According to legend, the name "iris" was given to this milk caramel by French confectioner Morne, who worked in St. Petersburg in the early 20th century. He noticed that during the cooking process a pattern appeared on the cooled caramel’s surface that resembled the iris flower’s petals.
Morne’s comparison is beautiful, but during Soviet times these confections were mostly famous for being “the terror of dental fillings.” There were a few types of iris candy, depending on their texture and consistency. The two most popular were Kis-Kis and Tuzik, both the viscous sort. However, Kis-kis was originally hard as a rock, and then it rapidly melted in your mouth and become gooey, resulting in dental filling loss.
Tuzik was simply too soft and would dissolve almost immediately. The other popular brand was Zolotoy klyuchik, a much more delicate, rich and creamy-caramel flavor: the best standard of the semi-solid type of “iris.”
Despite the textural differences these sweets never lost their popularity, and for many Soviet citizens it was a good substitute for the more desired but equally scarce American chewing gum. Above all, these candies were simply delicious and were relatively harmless because they’re one of the few treats allowed for people on a strict diet and who must watch their sugar consumption.
Judge for yourself: It takes a good amount of time for the candy to dissolve, which gives you time to finish your tea. So, it’s not only convenient but also economical.
Iriski were loved not only for their rich creamy taste, but also for their beautiful wrappers. Especially coveted were Kis-kis (in Russian, it’s the sound you make to call a cat), which featured little neat cubes with elegant golden stripes and a black kitten next to a chimney. The wrapper was worth collecting, as many did!
1. Mix butter and sugar in a pot. Stir until butter melts and the mixture becomes homogeneous.
2. Add honey and condensed milk, and continue stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower the heat.
3. Cook the mixture for 10-15 minutes or until it takes on a deep golden-brown color. Stir continuously to avoid burning at the bottom of the pot.
4. Grease the mold that you’ll pour your caramel into, (preferably a glass one). Pour the mixture once it’s ready, and let cool completely.
5. Grease your knife with butter, and cut the caramel into tiny bricks and wrap in wax paper. Priyatnogo appetita!
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