You may be familiar with Russian borsch, pelmeni (local dumplings), pirozhki, porridge and olivier salad, but what do you know about Russia’s desserts? Thick and creamy or soft and cheesy, Russian sweets are as varied and diverse as the cultures the world's largest country embraces.
Here are some of the best Russian desserts for anyone with a sweet tooth, according to the taste buds of Caspian News journalists and editors who hope you will give them a try!
Pryanik, known as honey bread or gingerbread has become a favorite for foreigners visiting Russia and want to take a little something back with them to remember their trip – and devour! These delicious cake-like cookies, made from honey and different spices like ginger, vanilla, cinnamon and finished with a vanilla glaze, are often made for holidays and other festive occasions. The small biscuits are perfect treats to accompany a warm cup of tea or coffee.
Russian honey spiced cookies have a history that dates back centuries. The word pryanik comes from the Russian word pryanost, which means “spices.” You can find these on the shelves of just about every Russian grocery store or bake them at home.
When you first see zephyr you will probable confuse it with American marshmallows or French meringues. This traditional dessert does have similarities to both of those sweets, but it is much lighter and practically melt in your mouth before you have a chance to swallow it down.
Made by whipping berry purée with sugar and egg whites with a gelling agent like pectin, carrageenan, agar or gelatin, this airy dessert is common to all 15 post-Soviet countries. Zephyr was named after the Greek god of the west wind, and is a tasty testament to his delicate and airy nature.
Medovik can be considered the calling card of Russian cuisine. Myod means “honey,” which lends its name to this delicious combination of the golden bee nectar and sweet cream that gets spread on individual layers of what forms a multi-layer cake. If you have tried the French mille-feuille crepe cake, you will surely like this even better!
This dessert is a perfect refreshment during tea time, and may win over those who may not expect just how good it really is! Legend says that the wife of Tsar Alexander I, Elizaveta Alekseevna, liked medovik despite her well-known dislike for honey.
Vatrushka is one of the most popular pastries in Russia. This round bun is made from leavened, short or unleavened dough filled with cottage cheese or a sweet or savory filling. It’s a humble treat but is a perfect fit for your holiday table or daily coffee or tea fix.
The name vatrushka comes from the word vatra, which means “fire.” It explains the shape of the Russian pastry, which resembles a hearth.
1. Ptichie Moloko
Ptichye Moloko, or bird’s milk cake, is a legendary Soviet dessert that tops our list. To prepare the most delicious soufflé cake of all time, you will need plenty of time and a lot of patience, but it is definitely worth it!
Legend says that bird’s milk is a sacred ingredient that birds in paradise feed their chicks. In fact, the cake is made from milk, eggs, sugar, plain flour and gelatin, without a drop of any bird’s milk!