The Russian name for blueberries, chernika, is associated with cherny (“black”), since they blacken the mouth and fingers when hand-picked. Blueberry shrubs grow mainly in the north, as well as in forest (often pine) and swamp areas. What’s more, medicinal properties are attributed to both the berries (vision, cardiovascular disease) and the leaves (early diabetes).
Kalitki are traditional open pies from the Karelia region made from unleavened rye dough with a filling. They are also called “North Russian tartlets”. Located on the border with Finland, Karelia is known for its lakes, pine forests and, of course, blueberries.
Recipe: Wash and dry blueberries (200 g). Sift rye (150 g) and wheat (100 g) flour separately, add salt and sugar (a pinch each) and mix. Divide the flour into two parts, add a pinch of baking soda to one, mix and place to one side. Pour the second part of the flour onto the table, make a hollow in the center, pour in milk (90 ml), melted butter (30 g) and one egg, add sugar (1 tsp) and salt (a pinch). Scooping the flour from the edges to the center, knead the dough. Gradually adding the first part of flour and baking soda, knead the stiffening dough. It should be smooth and pliable, but still stick a little to your hands. Leave the dough for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200-220°С, grease a baking tray with vegetable oil.
Roll the dough into a sausage shape, cut into equal parts (about 10). Roll out each part into a round or oval flatbread, place berries in the middle and pinch the edges. Bake the kalitki for 15 minutes at 180-200°C until lightly browned. So that the crust is not too hard, grease with melted butter.
This recipe is not suitable for those on a diet because the pies are fried in a pan and the dough contains rather fatty smetana. But everyone else will be blown away by the fried crust and sweet-and-sour berry filling.
Recipe: Beat chicken eggs (2 pcs) and sugar (4 tbsp). Pour in vegetable oil (2 tbsp) and stir. Add smetana (20%, 4 tbsp), salt (1/4 tsp), baking powder (1 tsp) and mix. Sift flour (3 cups) into the mass, stirring constantly, and knead the elastic dough. Shape the resulting dough into a sausage and cut into 12 equal parts. Roll each part into a ball, then roll out flat, lay on blueberries (about 25 per pie) and sprinkle with sugar. Shape into boat-shaped patties. Preheat a frying pan with vegetable oil and lay out the pies in it. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
If you don't have time for pies or tartlets, you can make a pudding. No dough means less to do. The main thing is to have curd and berries in the refrigerator.
Recipe: Whisk egg yolks (2 pcs) with sugar (70 g) and vanilla (a pinch) with a mixer. Add curd (600 g) and continue whisking until smooth. Throw in semolina (5 tbsp) and blueberries (150 g). Beat the egg whites separately (2 pcs) and gently introduce them into the mass. Grease a tray with vegetable oil, and place the curd mass on it. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°С for 30 minutes.
This recipe combines all the ingredients of a perfect breakfast: oatmeal, egg, curd and berries. The result is mouth-watering fritters with blueberry “eyes”.
Recipe: Grind oatmeal (1 cup) in a blender, add mashed curd (100 g), kefir (100 ml) and eggs (2 pcs). Mix everything and add blueberries (1 cup). Leave the dough for 15 minutes. It remains to fry the fritters in vegetable oil. Best to fry them in a non-stick pan over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side under a lid. Serve with honey or smetana.
This viscous fruit dish is very nutritious and so, depending on the ingredients, can be consumed as either a drink or a standalone dish. In any case, kissel is great on warm summer days when you’re not hungry. Even better, you can adjust the sweetness without affecting the blueberry taste.
Recipe: Wash blueberries (30 g), add water (200 ml), boil for 10 minutes, then leave for 15 minutes. After that, strain, add sugar (2 tsp) and boil again. Add potato starch (10 g) diluted with cold boiled water (100 ml), and mix. Then, without letting it boil, remove from the stove and add lemon juice (1 tsp).
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