Kulebyaka or Coulibiac is an authentic Russian hot pie, which has an oblong shape and features several fillings.
The word became from old Russian verb – ‘kulebyachit’, that means to make with hands, to shape, to bend and to knead.
Pies are always have been loved in Russia. Even famous Russian writers as N.Gogol and A.Turgenev glorified pies in their works. Various pies were always made for every holiday and festival, though it was posh royal celebration or small peasant occasion. Large pies stuffed with several ingredients were really popular, they were baked on Butterweek and Easter and served in taverns and small tea-houses, where each owner had a special recipe and baked very individual pies, different from anyone else’s, i.e. opened and closed pies, feature simple (potatoes or cabbage) or complicated (sturgeon with buckwheat) filling.
Only in the 17th century, the grand oblong pie, that features several fillings, was named ‘kulebyaka’. The pastry shell was usually made from the yeast dough (the recipe is below). The main distinction of the kulebyaka-pie from any other Russian pie is that the quantity of the filling should be two or three times exceeds the quantity of the pastry; the filling of grand (festive) kulebyaka is usually complicated and separated with thin pancakes.
The most popular fillings are salmon with buckwheat, ground meat with boiled eggs and rice, cabbage with mushrooms and onions, or visiga – a spinal marrow of the sturgeon, the last one is the unusual ingredient for nowadays, but in the 17-18th centuries it was very common.
In the 19th century, French chefs, who had worked in Russia, brought the recipe to France and adapted it to the modern cookery, thus the kulebyaka became popular pie not only in Russia. 🙂
Here is my version of the festival kulebyaka.
Kulebyaka - Russian pie
The yeast dough:
3tsp/5g instant dry yeast
100ml warm milk (or warm water)
2tsp white sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp salt
200ml milk (or water), at room temperature
100g butter, melted
~600g all-purpose/plain/white flour
- In a cup, stir warm milk, sugar and yeast together. Let stand until foamy about 10 minutes.
- In a big bowl, crack eggs, add sugar, salt, milk, melted butter and stir together. Add sifted flour, yeast mixture and knead the dough until it’s smooth.
- Cover the bowl with wet cloth, put in a warm place and leave to rise for 1 hour. After the time, knead the dough again. Repeat this step one more time.
The quantity of dough is enough for kulebyaka and one big pizza.
600g fresh salmon, cut into small cubes
100g basmati or jasmine rice, cooked
200g mushrooms, sliced and fried
1 big onion, sliced and fried
4 eggs, cooked and chopped
2+2 Tbsp finely chopped dill and parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
The pancakes’ recipe you can find here. You can reduce the pancakes’ batter by half, because you need approximately 9 pancakes.
1 egg yolk beaten with 2Tbsp milk, 1/2tsp salt and 1/2tsp sugar
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 26cm*35cm rectangular and 6mm thick. You can roll the dough on a piece of baking parchement, thus it’ll be much easier to transfer the pie on a baking tray; moreover, you need to turn the pie upside down-the sealing should be on the bottom.
- Coat the rolled dough with the pancakes.
- Place the egg and herbs mixture lengthways down the centre of the dough.
- Then arrange the mushrooms and onion mixture on top.
- Next, arrange rice. And the last layer-salmon.
- Cover the filling with pancakes, shape it to make a rectangular.
- Then, fold the dough and seal the edges.
- Transfer the pie upside down to a baking tray.
- Decorate with pastry trimmings, and cut two slits in the top with a sharp knife.
- Keep for a proofing for 20 minutes. Brush the pie with egg wash.
- Bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
- Leave to cool slightly for 15 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with a glass of milk or a cup of freshly brewed tea.
Enjoy kulebyaka! 😀
Also I’m really excited to take part in the challenge “yeast and herbs”, that Angie organized with Catherine. I almost thought to give up, because I’m using yeast very-very rare in baking, finally after many days of brain storm it dawned on me that I already baked one awesome pie, so I came up with this recipe. It only seems complicated to make, just try it once and you will see that ‘kulebyaka’ is drool worthy dish! 😀
Moreover, are you parting at Fiesta Friday? Don’t ask me, because I do and now gonna check some great recipes, which have brought participants. Yay!