Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Russian Sweets

There is a link to a recipe for Kulich. I thought it was interesting that the dish is very similar to the Italian Panettone, which is a common holiday dessert in Italian households.

"Desserts feature at many traditional Russian celebrations, such as the delicious soft cheese and dried fruit 'Paskha' served at Easter. Many Russian desserts come from Western European influences, started in the early 18th Century by Peter the Great's fascination with all things Dutch, German, French and Swedish.

Many popular Russian desserts and baked goods feature berries, varieties of which we never see in New Zealand, such as the bilberry. These desserts have come from the Central Asian countries that were eventually annexed by Russia and formed part of the Soviet Union.

Baked desserts are also very popular, like the small sweet pies and dumplings called vareniki which are filled with preserved fruit or tvorog (a dry soft cheese similar to quark). Whilst they are often eaten as a dessert, because they are so filling they also can be served as a sweet luncheon dish or for afternoon tea.

Perhaps most well known are Russian pancakes or 'blini'. These are not strictly for dessert as they are often served with savory accompaniments such as mushrooms or caviar. In February, Muscovites celebrate the end of winter and the coming spring with a week dedicate to blini, called 'Maslenitsa'."

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