Tsvetaeva strawberry pie: A summer twist on a Russian poet’s favorite dessert (RECIPE)

Try another version of the recipe that made its way from poet Marina Tsvetaeva’s memoirs to popular Russian cuisine.

Try another version of the recipe that made its way from poet Marina Tsvetaeva’s memoirs to popular Russian cuisine.

Victoria Drey
Tender shortcrust pie combined with a smooth sour cream filling that has a berry flavor – what else could be better for a warm summer tea?

Surprisingly, it’s still a kind of mystery why this pie, which is beloved in many Russian families, has the name of one of the most iconic Russian poets, Marina Tsvetaeva.  A similar pie was once mentioned in the memoirs of Tsvetaeva’s sister, Anastasia. As children they loved eating sour cream pies with apple flavor at the dacha during the summer. The memoirs, however, lack a specific recipe, so I consider ‘Tsvetaeva pie' to be inspired by the poet’s family memoirs. 

What I truly love about this pie is adding a generous amount of sour cream to literally every step of cooking, from the pie to the stuffing. Sour cream is one of the most significant ingredients in Russian baking, and adding this dairy into the short pie makes it more tender and richer in taste. And the same goes with the filling. I’d even call sour cream a good Slavic alternative to cream cheese – it gives desserts a very similar signature sourish hint with a unique creamy consistency. 

What about the second part of the filling, the traditional version of Tsvetaeva pie calls for the apples – however, sour cream base also goes perfectly with lots of other fruits and especially berries. So why don’t try adding the most summerish berry into the recipe?

Unlike other berries, I often feel like strawberries don’t perform well after being defrosted. So, I prefer cooking my strawberry bakery and desserts specifically during the summer season – when they are fresh and top delicious. 

Ingredients for the pie:

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 100 g sour cream (20-30% fat)
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 350 g sour cream (25-35% fat)
  • 300-400 g fresh strawberry
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
  • 1/3 tsp salt


1. Start with the crust: in a bowl mix softened butter with sugar.

2. Add sour cream and mix until smooth. Next comes the flour: sift it with baking powder and salt right onto the mixture; start mixing with a spatula and continue kneading on the cooking surface.

3. I recommend first add around 180 g of flour and then add another tablespoon if needed. You should get a very soft and elastic piece that does not stick to your hands. Set the dough aside for 5 minutes to rest.

4. Meanwhile, prepare strawberry: cut each berry in 3-4 slices. For this recipe choose firm and not soft strawberries – it’s important that they don’t run much while baking.

5. Now back to the dough – spread it over the bottom and edges of your baking form.

6. Then, layer strawberry slices over the bottom. If you feel like your berries are too watery I recommend dusting them with a small amount of cornstarch. 

7. Make the liquid part of the filling: in a bowl whisk eggs with sugar, vanilla sugar or extract and a pinch of salt.

8. Add flour, sour cream and whisk until smooth.

9. Pour the liquid filling over the strawberry layer, make sure you cover all berry slices well. Bake at 170°C for around 50 minutes – the pie might slightly jiggle in the middle; that’s ok.

10. Allow your strawberry Tsvetaeva pie to completely cool or better chill in the fridge for 3-5 hours – this way it becomes even more tender and creamy in texture. Enjoy a slice with a cup of black tea – priyatnogo appetita!

READ MORE: Try these 5 "Russian babushka" recipes for a strawberry summer


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