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5 delicious old Russian desserts that are now almost forgotten
5 delicious old Russian desserts that are now almost forgotten

They did not know chocolate in Russia. Marshmallows were not on sale in the shops. Sugar was expensive, so why wasn’t it wasted. And yet, the bar, and the peasants, and the artisans, and the merchants of Russia knew and loved sweets even before the construction of confectionery factories. But the recipes for desserts (or, more precisely, snacks for tea drinking) were completely different then.

Cucumbers in honey

There is such a half-ironic name for one delicacy - "monastery sandwich". This is when a little honey is smeared on a cucumber and so they eat. In fact, this "sandwich" was eaten not only in monasteries, it was popular almost everywhere before the revolution. But it was considered even better to boil cucumbers in honey!

No kidding, cucumbers (or carrots) were cut into small cubes, filled with a patch (pot) and the remaining space was filled with liquid light honey. After that, slowly, over very low heat, they boiled in the oven. It was appreciated that the cucumbers became transparent-sunny, absorbed the taste of honey and remained with the delicate texture of a cucumber. This delicacy did not have a separate name. Just "cucumbers in honey." And by the way, Ivan the Terrible loved them very much. I also liked carrots in honey for their texture, but a little fibrous, not smooth.

Artist Konstantin Makovsky

Pastila or levashi

They also loved marshmallow in Russia. Only it did not look like white cubes, but like a flaky cake made of small cakes. Such cakes were also called levash.

To prepare marshmallow, berries such as viburnum, raspberries, currants, sea buckthorn or mountain ash were boiled in their own juice, honey or molasses (the latter for marshmallow was collected only in the frost - then it was sweetish). Dried cherries, which were supplied to the Great Russian cities from Kiev, were also used in the noble houses, and a more complex apple marshmallow was prepared. The boiled berry mass was slowly dried in the oven, spreading on a baking sheet. Then they cut them into cakes, glued them together and dried them one more time.

Sometimes the lozenges were not stuck together, but served directly thin, sometimes rolled up in a tube. The Russians called this marshmallow "Tatar". It had less honey and was sour. "Tatar" pastilles were also often used for treatment in noble houses, depending on what berries it was made from.

The apple marshmallow recipe can be found now. It was prepared both with egg whites, to lighten and give tenderness, and without them, and in any case, the pulp of the apple was first turned into whipped puree. Sometimes a puff cake was made from apple marshmallow, alternating layers with berry marshmallow. At the end of the nineteenth century, honey began to be substituted for sugar in cooking.

Artist Vladimir Makovsky


Russian kulaga (there is also Belarusian, more popularized) was prepared literally from three components: rye malt, rye flour and viburnum berries. The malt was diluted with boiling water, allowed to brew, and then flour and viburnum were added and the dough was kneaded. A piece of rye bread crust was added and the dough was allowed to ferment. After that, they put it in a patch, sealed it tightly, covered the joints with the same dough and put it in a heated oven all night. There the dough fermented without air access, fermenting in a special way.

The result was a dish with a characteristic sweet-sour taste, very satisfying, and also rich in vitamins of group B, C and P. It was not only delicious, but also beneficial for some health problems.Kulaga was fed to people with liver, kidney, gallbladder and heart problems, as well as those showing symptoms of neurological problems (which are often caused by a lack of B vitamins).

Artist Vladimir Kirillov


Mazunya, or Mazunya, is a sweet pasta that substituted Nutella for Russian peasants. No, not that it looked like it - it was just very popular with wealthy peasants, priests and merchants with a sweet spread on a sandwich. Mazun was prepared, depending on the region, from radish, watermelon or dried cherries (the latter was popular in the manor houses). Moreover, the most Russian recipe is the one with radish.

This hot-tasting vegetable was cut into pieces and dried in the sun or in the oven. The dried radish was pounded into flour. Freshly prepared white molasses was poured into it (it differs from the more popular black molasses in that it is prepared from starch, not sugar). Spices were added to the resulting mixture, such as black pepper and cloves, less often nutmeg. All together they languished in the oven for two days, properly sealing the pot. What happened was usually smeared on bread. The consistency of mazun was very thick, pleasantly velvety, the color was milk chocolate, the taste was spicy, with bitterness, and sweetish at the same time.

Artist Vasily Malyshev

Just put it in the oven

Since heat helps to caramelize sugar, which is already contained in some fruits, and also makes the taste of any natural gift brighter, more concentrated due to drying, many delicacies were prepared very simply: put in the oven, get out of the oven.

Such delicacies included roasted nuts. Although they were boiled, first of all, so that the shells were easy to snap with their teeth, the nut dried in the oven tasted better than the raw one. Later, at the end of the nineteenth century, in the markets began to sell nuts in a sugar shell - peeled, moistened with water, dumped in sugar, and then dried in an oven so that the sugar formed a caramel crust.

Cooked in the oven "boys". Contrary to the name, the so-called not steamed, wet, vegetables, but, on the contrary, dried in small cubes. For the boy, they took vegetables with a high sugar content - carrots, beets, turnips. This delicacy was very popular with peasant children.

Artist Leonid Milovanov

Apples were also baked in the oven, only, unlike carrots and beets, they were not chopped. They cut out the core without cutting through the apple, so that the juice emerged and there were no hard parts. Then, in the oven, the apple became naturally sweet. In richer houses, grated berries (viburnum was popular), sugar, jam, a mixture of nuts and honey were placed in the core.

Even those Russian dishes that are now popular have changed a lot in the recipe: 5 traditional Russian dishes that were cooked in a completely different way than today.

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