Vatrushka Pie

A delicious sweet pie filled with curd cheese and sultanas or seedless raisins, Vatrushka Pie may be served as a dessert with a fruit compote.

4-6 SERVINGS DOUGH

2 oz. fresh yeast

2 tablespoons plus

1 teaspoon sugar

4 fl. oz. lukewarm milk

8 oz. flour

2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 oz. butter

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

FILLING

12 lb. curd cheese

4 oz. Vanilla Sugar

2 oz. sultanas or seedless raisins

2 eggs

2 fl. oz. double cream grated rind of

1 lemon

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in 1 teaspoon of the sugar with a kitchen fork. Add 4 tablespoons of the milk and cream the milk and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour and the salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, the remaining milk and the eggs. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place for 30 to 45 minutes or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead in the remaining sugar, the butter and lemon rind.

Re-shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the cloth and return it to a warm, draught- free place for a further 45 minutes or until it has doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out on to a floured surface and knead it for 5 minutes. Roll the dough out into a circle large enough to fit into a 10-inch flan tin. Lift the dough on a rolling pin and lay it over the flan tin. Gently ease the dough into the bottom and sides of the tin. Using a sharp knife, trim off any excess dough. Return to the warm place and let it rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to fairly hot 400°F (Gas Mark 6, 200°C).

Place the curd cheese, vanilla sugar and sultanas or seedless raisins, eggs, cream and lemon rind in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, beat the ingredients together until they are thoroughly combined.

Pour the curd cheese mixture into the dough case and place the case in the centre of the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until it has risen and is golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven and serve immediately, or set aside to cool com- pletely before serving.

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