Sunny pie

 Today is the winter solstice, it is an astronomical event that occurs twice a year (summer and winter solstice). Winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. During the paganism time in old Russia this day was a special celebration, which was called Yule night. It was a festive and holy day for the honour of greeting the baby-sun named Kolyada, that was born on this night, which slowly but steady began to be stronger and brighter. That means that with each upcoming day nights became shorter, days longer and sun shone brightly and warmly. In the night people had to get together (there was a superstition that to stay alone in this night was unluckily), they set a big festive fire, sang songs and burnt all old and useless stuff; people also prepared chickens and turkey, baked round pies and praised the Sun.Sunny pie

 As you can see, I’ve tried to make a sun-looking pie. Rich and sweet pastry holds lemon-scented milky filling and all covered with lightly soured apricot puree.  In a word, I liked this bright and tasty pie! It reminds me another pie that I made – ‘cottage cheese and cranberry pie’, so if you liked that one – give a chance to this sunny pie as well. 🙂Sunny pie with lemon-tvorog filling
Bright and Sunny Pie

Lemon-tvorog pie with apricot top

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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I used 20cm loose-bottom baking pan.
*Tvorog is Russian cottage cheese, you can find it in many European or Russian stores.
Lemon-tvorog pieA slice of sunny pie
Ingredients
sweet lemon pastry
400g tvorog*
100g butter,  at room temperature
zest of 1 medium lemon
3-4 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
30g (3 tbsp) brown sugar
30g (3 tbsp) white sugar
60g golden raisins
hot black tea or water, to cover the raisins
2 tsp cornmeal
apricot top
Preparation method
  • While the pastry case is baking, prepare the filling.
  • In a small bowl, put raisins and cover with hot black tea or water. You can also add a tablespoon of cognac or brandy for extra flavour. Leave to soak while making the diary filling.
  • In a large bowl, whisk tvorog with butter until just combined. In another bowl beat eggs with sugars.
  • Add lemon zest and juice, vanilla and beaten eggs to the tvorog mixture, beat until just combined.
  • Drain raisins and mix into the filling along with cornflour.
  • Pour the filling into the pastry case. Pour the apricot puree over the tvorog filling.
  • Bake in preheated 190C oven for 45-50 minutes. If the top begins to burn – cover it with foil.
  • Let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then carefully transfer onto the serving plate. Enjoy!
P.S. The filling wasn’t smooth as you can see from the pics, if you like it -ok, if not- you may push tvorog through the sieve.
Sweet lemon pastry
170g butter, at room temperature
50g golden caster sugar
zest of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg (40-45g), at room temperature
260g plain flour
Glaze: 1 small beaten egg yolk, optional
  • In a large bowl, whisk butter with sugar until just creamy. Add lemon zest, vanilla and egg and mix until just combined. Mix in flour. Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and chill overnight or up to 3 days until ready to use.
  • Roll out 3mm-thick (or as thick as you like) circle to cover your baking pan. You can also make ‘sun rays’ and stick them to the base and sides of the pan, but it’s optional step. If you have any pastry remains, roll out it and cut out cookies, then bake it on a baking tray for 10-12 minutes.
  • Put the pan with pastry into the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Cover the pastry case with foil, add beans/rice/special stones for baking and bake in preheated 190C oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the weight, brush with the glaze (optional) and return to the oven for 5 minutes more.
Apricot Top (optional)
5 small sliced apricots (150g) (or sub with apricot jam)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornflour
20-30g (3 tbsp) golden caster sugar
  • Beat all ingredients with electric blender into a smooth puree. The apricot top was slightly sour, if you like sweeter -add more sugar.
Enjoy!
 Lemon-tvorog pieSharing with wonderful and full of fun Fiesta Friday party!

Tsvetaeva Apple Pie

On this day, 8 of October, 123 years ago one of the greatest poetess in Russian literature – Marina Tsvetaeva drew the first breath.

