I really like to read stories about food, various habits and different cultures’ cuisines. That’s why I’m really glad that on the food forum I often visit, we have a custom of so called theme weeks. The theme can be whatever – it can be a cuisine of a given country, some particular ingredient or even a … color. Doesn’t really matter, the point is to have fun and cook something together. Last week we were having a Russian cuisine festival. Since I was pretty busy, I decided to go for something easy yet with a history. That’s how I came up to this recipe. The pastries are called kolyadki and they are baked for the ceremony called likewise. The festivity includes wishing of wealth and happiness for everybody.
The practice comes from pagan times, but as many others it has adapted well into Christian celebrations. On Christmas Eve groups of young people travel across the villages and sing songs called kolyadki. Some of those are about general well being while others are sung for baby Jesus. Before Christianity has arrived, those songs were homages to ancient solar goddess Kolyada, who according to tales, was responsible for bringing the lengthening days of sunlight. People usually wear costumes that impersonate them to manger animals. As a reward, they get money and food from inhabitants. Those pastries here, are traditionally baked for them.
So do you still wonder why I just HAD TO bake them? I find the story pretty enchanting and for me making the food is not only about tastes but also about experiencing customs – I just love when the food I’m eating has actually some story to tell. I have found the recipe here. It seems like they can have many various fillings – I have chosen the easiest one – just berries (plus a bit of potato flour to absorb the liquid) sprinkled with sugar.
The pastries are really simple. They may not be fit for everyone’s taste, particularly when one is not keen on rye. Definitely though, I believe that those are one of the very few pastries that you can eat without any guilt while you’re dieting 😉 . Packed with fiber and antioxidants, they also are basically without fat. Myself, I prefer when they are warm, served with a dollop of yogurt. I also think that the dough should be actually rolled thin – I’ve just patted it with my hands.