Soviet guilt and pleasure: Communist meringue 'Polyot' cake

Let your tastebuds take flight with this creamy delight!

Let your tastebuds take flight with this creamy delight!

Legion Media/Legion Media
This Soviet classic cake is definitely not a healthy treat. But does it really matter if the delectable cream just melts in your mouth?

Every Soviet housewife knew how to make her family feel themselves on top of the world. Of course, the right way was to make the most delectable dessert!
Pie shells, ground pea, butter cream - everyone was aware that these ingredients come together to make the Polyot (flight) cake.

The history of this treat is steeped in mystery, and no ancient chronicle makes any mention of it. Polyot seems to just have appeared out of nowhere. It has much in common with the renowned Kiyevskiy cake created in 1956 in Kiev, but there is no indisputable proof that Polyot is a transformed Kiyevskiy.

Nevertheless, here is the classical Soviet recipe, the one that our grandmothers followed when preparing for big holidays. Now you have the chance to make it, as well!

Ingredients for pie shells:
  • 130 g ground pea (can be replaced by cashew or almond)
  • 5 egg whites
  • 320 g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the Charlotte cream:

  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon cognac
  • 100 ml milk

How to make it:

  1. Fry the peanuts for 15 minutes, peel and grind.
  2. Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff, gradually add sugar and vanilla sugar. The process should take no less than 7-8 minutes. Take out one teaspoon of dough; (you’ll need it later). Add ground pea, and stir gently. Take out another teaspoon of dough (with ground pea).
  3. Divide the dough into two parts, put them on baking paper in the form of two round scones (about 8-9 inches in diameter). Put the two pending teaspoons of dough on that baking paper, and make small meringues out of one of them. Bake in the oven for 2 hours at 100 C.
  4. Time to make the cream! Mix egg yolk with milk, put on low heat. Wait for a couple of minutes, add sugar and vanilla sugar; then bring to a boil. After about 4 minutes, when the mix gets thick, let cool.
  5. Beat the butter with vanilla sugar, add to the mix. Add cognac.
  6. Now let’s make the cake. Take out 1 teaspoon of cream, and divide the remaining cream into two parts. Spread the first part in the pie shell, put another pie shell on top. Spread the second part of the cream on the top and side of the cake.
  7. It’s time to take care of the two remaining teaspoons of dough that were baked in the oven. According to All-Union State standard, they should be used for decoration of the Polyot cake. Put the small meringues on top of the cake. Crumble the remaining amount of dough (the one with ground pea), and sprinkle over the cake.
Pay attention to these cooking tips – in case of allergies, or if you dislike alcohol, then don’t add cognac. And if you prefer less sweet desserts, just add less sugar.
You’ll need to wait a few hours before serving your Polyot; the cream should soak into the pie shells. But it’s definitely worth it!

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