She was born in the intelligent family: her father Ivan was a famous philologist, art critic and a professor of Fine Art in Moscow University and mother Maria was a pianist. Marina Tsvetaeva begun to wrote here first poetry being a 6 years old child, her poetry was written not only in Russian, but also in French and German languages. Her mother was terminally ill with tuberculosis and that time was believed that a change in climate could help to cure the disease, so young Marina spend quite a long time in Italy, Switzerland and Germany; lately she studied French literature in famous Sorbonne University.
 Tsvetaeva published the very first poetry collection in 1910 on her own money..
 Russian Civil war (1917-1922) was severe time for the poetess and here own family. She rejected Russian Revolution and wrote the cycle of poems about the war, glorifying those who fought against the communists. While here husband joined the White Army (anti-communist), she had no support and lived in starvation with her daughters.
 In 1922 Marina Tsvetaeva left the Soviet Union and moved to Berlin, lately her family lived in Prague and finally settled in Paris. Unfortunately, living abroad didn’t made here life easier, they lived in poverty and were homesick for Russia. Tsvetaeva did whatever she could: began to write more prose because it made more money than poetry. Meanwhile, her husband and daughter were involved in NKVD (predecessor of KGB), and when French police interrogated Marina Tsvetaeva, she was shocked about news that her husband was a spy. Furthermore, police implicated here son in the murder of former Soviet defector.
 Finally, in 1939 she returned to Russia..
Tsvetaeva apple pie/ Slice
 Returning to the apple pie recipe and its name. It’s being said that such apple pie was served in the house of Marina Tsvetaeva and her sister Anastasia. Young Marina spent a lot of time with famous poets and writers on the literary evenings, and it’s been known that she served an apple pie to her visitors. I really want to believe that she really had an opportunity to participate and enjoy such evenings, where this tender and delicious apple pie was served. At least there was something striking and good in her life.Tsvetaeva apple pie (after the name of Russian poetess)

Tsvetaeva Apple Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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You can make the dough one day ahead and keep it in the fridge.
Ingredients
Dough
150g butter, at room temperature
250g plain flour
4 tbsp sour cream, 30%
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple vinegar or lemon juice
Filling
3 sour medium apples
1/2 lemon, juice
250g sour cream, 30%
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
100g white sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
Method
  1. For the dough, in a large bowl, add butter, sift  the flour and mix until mixture resembles crumbs. Add sour cream. Dissolve soda in vinegar or lemon juice and pour in the dough mixture. Mix to combine. Knead a dough a bit, shape into a disk, cover in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Take the baking tin, grease it and line with baking paper. Roll the dough into the circle to fit the baking tin. Put the tin into the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  4. Peel (optional), core  and thinly slice apples, sprinkle with lemon juice.
  5. In a bowl, with electric or hand whisker beat sour cream with egg and sugar. Add vanilla, if using. Sift the flour. Whisk to combine.
  6. Take the baking tin with dough from the fridge. Arrange apple slices. Pour over the sour cream mixture.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 180C and bake for 25 minutes more. If the top begins browning too much, cover it with a foil.
  8. Allow the pie to cool completely in the baking tin. Then carefully transfer the pie onto the serving plate. Slice and serve with cup of hot tea.
The remaining pie cover with a foil and keep in the fridge up to 2 days. The pie will be even better on the next day, as the cream becomes thicker.

The duo cake

Cheesecake or chocolate cake? This cake is perfect for those who can not choose! I called it ‘the duo cake’ because it combines both the chocolate cake and cheesecake. It turned out great from the first attempt, moreover this cake is so delicious, smooth chocolate part shades nicely into the cheesy-one. The cake has amazing aroma of dark chocolate, sweet vanilla and sunny orange. I hope you will give it a try! 🙂Chocolate orange squares

The duo cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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All ingredients should be at room temperature.
For the recipe I used 20cm square cake tin, but round tin is also can be used.
Ingredients
Cheesecake part
500g cream cheese (Philadelphia)
70g white sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
1 egg
50ml double cream (30%), optional
1 tsp vanilla exctract
zest of one orange
Chocolate part
160g flour
40g cacao powder (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
100g brown sugar (or white sugar)
2 eggs
70g butter, melted
200g sour cream
Top
1-2 tbsp chopped dark chocolate (70-75% cacao)
orange zest
Preparation method
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with sugar and cornflour, mix in egg until just combine, then fold in cream if using. Add vanilla and orange zest.
  • In another bowl, sift flour and cocoa powder, add salt, baking powder and soda.
  • In a bowl, beat eggs with brown sugar. Mix in melted butter and sour cream.
  • Pour egg mixture into flour, combine but don’t overmix.
  • Line 20cm square baking tin. Pour in chocolate mixture. Then pour cheesecake mixture onto the top of chocolate one. Sprinckle with chopped chocolate and orange zest.
  • Bake in preheated 180C oven for 45-50 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool complitely, then cut into squres.
  • I served mine with cranberries, their sourness suits well with the cake.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Godiva.com

