Russia is known for its vodka, caviar, and kraut. But apart from these products, the country of the red bear has other dishes that can be your favorite. This country has several types of typical Russian desserts such as honey cakes, paskha, pancakes, and many others.
Food is such an integral part of Russian culture that it’s no surprise that Russian desserts are made using sweet and warm ingredients and are beautifully decorated. The shapes also vary, some are towering, and there are also foods with light and sticky textures. Let’s take a peek at a tempting Russian dessert.
This Russian dessert is an iconic cake that has an unexpected origin story as well as its beautiful golden appearance. Her name is Medovik. The history of Medovik will take us back to the 19th century, during the Russian empire of Alexander I.
Elizaveta Alexeevna, his wife, did not like honey and no-cook dared to use this ingredient in the dishes made for the queen. However, a new cook decided to ‘surprise’ the emperor’s wife by serving Medovik with tea.
The chef didn’t know much about the queen’s preferences and was told when the dessert was on the table. Startling! It turned out that the queen liked the soft square-shaped food and was called the creator of the masterpiece.
Fearing the queen’s reaction, he didn’t mention the honey in the ingredients until after he finished speaking. Amazingly, Tsarina decided to give a gift by making the dessert a staple food on the Emperor’s table every day.
This cake is made of buttermilk, condensed milk, custard, or real sour cream. Medovik is similar to Napoleon cake, which is a thin layer cake. The leftover pastry is crushed into crumbs and used to coat cakes. This is what most people like the most.
- Napoleon Cake
Despite its name and appearance similar to French millefeuille or custard slices, this Russian dessert is a classic Russian cake that dates back to pre-Soviet times. This custard-filled cake in the 19th century was a common dish throughout Europe.
However, in 1912 Napoleon’s cakes became a staple in the Russian diet. To celebrate the centenary of Russia’s victory over France in the Great Patriotic War of 1812, cake makers made a cake shaped like a Napoleon hat.
It is a kind of layered crêpe and custard cake which is generally decorated with cookie crumbs to symbolize the Russian snow that managed to thwart Napoleon’s army.
- Chocolate Salami
During times of food shortage, the Soviets had to be resourceful, so it never occurred to them to throw away food. Hence many recipes are created to make use of leftovers and basic ingredients. Chocolate Salami or chocolate salami is one of my favorite foods when enjoying desserts. Its name is taken from two materials whose supply is often in short supply.
This cake is made using crushed milk biscuits plus toasted walnuts mixed with a chocolate sauce made from cocoa, butter, milk, and sugar. This dough is then put in a freezer bag, rolled into bars, and then placed in the fridge overnight to freeze.
- Pticye Moloko
Often referred to as “Rafaello” Pticye Moloko is one of the most famous Russian desserts in Russian cuisine. In English, meaning “bird’s milk” or ‘bird’s milk’, Ptichye Moloko is a simple dessert suitable for all ages and occasions.
It’s a soft, milk-based souffle, topped with chocolate, and cut into rectangles so you can eat it as bite-sized pieces. The origin of this cake dates back to 1936 when the first small candy named “Ptasie Mlechko” was made in Warsaw, Poland.
The Soviet minister 1967 paid a visit to Czechoslovakia and he was very impressed with this dessert. Then he ordered Russian sugar mills to try and emulate him.
Since the recipe was not disclosed, it took years of energy to tinker with this recipe before finally Ptichye Moloko was successfully served in Russia in 1978. This cake recipe is almost the same as Russian Zefir but does not contain eggs.
Also called zefir or zephyr, this medieval Russian sweet pastila is a candied fruit similar to homemade marshmallows. Usually, this cake is made from fruit puree that is cooked and added with egg white and gelatin syrup before being put on parchment paper and left for 6-12 hours or until hardened. These sweet treats come in a variety of flavors such as strawberry, cherry, or cream, and can also be topped with chocolate. It is believed that this dessert was named after the breeze, referring to its light and airy texture. To be more delicious, it is recommended to enjoy zefir with a cup of black coffee.
If the pastilla dough is flattened and allowed to dry and then glued again before being cut into pieces. This is in contrast to the zefir mixture which is put in a mold and dried and then the two doughs are joined together to form a ball or a whole piece.
Unlike most apple pies, which emphasize a thick, buttery crust as well as the filling, sharlotka is a very popular Russian apple pie, mainly because of its ease of preparation and low cost of ingredients.
The ingredients used include eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda, and apple slices. But some people prefer to add honey or cinnamon to this cake to make it taste even better.
This cake has a very low-calorie content, which may be another reason for its popularity. Before serving and sprinkling with powdered sugar on top, it is recommended to let the cake cool. Sharlotka is a light, juicy and delicious sponge cake, with apple slices inside.
- Pashalnii Kulichi
Pashalnii Kulichi is also known as “Paskha” which in Russian means Easter. This is a traditional dessert served on Good Friday during Easter Sunday. Paskha is a sweet bread baked and topped with raisins and decorated with sweet frosting and sprinkled with chocolate chips.
The process of making Kulichi for Russians is very sacred. Hence the whole family bakes this cake together and spends time together at home. Kulichi can only be enjoyed after the Church service on Holy Saturday night when the Holy fire is distributed among Christians and Christ is officially ‘resurrected’.
Paskha is a typical Russian dessert consisting of tvorog or farmer’s cheese, sugar, butter, cream, egg yolk, and vanilla for taste. The white color of this bread symbolizes the purity of Christ and the Passover Lamb.
The shape of the Paskha is a pyramid with the top cut off. It symbolizes the church or tomb of Christ. These foods are also decorated with religious symbols on the sides, such as crosses or letters.
This dish can also be garnished with dried fruits, nuts, or flowers. Usually, this cake is brought to the church to be blessed and then enjoyed with the traditional Easter bread known as kulich.
- Guriev kasha
Guriev Kasha is a traditional Russian semolina porridge. Different from the usual type of porridge, Guriev kasha is not only made with milk but the milk or cream is baked in the oven and the crust formed on it is removed and then used to separate the layers of semolina.
Usually, a layer of fruit, nuts, or jam is sandwiched between the semolina filling and the milk crust. Before serving, this dish is usually sprinkled with sugar and baked until it forms on top of crispy skin.
This dish has a history of about a century. This cake was even served in 1881 during the coronation of Tsar Alexander III. Until now this classic Russian dish is still often enjoyed and is usually prepared for special occasions and ceremonies.
Chak-Chak is a unique and delicious fried almond and honey cake. This cake is especially popular in the Tatarstan region, Russia. The eastern region of Russia is known for producing high-quality honey which is one of the main ingredients in most Russian desserts.
This dish is served in individual portions or in the form of sweet flatbread balls arranged in a pile so that it resembles a tower of profitéroles. Although always available and often eaten, chak-chak should always be there during celebrations. This is why this Russian dessert is often associated with celebration and good times.
Curd cheese pancakes or Syrniki are loved by Russians because of their soft, light texture, and their balanced sweet and savory taste. This typical Russian dessert is believed to have arisen because so many families in Russia had an excess of milk when there was no refrigerator available for purchase.
In order not to throw away the unused milk, many people add flour and curd cheese to the milk and make a light and fluffy pancake mix. Although this dessert is always on the menu in almost every cafe in Russia, it is not difficult to make at home.
The only ingredients needed are milk, flour, eggs, curd cheese, salt, sugar, and a frying pan. This dessert can be served with honey, yogurt, or jam, depending on individual tastes.