This is one of the best dough recipes for small stuffed baked pies common for Eastern-European cuisines. It is best for its ability to keep the crumb soft, fluffy, and moist for a few days, because this enriched dough comes close to the dough for brioche. Can you imagine two-bites sized stuffed brioche pies? That’s what I am talking about.
With slight variations, this versatile dough recipe is used for many baked goods all over Ukraine. The same dough is made for savory garlicky pampushky served with borsch and for sweet, plain or filled with fresh berries, jam (povydlo), poppy seed filling, and dusted with sugar powder. Pies, braided and intricately decorated loaves of sweet bread, rolls — it is good for all of them. Try it this holiday season! This snowflake-shaped sweet bread makes a light, fluffy, nutty, and delicately sweet gift to remember.
“My mom just made her signature Gata. It smells like summer, sun, and a mountain breeze.
— This recipe is traditional, — she anticipates my question.
— Why is your Gata ten times better than mine?!
— It’s the quality of ingredients. The sour cream and matsun are the freshest and made of real milk. The butter is a Flower butter I melted myself.
Flower butter! It is made in June-July when high in the mountains wild strawberries are ripe, and flowers are in bloom. Cows then are milked with cream, and the butter churned of this cream makes any other butter seem like a mockery. If happiness has a taste, it should be the taste of Flower butter.” — read more: (in Russian) Narine Abgaryan Facebook post
After this story, I’ve been dreaming of the Flower butter, trying to imagine how it smells and tastes. Since Gata is made of 4 ingredients — flour, fermented milk, butter, and sugar — the quality of each component is what makes this pastry special. I can use the best there is in the states. And then a crazy idea came to my mind. What if I also add the flavor of edible flowers? How about Roman Chamomile? For the first experiment, I powdered 2 teaspoons of dry flowers and added them to the dough and the stuffing. For the second, I’ve infused heavy cream with Chamomile flavor and then fermented it. That was a hit!
It’s already scorching hot in Central Texas. But early in the morning, the light is golden and gentle, and the air is still fresh. Socheni and some tea in a shadow of live oaks filled my morning with dear flavors, nostalgic images from the past, and piece. And it was good.
If you recognize the pastry in the picture, you and I probably belong to the same culture and generation. Most likely you are smiling and wishing you could get one of those right now. I bet you are thinking about your school years and other favorite cookies and pastries from a long time ago, aren’t you? Socheni, aka Sochniki, don’t need any introduction to those who know what they are. The rest of people would probably pass them by as they look pretty rustic and not as attractive as modern pastries. This phenomenon is an illustration how much we treasure our childhood food memories. They stay with us forever.
It was the first recipe I learned as a child, and it became my signature dish. I was extremely proud to be able to make these sweets for the whole family all by myself. They sort of disappeared from my adult menu. I don’t even remember when I made them for the last time. A request to make them for the coming Fat Thursday surprised me. I had no idea they are traditional carnival sweets! For me, making them was another chance to reminisce about my childhood, family, home… Thank you.
Badambura means almond (badam) pie (bura). It belongs to Azerbaijani cuisine, one of the cuisines of the Caucasus. This multylayered pastry is filled with almonds meal, sugar, and ground cardamom. Badambura is usually prepared for the spring holiday Novruz, but can be enjoyed all throughout the year.
Flaky apple rolls are part of my Ukrainian tasting menu Bud’mo!. This recipe is one of the most cherished in our family. Every time I bake apple rogaliki, my home smells like childhood and bring back my best memories.
With slight variations, this dough is used for many baked products all over Ukraine. It is used for small, round pastries called pampUshky (there are also deep-fried pampushKY, which are similar to doughnuts). Savory garlicky pampushky are known to be served with borsch. Sweet ones can be plain or filled with fresh berries, jam (povydlo), poppy seed filling, and dusted with sugar powder. The same dough is used for pies, braided and intricately decorated loafs of sweet bread, and rolls. All these beautiful sweet breads are light and puffy, never overly sweet.
A canelé is a classic French pastry made from the same ingredients as French crepes — eggs, milk, and sugar. The batter is the same thin. These two-bite pastries are famous for their unusual combination of textures. Long baking and high temperature turns the batter into a delicacy with crunchy caramelized crust outside and custardy sponge inside.