CHRISTMAS IN RUSSIA

KULEBYAKA (COULIBIAC)

This salt mixture of several fillings is one of the most popular meals that is traditionally made during the feast time (from 28th November until the 6th January). 

Kulebyaka is sort of a Russian pirog, filled with a few groups of fillings like salmon or sturgeon, rice or buckwheat, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, onions, and drill.

The name of the meal comes from an old Russian verb – „kulebyacit “, which means to make with hands, to shape.

Total time of preparation and coking: 3 hours

Servings: 6 -7

THE DOUGH

INGREDIENTS

PREPARATION

  • Instant dry yeast

5 g

  • Milk, warm

100 ml

  • White sugar

2 tsp

  • Eggs, at room temperature

2 eggs

  • Salt

1 tsp

  • Milk or water, at room temperature

200 ml

  • Butter, melted

100 g

  • Baker's yeast

1 tsp

  • Flour

600 g

 

  1. In a cup, stir warm milk, sugar, and yeast together. Let it stand until foamy (about 10 minutes)
  2. In a big bowl, crack eggs, add sugar, salt, milk, melted butter and then stir it all together.
    Add sifted flour, yeast mixture and knead the dough until it's smooth.
  3. Cover the bowl with a wet cloth, put it in a warm place and leave it to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Once that time passes, knead the dough again. Repeat this step one more time.

 

 

THE FILLING

INGREDIENTS

 

PREPARATION

  • Fresh salmon, cut into small cubes

600 g

  • Basmati or jasmine rice, cooked

100 g

  • Mushrooms, sliced and fried

200 g

  • Big onion, sliced and fried

1

  • Eggs, cooked and chopped

4

  • Dill and parsley, finely chopped

2+2 tbsp

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

  • Pancakes

9

 

 

  1. Cut salmon into small cubes
  2. Cook rice
  3. Slice and fry the mushrooms and the onion
  4. Cook and chop the eggs
  5. Make pancakes, 9 will be enough

The glaze:

Egg yolk beaten with 2 Tbsp milk, ½ tbsp salt and ½ tbsp sugar

 

ASSEMBLING

  1. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately 26cm*35cm rectangular and 6mm thick. You can roll the dough on a piece of baking parchment; thus, it will be much easier to transfer the pie onto a baking tray; moreover, you will need to turn the pie upside down - so the sealing should be at the bottom.
  2. Coat the rolled dough with the pancakes.
  3. Place the egg and herbs mixture lengthways down the center of the dough. 
  4. Then arrange the mushrooms and onion mixture on top.
  5. Next, arrange the rice. And the last layer-salmon.
  6. Cover the filling with pancakes, shape it into a rectangle.
  7. Then, fold the dough and seal the edges.
  8. Transfer the pie upside down to a baking tray.
  9. Decorate it with pastry trimmings and cut two slits on the top with a sharp knife.
  10. Keep for a proofing for 20 minutes. Brush the pie with egg wash.
  11. Bake it in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for 30-35 minutes or until golden.
  12. Leave it to slightly cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
  13. Serve with a glass of milk or a cup of freshly brewed tea.

 

Priyatnogo appetita!

 

In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January, according to the Julian calendar. Religious Russians are fasting before Christmas, from the 28th November to the 6th January (Christmas Eve), and on the night of Christmas Eve they visit „nightlong vigil“ and pray all night long. They also prepare some traditional food as kutia which is sweet porridge, baked meat and fish, kulebyaka which is a big pie made of several layers of different fillings, and fruit desserts like pastila.  

One of the most popular Russian Orthodox Christmas traditions is fortune-telling on Christmas Eve. Time from the 6th to 19th January is called “svyatki” and has deep pagan roots. Old Russians believed that it was the time when spirits would run wild – and used it to predict their future. While peasants tried to guess the weather and the harvest, young ladies thought of their grooms. And some girls still do it today! One ritual of fortune-telling in Russia is melting candle wax and guessing the destiny, based on the resulting wax formation. Also there are many other rituals like burning paper and looking for ash, laying out cards, shadows on the wall…