Russian Oven: Gagarin pie, a cosmically delicious treat

Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside: this cake won the affection of the Earth's first cosmonaut. Give me one reason why you shouldn’t try the Gagarin pie?

It won’t give you superpowers to conquer gravity, but it will please your taste buds for sure. You probably haven't heard of this small pastry with a berry-chocolate filling, but it was beloved by Yuri Gagarin whose pioneer space flight occurred 55 years ago this month.

A crisp crust, a tender souffle, creamy chocolate and refreshing notes of berry: what else do you need for a perfect dessert?

Let's get to work!

Make sure you have:

  • 400g (1.3 cups) flour
  • 250g (1.1 cups) butter
  • 250g (1.25 cups) sugar
  • 250g (2.5 cups) berries (we used cranberries, but cherries are also a great option)
  • 4 eggs
  • 15g (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
  • 10g (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 70g (9 tablespoons) kissel powder (this is normally used to prepare kissel, a traditional Russian jelly drink; if you can’t find kissel powder, use 2 tablespoons of farina)

Now for the dough

Mix sifted flour and cold butter; rub the blend until it becomes powder.

Add 50g of sugar and baking powder; stir.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Make a hole in the center of the dough and pour the yolks in. Mix the dough.

Cut the dough into 3 pieces. Put the smallest one into the freezer for 30 minutes. Add cocoa powder to the medium piece of dough and twist and rub it into a ball. Put the chocolate ball into the freezer for 20-25 minutes.

Spread the largest piece of dough into the baking pan. Put it into the fridge for an hour.

Place the berries, previously dredged in flour, on top of the cooled dough. Take the frozen piece of chocolate dough and grate it over the berry layer.

Now let's cook the souffle

Beat the egg whites until they foam and gradually add 200g of sugar. Then beat the blend until it becomes hard.

Pour in the kissel powder (or farina) and continue beating.

Pour the souffle on top of the cake.

Last but not least: the topping

Take the small piece of dough from the freezer and grate it over the souffle. Place the cake into the preheated oven. Bake at 160 C (320 F) for an hour.

Enjoy!

Russian Oven is a video series devoted to Russian pastries, featuring traditional age-old pies and cakes, inventive cookies and tarts of recent years, plus Soviet classics and much more. Stay tuned!

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