From time immemorial Russians grew rye, wheat, barley, oats and millet. They mastered the ways of making flour much earlier than other European and Asian nations. This is the reason of such an abundance of baked goods in Russian cuisine: all sorts of pies, kulyebyakas, buns and rolls, pretzels and bread, rasstegais (open-topped pastry) and pancakes. Russian cuisine is famous for all possible kinds of pies. There are ryes and wheat ones, both lenten and fancy stuffed with mushrooms, kasha, curd cheese, peas, fish, meat, berries and jam. World famous are Russian blini. Unleavened dough is mostly used for pelmeni, vareniks ( curd, potato, berry etc. dumplings) noodles.
Blni are probably the oldest dish in Russian cuisine which originated before the 9th century, in pagan times. Russian blini are distinguished by special texture; they are soft, spongy, porous, light and cobweb transparent. Such blini easily absorb melted butter and sour cream, which make them juicy, glossy and delicious.
Prianik and Kulich (Easter Cake)
Purely national baked goods are prianiks (gingerbreads) and kulichi. The first prianiks appeared in Russia in the 9th century in the form of simple mixture of flour and berry juice. Later, in the 11th and 12th centuries, spices such as cinnamon cloves, cardamom, lemon peel, nutmeg, mint, anise, ginger, vanilla were added.
Honey was an ingredient not only for honey prianik but also for most of the other. Any separate type prianik had its special kind of ingredient determining its taste - honey, rye, wheat, almond, lemon, mint, raspberry, treacle, sugar etc. Russian prianik (except mint and Vyazemsky) are covered with colored icing – sometimes pink, but in most cases - white.
Kulich is a must for the most important Russian holiday, Easter. The dough for it contains cream, butter, sugar, eggs and yeast making it delicious, soft and elastic. A classic Easter kulich must contain flavor additives (raisins, candied fruit, candied lemon peel or dried orange) and be colored with saffron.
Pirogi (pies, patties) are genuine Russian food, which reached us from the most ancient times without being affected by any foreign cuisine. Initially they were cooked and eaten mostly on holidays. The word “pirog” the root of which is “pir” (feast) means that pirogi were a must for holiday tables. The dough for Russian pirogi should be sour yeast-based or “live” as it was called in the olden times. The stuffing for them is most often prepared using a single product. It might be vegetable (cabbage, peas, carrots, turnip, potato, onions, sorrel), mushroom (dried, fresh, boiled, fried and pickled), thick kashas with lots of butter (mostly rice), fish, meat, poultry (chicken), curd, eggs, and game. The traditional stuffing’s are onions and eggs, cabbage and eggs, mushrooms and onions, and finally, fish or meat with rice and eggs. The pirogi with mixed stuffing are called kulyebyaka.