding a splash of olive oil so that the bulgur is ‘moistened’. Don’t let it burn! Then add the¬†cauliflower (frozen is fine), and the yellow lentils. Cover them with water. The moment the water starts simmering, season with salt and add some turmeric. You can either throw in the chopped herbs now or add them later. I usually cover the pan with a lid and add more water if it boils off. Don’t overcook the lot, cause both cauliflower and yellow lentils are quick-cooking buddies! Check the bulgur and if it’s cooked, than the dish is ready. Serve with some toasted pumpkin & sesame seeds, a splash of soya sauce and some white cheese, to taste.

Yellow Lentils with Bulgur and Cauliflower

Remarks: You can adapt this recipe to your own taste buds and hunger. You can adjust the amount of each ingredient according to your preferences. The yellow lentils I was using for this recipe cook very fast and if slightly overcooked become quite mashy. You might want to add them later! Also make sure to add enough salt, this dish might get a bit bland without the extra soy sauce. Next time I would add some chopped onion as well.

Result: Yellow and quite unusual! The turmeric adds just a tiny bit of spiciness (try curry instead), the bulgur remains crunchy while the cauliflower and lentils are soft.

By the way, if you’re not sure what bulgur is (I learnt about it for the first time in Strasbourg and since then it has entered our family cooking) and what benefits it might have, here’s what you read on Wikipedia: ‘Compared to unenriched white rice, bulgur has more fiber and protein, a lower glycemic index, and higher levels of most vitamins and minerals’. Sounds pretty impressive!

***

When I think of aubergines I most often immediately think of garlic. This is such a traditional combination for our family that it just comes naturally. Mom used to fry aubergines with crushed garlic and this fragrant duet is solidly engraved in my mind. As these superbly coloured eggplants or aubergines are in season now, I’m carpe-diem-ing them a lot in my cooking ūüôā

Garlicky Aubergine Rolls with Cheese and Olives

Garlicky Aubergine Rolls with Cheese and Olives (improvised) will make salty and zesty rolls with melt-in-your-mouth cheese inside. The preparation requires some time.

Ingredients:

  • aubergines, preferably long
  • soft white cheese such as Adygea, Feta or farmer’s cheese, sliced
  • olives, sliced
  • some hard cheese
  • garlic, minced or crushed, to taste
  • olive oil
  • dried oregano (or any other herb)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • sesame seeds

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 180 ‘C. Grease a large baking sheet. Wash, clean and slice the aubergines – you will need long slices for the rolls but the short bits are ok too – these will also go in. In a small bowl combine some olive oil, dried oregano, coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, plus¬†minced or crushed garlic (if you’re not sure about the amounts for this mixture, make it small for starters, you can always make more!). Rub this mixture (or brush it over) into the aubergine slices – I left one side clean and so placed the aubergines clean side down onto the baking sheet. Bake the aubergines until they get quite soft but not burning! Just peep in from time to time. Meanwhile you can slice your cheese and olives. When the veggies are ready, take them out of the oven and cool slightly. Places cheese and then olive slices on each aubergine slice, season (if your cheese is not very salty already) and roll from the short side (the bits too small to roll can just be made into ‘towers’ of cheese and olives). Don’t worry if they naughtily unroll – just tuck the ends under the rolls and push the rolls close together. This will also facilitate the next step: grating some hard cheese over, sprinkling with oregano and sesame seeds. You now need to reheat them and make the cheese melt, that’s all – so you can place the sheet back into the oven onto the highest rack. Be careful not to burn them!

Garlicky Aubergine Rolls with Cheese and Olives

Remarks: I’ve repeated this recipe without rubbing in / brushing with the oil + herb mixture, just splashing some oil over the sliced aubergines and then baking them. The result was less interesting from the first super-garlicky variant. Also the second time the quality of the cheese was better and I also grated it on top but I was quite careless to let the rolls overcook and the smallest of them became hard.¬†

Result: Garlicky! And cheesy. The aubergine flesh is very soft while the skin is crunchy (sounds pretty carnivorous, doesn’t it?). Perfect as appetizers – I can imagine piercing them with a toothpick to make them into snacks.

Enjoy!

Adding these to my lunch / dinner recipe collection.

G.

British recipe · Family recipe · pies · sweet

My Friend’s Granny’s Grated Pie and Apple Pudding

My Friend's Granny's "Grated" Pie

My friend’s Granny’s “Grated” Pie was what I was thinking of for quite some time. It’s one of those recipes that travelled from my friend’s family to my own. I do not make it often these days, though. But this recipe is hand-written in my thick recipe book, the one I started long before I became obsessed with baking. And you know well that you can trust those hand-written recipes passed on to you from Grannies!

