Russian cuisine often reflects the harsh climates they are accustomed to, such as hearty meat dishes and stews to warm you all day. But like any good food culture, they have a unique sweet side too. The majority of the food is are just simple dishes that taste great, some of which you will already be familiar with and some of which are relatively unknown in the western world. Today I’d like to introduce you to 2 of these Russian desserts, so let’s get started:
Chvorost are sweet pan-friend cookies essentially, but I have yet to find a similar dish here in the UK. There is a little alcohol in the recipe, but only for flavour as the actual alcoholic content will evaporate during cooking. Here’s what you’ll need:
– 2 1/2 cups flour
– 1 cup milk
– 2 eggs
– 1 tbsp of Rum
– 1 Salt
– Sugar, icing sugar, and jam to serve
Whizz up a standard pastry in the mixer with the first 5 ingredients, then knead by hand. Roll out the pastry until it’s really thin, and cut into 4 inch long strips, twisting it and creating various shapes as your imagination takes you.
In a pan with plenty of oil, over a moderate flame, fry the cookies until they have a golden toasted colour. Serve in a variety of ways – sprinkled in sugar and icing sugar, dipped in jam etc. If you are British, include a nice big pot of tea and eat during afternoon tea time.
Russian Carlotta Recipe:
Carlotta is actually an Italian word, but this is the Russian equivalent and the best word I know to describe it. It’s a nice little yogurt/gelatin pudding, and you will need:
– 8 eggs
– 1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
– 2 cups light cream
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence
– 2 cups of normal cream
– 25 (!) wafers
Over a bain-marie, dissolve the gelatin with the light cream and half a cup of sugar (leave half for later). Separately, put the egg yolks only into a bowl and whisk them until frothy (don’t discard the egg whites). Add to the gelatin mix over the bain marie and stir gently, ensuring it doesn’t boil. Add the vanilla and give a final stir before taking off the stove and allowing to cool.
Now, get the whites of the egg (that you didn’t throw away, hopefully) and whisk until stiff peaks develop, adding the rest of the sugar gradually. Set aside and whip the other cream until it thickens.
Mix the egg white gently in with the yolk and gelatin mix you already have.
Place the wafers around a spring mold, with a little butter on the sides to prevent sticking. The wafers should be cut precisely to fit the height of the mold and placed as tightly together as possible. Pour the mix into the mold, and chill until it curdles.
Take the mold off and garnish with whipped cream.