Blini spiral pie

 Maslenitsa or Butterweek is going on in Russia right now. It’s a winter festival, saying goodbye to the cold winter days and greeting the warm and sunny spring. During this week people prepare and eat lots of blini. For breakfast blini can be served simple and quick with melted butter and sugar or some homemade jam, for lunch – again blini, and for the dinner, especially when the whole family is getting together, is really nice and festive to serve the delicious salmon pie or this one – soft, aromatic and nourishing spiral meat pie.
 Blini and the filling can be prepared a couple of days ahead, so you can assemble the pie whenever  you have the time or just before the dinner. Succulent stewed cabbage, tasty beef and aromatic dill along with coriander and parsley make the filling truly wonderful! Moreover, blini will be soaked in a mixture of sour cream and eggs, that adds extra moisture and taste.
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 Maslenitsa is a very kind and light time, each day has a special meaning according to old tradition. For example, Wednesday is called “Gourmand”. On this day huge tables and stalls were settled on main squares, where people could drink hot honey-based sbiten and aromatic tea, enjoyed gingerbreads, fresh buns and some other sweet treats, and definitely taste the unlimited blini! But the main event was the visit of son-in-law his mother-in-law, and the mother tried to prepare the best blini she could to show respect and love to her daughter’ husband.
 On Friday, the mother-in-law returned the visit, then her daughter made pancakes and the son-in-law had to please the mother and her other relatives.
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Blini spiral pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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The quantity of the ingredients is given approximately, as it totally depends on the taste, quantity of blini, etc. 
*For the pouring mixture, you can use either sour cream or double cream; even milk will work, just reduce the quantity.
Ingredients
~8 blini
Filling
250g mince beef
250-300g raw white cabbage
1 medium red onion
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
dried herbs: dill, crushed whole coriander, marjoram
salt&pepper to taste
some oil for frying
2-3 tbsp sour cream (15-20%)
100ml double cream (30-35%)*
2 eggs
Garnish
sour cream
Method
  • Make blini. The recipe is here.
  • Heat some oil in one frying pan, add chopped onion and beef, season with marjoram and salt and pepper. Fry on a high heat for few minutes, breaking up the lumps with spatula. Reduce the heat to medium and fry for 10-15 minutes more. Then add some warm water, if the meat is too dry, cover with the lid and simmer until tender or while you’re preparing the cabbage.
  • In another pan, heat the oil and shredded cabbage, fry on a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary, allow cabbage to brown but not to burn. Fry until cabbage is brown, then sprinkle with dill and coriander, season, cover with a lid and cook until the cabbage is soft.
  • To assemble, you need any round baking dish, covered with baking paper and drizzled with oil. Mix meat with cabbage and fresh parsley. Take one blin and put one-two tablespoons of the filling into it, roll. Make as much as fits to the baking dish.
  • Mix creams with eggs and pour over the blini pie.
  • Bake in preheated 190C oven for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm with  a dollop of sour cream.
Enjoy! 

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!

Siberian fish pie

This pie is called Siberian. Try to guess why? First of all, fish has always been a favourite food and often the main dish for people living by the sea or river. One of the famous Siberian dishes is “stroganina”, which is thin chips cut from fresh frozen fish (or it can be meat) and dipped into the mixture of salt and pepper. Also fish is used as a stuffing for large and small pies, for soups and stews. Also, it’s necessary to take into account the Siberian weather, during the winter the temperature is very low (or to be exact – the freezing cold), thus any fish can be easily frozen and kept outside for a long time.Delicious Siberian Fish Pie
 So, I used halibut for my Siberian pie, it’s a flatfish that live in the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea (Russian North seas). Halibut is a valuable source of Omega-3 fat acids and vitamins-B, what makes the pie more healthy and tasty. You can substitute halibut with any other white-meat fish. Along with the fish I added cooked millet, it’s unusual cereal for the filling, but an interesting alternative to the common rice, it has a nice tender texture.
The pie is satisfying and makes a delicious weekend dinner!

Siberian fish pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate to difficult
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Rich Leavened Dough
500-600g all-purpose/plain flour (or 200g spelt/wholemeal flour+300g plain flour)
350-400ml full-fat milk, warm
11g instant yeast
1+1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
100g melted butter or 2.5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • To make a sourdough in a large mixing bowl, add warm milk, yeast, 1 tbsp sugar and mix well. Add around 100-120g sifted flour, stir throughly to get the consistency like for pancakes. Cover with a plate or wrap, and allow to ferment for 1 hour in a warm place.
  • In another small bowl lightly beat eggs (with hand whisker) with 1 tbsp sugar and salt.
  • Add the beaten eggs into a bowl with sourdough mixture. Sift the remaining flour, pour in butter or oil, mix to combine.
  • Now, knead the dough for about 20-30 minutes on a flat surface. Add more flour, if needed.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl, wrap it up and leave to rise for 1.5-2 hours in a warm place.
FillingFish Pie
550-600g halibut fillet, cut into small cubes
80-100g Tbsp millet
1 big onion
2-3 tbsp sunflower or any other veg.oil, for frying
50g butter, cut into small cubes
salt, pepper to taste
Glaze
1 egg+1 Tbsp milk
20-30g butter, melted, for brushing
Serving
50g butter, melted, optional
cold milk
  • First, you need to cook millet. Rinse it thoroughly under running water. After that, add millet and two parts boiling water in a small pan. After the water has return to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes. Let it cool.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and fry it on a medium heat until golden color. Mix fried onion with millet. Season to taste.
  • Divide the dough into two parts. Roll out the smallest dough part into oval shape (38x30cm/1cm thick) and arrange it on a lined baking tray. Spoon millet mixture, then spread the fish cubes. Dot with butter, season to taste.
  • Roll out the second part of the dough – large enough to cover the filling. Seal the edges. Decorate with trimmings. Cover the pie with tea-towel and let it rise for 20-30 minutes before baking.
  • Cut three or four slits in the top. Brush the pie with the glaze.
  • Bake the pie in preheated 180C oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden-brown.
  • Brush the pie with melted butter, cover with tea-towel and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cut the pie into slices. If the filling is dry for your taste, pour over some melted butter. Serve with a glass of milk.
  • Enjoy the Siberian pie!

