Kulebyaka – Russian pie

 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.Festive&Delicious Kulebyaka by milkandbun
  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. 🙂Beautiful Kulebyaka/Milkandbun
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
  1. In a cup, stir warm milk, sugar and yeast together. Let stand until foamy about 10 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
The filling:
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.
The glaze:
1 egg yolk beaten with 2Tbsp milk, 1/2tsp salt and 1/2tsp sugar
  1. 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.
  2. Coat the rolled dough with the pancakes.
  3. Place the egg and herbs mixture lengthways down the centre of the dough.
  4. Then arrange the mushrooms and onion mixture on top.
  5. Next, arrange rice. And the last layer-salmon.
  6. Cover the filling with pancakes, shape it to make a rectangular.
  7. Then, fold the dough and seal the edges.
  8. Transfer the pie upside down to a baking tray.
  9. Decorate with pastry trimmings, and cut two slits in the top with a sharp knife.
  10. Keep for a proofing for 20 minutes. Brush the pie with egg wash.
  11. Bake in preheated 200C/400F oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
  12. Leave to cool slightly for 15 minutes before slicing.
  13. 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!


  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #17 | The Novice Gardener

  2. Pingback: Fiesta Friday Challenge #1 | The Novice Gardener

  3. Hilda says:

    I love your version of kulebyaka. I used to buy it from a wonderful bakery in St. Petersburg, but never had a good recipe for it myself, so thanks for this one. And I love the traditional pastry decorations – I will have to give that a try too, otherwise it just won’t taste the same.

    • milkandbun says:

      Thank you for the commenting, Hilda! You can decorate the pie with small fishes also 🙂 When have you been to Russia? and which cities did you visit?

  4. Ngan R. says:

    Wow! This is amazing and hands down one of the most beautiful “pies” I have ever seen. The filling looks so appetizing and the technique is so unique (especially using the buckwheat pancakes for the inner wrapper). Love your creativity and presentation. Can I put in my order now? 🙂

  5. chef mimi says:

    WOW! That is gorgeous! My mother used to make it, but it was just a salmon wrapped in dough and baked. But she was an artist, and cook make the dough look like an actual fish – scales and all. Which is why I’ve always shied away from making one. But this is incredible with all the layers. And you use crepes like you do in beef Wellington! Fabulous!!! I’m so impressed.

    • milkandbun says:

      Thank you very much! I’m flattered by your words! And don’t be scared to try it, it’s not the difficult recipe-I swear! 🙂 Even I succeeded in my first attempt to make it, so you should try it.
      And about the pie’s shape, of course, you can make it looks like a fish or decorate with small fishes. 😀

  6. Stunning Mila! Interesting backstory too – I seem to remember something similar called Salmon Coulbiac in Canada where there is a very rich heritage of French and Eastern European cooking…Your tutorial photos are so helpful too. This is one beautiful looking dish and I am very pleased that you brought these to both the parties!

  7. Francesca says:

    Mila, I’m speechless! The pie is simply gorgeous! I love the history behind the dish too! I’m fascinated by the Russian culture and literature. Your pie is so special that I can see it served during one of the banquets of Tolstoy’s balls. Maybe the one where Madame Karenina and Count Vronsky fell in love? 😉

  8. birgerbird says:

    You’ve won me over again with this pie. Beautiful details on the finished product. It actually doesn’t look that hard to make, either. . . . as a matter of fact the dough is so similar to the donut recipe I just made (milk); main difference being, obviously, you don’t deep fry that giant beauty. If you did I’m afraid you would have quite a mess on your hands! Lovely recipe, I saved it. I think it would be a great dish for entertaining with a salad, because you can make somewhat in advance and it is a complete meal in one slice, along with maybe a salad.

    • milkandbun says:

      Yes, Sue, it’s easy (especially for such a good cooker as you) and so tasty recipe. Neither decoration nor pie I deep fried, just put the pie straight into the oven and bake.
      Also, you can keep the remaining part of the pie in a fridge for 2-3 days, and then reheat it; but nothing can be compared with freshly-baked kulebyaka. 🙂

  9. I love your kulebyaka! It is so elegant! I made this once, but the recipe was not as nice as yours… The salmon was cooked before being added to the pie, and they were no pancakes… Your version is very beautiful with the addition of flowers 🙂

    • milkandbun says:

      Thank you very much, Catherine! 🙂 I made this pie with precooked salmon too, but the filling was not that moist, so I prefer to add the raw salmon.

  10. Your pie looks amazing! And I love the floral pastry cuttings. As for the pancakes I’ve never heard of that before. But then, I’ve never made a pie before!

  11. Pingback: Fiesta Friday Challenge #1 Results | The Novice Gardener

  12. Mila, Catherine and I are pleased to inform you that your entry has been selected as the First Place winner in the Fiesta Friday Challenge #1. Congratulations! Please send me your postal address so our sponsor can send you your prize.

    • milkandbun says:

      Thank you so much for everything! Both you and Catherine are wonderful bloggers, and I learn a lot from you! Needless to say, about mysterious and generous sponsor – a big thank you for the great prize!
      It’s been the happiest morning! 😀
      Angie, I’ll send you my address during this day.

  13. DetoxMama says:

    This is so stunningly beautiful, looks delicious and your post was really interesting. Loved the history!

  14. Loretta says:

    Congratulations Mila, we surely learn a lot on this site don’t we? Thanks for introducing us to that wonderful creation that you baked and also the history behind it. It has wowed everyone I know. Just fabulous!

  15. Would you believe I have seen a kulebyaka made on Indian television, when I was still in school? It was made with strands of pastry braided together with some yummy filling inside & I remember thinkin g how gorgeous it looked. Yours looks even more amazing Mila! Beautiful 🙂

    • milkandbun says:

      Wow! It’s so nice to hear that my pie brought back memories of your childhood 🙂 You should try it, it’s not as difficult as it may have seemed!

  16. Lily says:

    Wow, that is a work of art! I am so impressed with all the detail and all the wonderful ingredients you included this dish.

  17. Stephanie @ The Cozy Cook says:

    This is INCREDIBLE!!! You killed the Fiesta Friday challenge, oh my gosh.. I can’t get over it!!! I LOVE your step by step pictures, too bad there is no such thing as framing a blog post 🙂 Amazing work!!!!

  18. Pingback: Baking Therapy: Focaccia with Pink Lemonade Blueberries, Fresh Ginger & Grey Salt | birgerbird

  19. Pingback: 5-star Salad | milkandbun

  20. Karen says:

    A winning recipe indeed! Your pie is not only beautiful on the outside with all the decorations but on the inside with its lovely layers. Just wonderful and I’m sure delicious.

  21. Milk and Bun – Thanks for visiting my blog, which led me here. Did you notice that my heritage is Belarusian? I love Russian food and think your Kulebyaka is absolutely gorgeous! My sister makes this every year for her Easter egg party. It is delicious 🙂 But I think I will try your version as well….

  22. Pingback: Middle Eastern Salmon steaks | milkandbun

  23. Pingback: Middle Eastern Salmon steaks | milkandbun

  24. Pingback: Perfectly Simple Cabbage Pie | milkandbun

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: