Russian chemist bakes sumptuous scientific pies at Yale (PHOTOS)

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Usually, women don't cook pies with a Pi figure or Mendeleev’s Periodic Law of Chemical Elements on top, but Elvira Sayfutyarova does. That's the way the young researcher relaxes.

"Science is my passion and cooking is my hobby; both are essential parts of my life", says Elvira Sayfutyarova.

Woven Pi-pie for the Pi(e) day before baking.

In her youth, Elvira was very interested in exact sciences, thus her choice of the Department of Chemistry at the Lomonosov Moscow State University wasn’t made by chance.

Pie with Chemical Elements on top.

After her studies in Moscow and some work outside of academia, she graduated from Princeton with a PhD in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry in 2017. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Yale University, and plans to apply for a faculty job in the near future. 

This doesn't prevent her from baking pies. Elvira, born in Dyurtyuli, a small town in the Republic of Bashkortostan (1,150 km west of Moscow), started cooking when she was nine years old.

For March 8, an International Women’s day, Elvira did not want to put flowers or other stereotypical symbols traditionally associated with women on the pie; she put something all women have in common — XX chromosomes.

Nowadays, she cooks everything – from easy soups to complicated desserts and sourdough bread. She cooks international dishes and Russian cuisine – her husband loves it; and she astounds her Yale colleagues with Tatar specialties, such as uchpochmacks, which is a traditional triangle-shaped meat pastry.


Pesto garlic bread.

Her Instagram followers can enjoy various pies. One of the most eye-catching techniques that she uses for decorating is weaving a lattice top. "Since I like to entertain myself with brain-teasers and challenging tasks, I wanted to try more complex weaving patterns – you can find inspiration in textile patterns and knitting books".

Rhubarb tart.

To add some contrast to her pie-lattices she started to color the dough. She uses beetroot and blueberry powders, cacao and matcha, but sometimes she simply uses spinach or beet juice to achieve the same result. 

Apple cinnamon pie with a green matcha lattice top.

"I always make my dough from scratch – this gives me an opportunity to control the list of ingredients,” Elvira says. I can put whole wheat or unbleached flour instead of bleached wheat flour, for example, or add less/no sugar and choose naturally sweet filling for my pies – berries, fruits".

At the moment, decorative baking is a hobby for Elvira, a way of relaxing. "Some people watch movies after work; I bake. Since my work involves programming and other activities with my laptop, I prefer to relax by cooking, hiking or doing sports".

Some of Elvira’s pies are inspired by nature – with squirrels, owls and other animals. Probably, this love is explained by her childhood spent in a rural area, where she helped her mother with gardening and her grandma with cattle.

Cranberry pie with a squirrel and acorns.

"I often use dough in the same way kids use plasticine when creating small figures, and I don’t use any fancy tools, just my hands and small knives," says the young lady.

Blueberry pie with the view of the Red Square in Moscow.

Read more: Some cakes are too good to eat, until you taste them (PHOTOS)

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