Siberian Fish Pie with millet

Perfectly Simple Cabbage Pie

 I have made a puff pastry! Can you believe?! 😀 And it was a classic recipe, not a cheat one. Though it has turned out not really good as I expected, I think I put a bit much of butter, or it wasn’t very cold.. But I’m still proud of myself, and the pastry is hundred times better then the store-bought. Moreover, puff pastry in stores is usually made from margarine or palm oil, which are trans-fats, the worst type of fat you can consume.

Cabbage Pie

 The below recipe is a classic recipe of Russian cabbage pie. This time I used puff pastry, the pie turned out crispy, buttery, comforting and so tasty! When I lived in Russia, usually we made a good quantity of this dough (which I used in koulebyaka-pie), and made one huge pie with savory filling; if we’d had some remaining dough we made small pirogki (small pies) with jam or sweet tvorog (cottage cheese).
 There is no filling recipe, because it’s hard to count grams of cabbage if you don’t know how big or small will be the pie. One loves when the dough is thick, another when the filling is falling out from the pie. You can have a look ‘the guide how to’ below, but the quantity of ingredients adjust to your own taste.
For the cabbage filling, shred some fresh cabbage, and slightly braise it along with chopped onion and spices. Then add coarsely chopped hard-boiled eggs, and season with salt, that’s it! The lovely cabbage filling is ready!
 I know, the pie is very simple, but it’s so comforting, that after first bite you begin to feel like you are at home.. Sweet home! ❤ I’m bringing the pie to all party-people over there; I truly hope you will enjoy it!

Russian Cabbage Pie

The pie is equally good reheated for lunch or dinner next day! 
Ingredients
Cabbage filling
Fresh cabbage, shreded
1 small or medioum onion, finely chopped
1-2 tsp cumin
2-4 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, optional
sea salt, to taste
2-3 Tbsp sunflower oil
2-3 eggs, hard-boiled
Puff pastry
300g flour
50g chilled butter
a pinch of salt
150ml very cold water
220g chilled butter for layering
Glazing
1 egg  yolk + 1 Tbsp milk or only milk
sesame seeds for decoration, optional
 
Method
 In a big frying pan, add onion, cumin, cabbage and fry on a moderate heat for 5-10 minutes. Reduce the heat, add salt, some water (if the cabbage begins to burn), cover and braise for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Season with salt, add chopped dill, if desired. Mix with chopped eggs.
 Brush the pie with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in preheated 180C/360F oven for 25-35 minutes (the mentioned time is enough even for a big pie).
 Let it cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy with a glass of milk! 
Russina Cabbage Pie

Transformer Pie

 Transformer movie is now showing in cinemas here, I’ve already watched it, and you? I know it’s totally not girly film, but all those metal giants.. Don’t you want to be friends with one of those robots? 😀                                                                                The below pie is also like transformer. Why don’t you invite friends for a dinner and make a surprise for them, say that you had time to prepare only sugary pie with meringue top.. They didn’t guess until you begin to cut it.. Surprise! You’ve got a slice full of savory filling!

Chicken Pie
 I used chicken and brown button mushrooms, but you can add some potatoes instead of mushrooms. The pie can be easily turned into sweet; use sliced apples or pears along with a handful of raisins, nectarines and blueberries are great too, and don’t forget to beat egg whites with icing sugar. Small disadvantage in sweet option are unused egg yolks, which should be used somewhere; put them in a small cup, cover with cling-wrap and next morning prepare scrambled eggs, or much better – make khvorost.

Transformer Pie

Ingredients (for 20cm/8inch round baking dish)
400-500g puff pastry, preferably homemade (with butter, not margarine)
2 small chicken breasts, around 350g
150g mushrooms, washed, sliced or cut into halves
1 leek or onion, chopped
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, optionally
1 whole egg
2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 tsp strong mustard, like English
2 Tbsp fatty creme fraiche or sour cream
50g grated Parmesan or any hard cheese, optionally
salt, pepper to taste
1 Tbsp oil + 1 tsp butter
Preparation
  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry (4mm/0.15inch thick) and cut a 28cm/11inch disc. Line a baking dish, pop into the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut chicken into small cubes or strips; put in a bowl, add 1 egg yolk, 2 tsp sour cream, salt, pepper, tarragon (optionally), cover and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. In a medium pan, melt butter and oil, add onion and mushrooms, fry on a moderate heat for 10-15 minutes. Add mushroom mixture to the chicken and combine.
  4. Beat whole egg and egg yolk with remaining sour creme.
  5. Take out the baking dish. Spoon the chicken mixture in, pour over beaten eggs.
  6. Bake in preheated oven 180C/360F for 40-45 minutes.
  7. Beat egg whites with a good pinch of salt until firm peaks. Optionally, you may gently fold in cheese.
  8. Take out the pie. Spread the meringue mixture over the pie, bake for 20 minutes more or until slightly brown.
  9. Allow pie to cool for 15 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Chicken Pie/SliceCheck out another recipe – Kournik, Russian chicken pie!

Chicken Meringue Pie