The duo cake

WhiteCurrant tart

 Hello-hello! I love summer because it’s berry season! May be not that summer when the outside temperature is +40C or even 50C.. Hope you are having the same great summer as I do this time in Russia: lots of organic berries, vegetables and greens, amazing weather, long walks and talks with friends. But sometimes the weather plays a joke: in the morning can be so cold that you need a thick jacket, later so hot – you need a dress instead of jacket, and so on..Russian FieldRussian Nature
 Talking about summer berries, currants is super common and one of the popular type of berry in Russia. I’m sure many of you tried redcurrants or seen it in supermarkets, or tried a dessert garnished with it. Here, there are three types of currants: black, red and white. They differ from one another not only in their color; blackcurrant is the sweetest one, red is tender and sour, and whitecurrant is sweet-and-sour with lots of seeds. And I guess, the white one is less-known, so I’ve been determined to make something tasty with these beautiful berries. Here, they are usually eaten as is or they make compotes (cold drink), jams. I made shortcrust pastry with tvorog (cottage cheese), filled with tender tvorog filling (yes, again cottage cheeese! I love it!) and scattered whitecurrants over the top. Yummy! A slice of whitecurrant tart
 So, how is your summer going on? 🙂White Currants in RussiaWhite Currant Tart

WhiteCurrant tart

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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The recipe calls for whitecurrants, which are usually uncommon, so use redcurrants or any berries that you can get.
If you’re using frozen berries, don’t defreeze it.
I used 22cm baking tin.
Ingredients
Pastry
200g flour
100g butter, cut into small cubes
100g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
1 egg
Filling
3 eggs
70-100g sugar or fructose (depends on your taste)
300-350g sour cream (20-30% fat)
100g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
1 tsp vanilla sugar/extract
450-500g whitecurrants
Preparation method
  • To make the pastry, place flour, butter in a large bowl (or in the food processor) and mix to get breadcrumbs. Mix in tvorog. Add egg and mix until just comes together. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the pastry on a lightly floured table to form a round. Grease the baking tin and lightly dust with flour. Arrange pastry into the baking tin. Place in the fridge to cool while you’re preparing the filling.
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • In a bowl, whisk eggs with sugar. Beat in sour cream. Add cottage cheese and vanilla, whisk to combine.
  • Take the pastry out the fridge, pour in filling. Scatter over berries.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the baking tin, then carefully remove from the tin and serve.
Enjoy!

Sharlotka

 Sharlotka – that’s how one of the popular apple cake in Russia called. I believe this cake is so widely-known that there is no a man in Russian who wouldn’t heard about it. When I was a little girl I ate sharlotka so many times that I hardly can count, I ate it at my home, at friends’ home.. And I still love it! It’s one of the easiest recipe that always turns out great!
There are many varieties of Charlotte dessert. Russian ‘charlotte’ was created by French chef Marie-Antoine Careme who worked for Russian Tsar Alexander I in 19th century in London. Believed that the dessert took its name from Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of the Intied Kingdom, who loved apples. For this dessert the bottom of baking mold was lined with sponge cake or savoiardi biscuits, then filled with Bavarian and whipped cream, and completely cooled. Originally the dessert was named ‘charlotte a la parisienne’ but lately became popular under the name ‘charlotte russe’ or simply ‘Sharlotka’.
In Soviet times the recipe was modified and became sponge cake with apples. Nowadays, the cake continues to be liked and cooked by many Russian women, including me. 🙂 It’s also a kind of ‘rescue’ sweets that you can prepare in minutes when your friends came around unexpectedly. Below recipe is my mother’s recipe, I haven’t change a word in it and the cake turns out perfect every time, I think it will make my mummy proud and happy. ❤Sharlotka

Sharlotka

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can also roughly chop apples, stir into the batter and then bake.
I used 20cm/8inch cake spring-form.
Ingredients
2-3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 eggs, at room temperature (better to use large eggs)
80g white sugar
110g plain flour
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp b.soda
1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
a pinch of salt
icing sugar for dusting, optional
Preparation method
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add 3 egg yolks, water and sugar. Put baking soda in a tablespoon, pour in lemon juice or vinegar, mix with a teaspoon to dissolve it, then pour into the egg mixture. Beat egg mixture until light and creamy.
  2. In another bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft but steady peaks.
  3. Gradually mix egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Don’t stir too much.
  4. Gradually sift and fold in the flour.
  5. Grease and dust with flour the baking form. Gently spread half of the batter into the form. Arrange apple slices. Pour in the rest batter, evenly spread.
  6. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with icing sugar, if desired. Serve warm with a cup of freshly-brewed tea.
You can keep the cake in a box or on a plate covered with foil in the fridge up to 3 days.
Enjoy!

Sharlotka- Russian apple cake

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