My Friend's Granny's "Grated" Pie

I remember when we first made it at our dacha (the friend I’m talking about is my childhood friend whose family had their summer house across the road). We couldn’t wait for the pies to be ready! : ) Well, time passes (how many years since then? 9? more?) but I still can’t wait!

My Friend's Granny's "Grated" Pie

I’m not sure about the origin of this recipe (as is with so many family recipes) but it was dictated to us from memory. So I suppose that this pie was enjoyed during the Soviet times as well as it is now. Let’s make this recipe live!

A year ago ‚Äď Caucasian Cheese Pie and Some Winter¬†Reflections

Two years ago ‚Äď Petite Alsace and Petits¬†Pains

Three years ago ‚Äď 2 Breads with¬†Poolish

My Friend’s Granny’s “Grated” Pie adapted from a family recipe and translated for you. It will make that very pie which can only result from a hand-written recipe (and even better – known by heart!). Although the recipe uses Soviet glasses, you can use cups with no problem. See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 glass of sugar – add less if your filling is very sweet
  • 250 g of margarine – this never happens with me these days : ) I used much less butter mixed with sunflower seed oil
  • 3-5 glasses of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • some vinegar – a true Soviet housewife would use plain vinegar, but you can try milder variants
  • jam, fruit, … for the filling – the most typical would be jam, though. Mine was chunky apple jam + cinnamon

Procedure:

  1. First, beat eggs with sugar until white foam creates (yes, with your hand only!) then add softened margarine (butter) and mix well. Add a glass of flour. Then ‘extinguish’ the soda with vinegar by carefully pouring a very small amount of vinegar over a tablespoon with soda. The thing – not the tablespoon of course! – will make lots of pshhhhh noises, drop it directly into the pastry. This procedure is still used in Russia and a baking person would understand ‘extinguish the soda’ without explanation. Mix everything together. Add 2 to 4 glasses of flour (this time I needed just 2 more as I added much less butter) and mix well until the dough doesn’t stick to the tablespoon.
  2. Turn the pastry onto a surface and divide in two equal parts (although if you’re making a super-huge pie, you should work with the entire amount of the pastry). Shape each part as a thick log and then flatten it into a rectangle. Divide each rectangle into three equal parts. Join together two parts. Now you’ll have a big piece of pastry and a smaller one. Repeat with the second rectangle. Wrap the smaller pieces separately in plastic foil and put in the freezer for one hour. Chill the two bigger pieces in the fridge (wrap them too).
  3. Roll out the big pieces to the size of your pan – they will make the base for the pie (as I decreased the amount of butter, my pastry wouldn’t roll out nicely, so I just pressed it into the pan). You can use a round pan or a medium rectangular baking sheet (for a bigger and flatter pie). Grease the pan and transfer the pastry to the bottom, making borders so that the filling won’t escape. Place the filling on to the pastry. Take a smaller piece of pastry that has now become quite solid in the freezer and grate it on top of the filling, distributing the pastry all over the top (and that’s why it’s called grated!).
  4. Bake at 180’C for about 30 minutes until crust is created.

My Friend's Granny's "Grated" Pie

Remarks: This is after all a Soviet recipe and a family recipe – it is flexible and… makes 2 large pies. If you are not necessarily planning to have a family reunion soon, you might prefer to make just half of the pastry recipe. Use any jam leftovers, raw fruit with sugar and spices or virtually any sweet filling. I think it will survive even a rather runny filling!

My Friend's Granny's "Grated" Pie

Result: Time-proved, family-loved and tasty. And they do not stick to the pan as it’s with many jam pies I’ve tried! Be careful with the sugar (try to balance the filling and the amount of sugar you add to the pastry) and the rest will work out swimmingly! And do make two pies, cause these Granny’s treats tend to disappear much quicker than you might think…

My Friend's Granny's "Grated" Pie

You will be absolutely right if you think we’re not yet done with our apple harvest. ABSOLUTELY right! But we’re making our way towards it. Yes, in late January of the consequent year! O_o The first recipe I shared with you did not help us much with the boxes and piles and bags of raw apples but it did finish a large jar of apple jam that was in great need of using up. And here is yet another of those recipes that helped us with that ūüôā A British one.

