Sour cream tartlets with berries: An ideal summer Soviet dessert (RECIPE)

Victoria Drey
Today, the well-loved in USSR pastries, “korzinochki,” are not that widespread and sold mostly in old-school style confectionaries – another reason to cook homemade ones.

These small shortcrust tartlets – or “korzinochki” as they are named in Russia – were one of the most popular types of dessert in the USSR. Since the mid 20th century you could easily find them in most confectionaries, grocery stores and even company and school canteens. They were pretty much always in stock, despite the shortages of lots of food products. 

Traditionally, korzinochki were filled with either buttercream or egg white cream and also decorated with some cream flowers, leaves and mushrooms. There were actually dozens of tartlet variations, so they also made them with numerous fillings: jelly, canned fruits and berries, jams and varenie, nut cream and even zephyr filling. The only constant for all of the possible tartlet types was a shortcrust base that was always baked in small metal tarts shells with scalloped edges.

I absolutely love the concept of these tartlets. However, I find most of the traditional fillings such as buttercream to be too rich and sugary. Instead of using heavy butter or eggs for my cream I went for another traditional Russian pastry filling – sour cream with the minimum amount of sugar that will leave you with an absolutely scrumptious taste. Add some fresh seasonal berries on top, and here you have your ideal summer treats with a hint of Soviet style. 

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 160g plain flour
  • 70g butter
  • 40g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar / extract
  • a pinch of salt

Ingredients for the cream:

  • 150g heavy cream (at least 30% fat)
  • 150g sour cream (at least 20% fat)
  • 2-3 tbsps powdered sugar
  • seasonal berries for decorating

Cooking:

1. Using a mixer, in a large bowl whisk butter with sugar for a couple of minutes until the mixture becomes feathery and the sugar grains almost dissolve. 

2. Next, add vanilla sugar or extract, an egg and whisk for another 3-5 minutes until smooth and airy consistency. 

3. Finally, add flour with baking powder and salt, and knead the pastry: start with a spatula and continue kneading with hands. You better work fast so that the butter does not melt. You should get a non-sticky, quite thick but still elastic shortcrust pastry. Round it into a ball, slightly flatten, wrap in cling film and leave in the fringe for half an hour. 

4. Then, divide the pastry into 8-10 balls, depending on the size of your baking forms. I have some authentic tart pans with scalloped edges, but if you don’t have these, feel free to use any small tart or muffin pans. 

5. Working with one piece at a time; equally spread it over the form with fingers, and repeat with the rest. Prick the bottoms with a fork and transfer the forms into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes so that the pastry cools.

6. Bake tarts at 210°C for around 15 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. Take out of the oven and let cool completely. 

7. Meanwhile, prepare the cream: whip very cold heavy cream until stiff peaks appear. 

8. In a separate bowl, whisk sour cream with powdered sugar for a minute – the more fat in the sour cream, the better the cream will hold shape. Then, add whipped cream and gently mix together with a spatula until it has a smooth and creamy consistency. 

9. Put the cream into a piping bag and fill the cooled tarts – you may also use a regular spoon for filling. 

10. Add some fresh seasonal berries – strawberry and black cherry in my case – on top, and leave your tarts in the fridge for a couple hours. Some time is needed for the cream to get a moussy consistency. Priyatnogo appetita!

READ MORE: Oladyi: Babushka's perfect breakfast on a lazy weekend

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