Russian Pies and Pan Cakes

©Fioleta/flickr

©Fioleta/flickr

Pirozhki or pirog means pie and those made by the Russians are stuffed buns in small sizes. These pies are made with short pastry or yeast dough and filled with interesting fillings which are mostly entirely cooked. Baked types are the ancient Slavic preparation method for these. Some others are shallow-fried which is a method borrowed from the Tatars. The Russians also chopped the hard-boiled eggs in the fillings. Typically you can find the chopped boiled meat mixed with sautéed onions. Fish sautéed with onions and mixed rice with chopped hard-boiled eggs is the other type. Sauteed cabbage, or sautéed mushrooms with onions and carrots are the other types. And of course you can find rice and boiled eggs with dill inside. One of which is similar to the Asian pies is the mashed potatoes mixed with dill and green onion. I would not say dill is mostly used in the Asian pies, but having potatoes is pretty common even in the Malaysian pies.

Vatrushka

The cake with a ring dough and cottage cheese (tvorog) in the middle is called the Vatrushka. It is an Eastern European sweet yeast bread dough pastry. Other variations are unsweetened with onion fillings. For the sweetened version, sometimes you can find bits of fruit or raisins. Vatra is a Ukrainian, Serbian or Czech word that means ‘fire’.

Blini

Blini ©conjure_real/flickr

Blini ©conjure_real/flickr

Thin pancakes are blini in Russia and it is very similar to the French crepe. The blini has yeast in it, while crepes not. Traditionally, the way to prepare it is to leave a yeast batter to rise, then diluted with milk or cold water. Russian traditional oven are used to bake them, nowadays, they are mostly pan-fried. You can easily find the unyeasted version in Russia too, they are known as blinchiki. The way to enjoy the Blini is to either eat it plain and original or smeared with sour cream. Sometimes, jam or even caviar, butter or honey are spread on it and then rolled into a tube form. For those types with fillings, they could vary from fruit, cottage cheese, ground meat, chicken, potato, onions, bean sprouts and also cabbage.

Syrniki

These are fried quark pancakes or fried curd fritters. You can find them garnished with jam, apple sauce, sour cream or even honey. There is another name for them called ‘tvorozhniki’. The typical ingredients to make these Russian Syrniki are eggs, white sugar, semolina flour, all-purpose flour, oil and cottage cheese.

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