Cinnamon apple pecan pudding from www.bbcgoodfood.com

Cinnamon Apple Pecan Hazelnut Pudding adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com will make not much of a pudding but rather and apple cake with toasted nuts on top. And surprisingly for BBC Good Food, there’s not that much butter in it! Here are just my changes:

  Рinstead of xylitol I used plain sugar

 Рadded lots of small apples instead of using one (mysterious to me) 280g Bramley apple

 Рtopped the cake with whole hazelnuts instead of pecans

Result: A very quick and easy recipe (minus the time spent on dicing and grating the apple, omit the peeling part!), just what I needed. The apple pile got a bit smaller with a tasty cake! Whole nuts on top are a nice idea – they get super-toasted that way.

Adding these two to both my Apple and Sweet recipe collections. And to Leftovers!

G.

Family recipe · sweet · sweet bread

Sugary Knots from My Babushka’s Recipe

Sugary Knots by My Babushka

Let me share with you a perfect winter recipe from our family kitchen! This melting sugar in the oven and the aroma of the rich yeast dough baking in the oven reminds me of the days during winter holidays when we went on skiing with my Granddad. Coming back tired but excited, we would always find our babushka (Granny) making something tasty for us – most of all we enjoyed the warm sugary buns, served with tea in the dim lit kitchen.

Sugary Knots by My Babushka

These buns have also played their role in my baking ‘career’ – they were that very recipe which turned me into an almost non-stop baker in January 2009. We actually call them figushki in my family as these rolls remind us of a the figa gesture (try sticking your thumb between the index and the third finger, bending them over) which is actually used when you want to communicate ‘never in this life’ or ‘nothing’. Not a very polite gesture after all =)

Sugary Knots by My Babushka

A year ago РWinter Light and Lemon Cake

Two years ago РApples and Looking Back over My Shoulder

Three years ago РBirthday Mega Torte and Lots of Flowers

My Babushka’s Sugary Knots – recipe translated and adapted from the family recipe. Will make a dozen of moderately to over-sweet rich dough rolls with cinnamon, if you wish! See my remarks in italics.

Ingredients

For the dough – for lots of buns (make half of the recipe for one baking sheet)

  • 0.5 ml milk – I made a mixture of hot water and milk
  • about 70 g margarine – I used butter
  • 50 g fresh yeast
  • about 1 kg of flour – I tried adding some oat bran and cardamom for a change
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • salt

For the filling

  • melted butter
  • sugar – the amount depends on your sweet tooth =) You can also try brown sugar
  • cinnamon – this is my addition, the original recipe has only butter and sugar

Procedure

Make the dough: Boil the milk and melt margarine (butter) in the milk and leave to cool down. Then melt the fresh yeast in the mixture. Add sugar, eggs and salt. (I usually take some hot water, melt their the butter, then add milk and yeast. After some minutes I add the rest of the ingredients). Start adding flour (Soviet recipes never give you the exact amount, so beware!) till you get a rather soft dough. Leave it to rise in a warm place, covered. When it rises, knock it down. Repeat one more time (with this amount of yeast, the dough will rise quickly. I usually decrease the amount of yeast but the dough still rises fast.).

Make the buns: Prepare your working surface: A surface dusted with flour, a rolling pin, a bowl with melted butter and a brush, a bowl with cinnamon + sugar (or just sugar). Take a small amount of dough, about the size of a tangerine, and roll out it rather thinly into an oval. Brush the oval with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon + sugar (about a tablespoon per bun but adjust the amount to your liking) and start rolling the bun from the shorter edge. When you get a rope-like roll, twist it into a knot and place on the baking sheet (I line it with paper as the sugar oozes out and creates puddles of caramel quite hard to remove). Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake in the preheated to 180 ‘C oven for about 17 minutes. If you want your buns crusty, brush them with milk before baking and also move them to the upper rack for a minute or so.

Sugary Knots by My Babushka

Remarks: Try making just a half of the dough first, which will make enough buns to fit on one baking sheet (about a dozen). As well as the sweetness and the type of spices in the filling, you can also adjust the size of these buns, increasing the baking time accordingly.¬† I tried baking these at my Granny’s place recently in her Soviet oven. The buns turned out really crusty with a sugary top (I brushed the top with buttermilk and sprinkled some sugar)!

Sugary Knots by My Babushka

Results: The trick of these knots is in the sugar melting in the oven… The ultimate comforting aroma for the long winter evenings! Try not to overbake these buns and they will make you love your winter!

Adding these knots to Russian/Soviet recipes.

G.