Kalitki (Калитки)

Kalitki (Калитки)

Kalitki (singular – kalitka) are small open-faced pies popular in the regions where the Veps or Vepsians live – in Karelia and east of St. Petersburg, for example in the Tikhvin district. The Veps language is related to Finnish and Estonian. Speaking of Tikhvin, what famous Russian composer was born there? The answer is after the recipe.

Kalitki resemble vatrushka or even pizza but they are a very different kind of pie. The most important difference is that they are made from unleavened rye (or mostly rye) dough. In the very old days they were filled with cooked millets, oats, mushrooms, fresh cheese, or even berries. Today mashed potato filling is very popular, and that is what we’ll use in this recipe. Since the dough is unleavened, the shells of kalitki should be made very thin, much thinner than in vatrushkas or pizza.  Dough made exclusively with rye flour can be difficult to manage, especially if the rye flour is coarsely ground old-fashioned style. Replacing  1/3 of the flour with all-purpose wheat flour gives much better results. Kalitki come in different shapes: round, oval, square, or even polygonal. The sides can be folded over or pleated; it all depends on individual cook’s preferences as well as local tradition.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works well) or just sour milk
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 cups rye flour
  • 1½ cups all-purpose wheat flour

Filling

  • 8 large potatoes – use golden potatoes for a richer color (but not sweet potatoes).
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup sour cream

Top Coating

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp. or more salt
  • 4 Tbs. butter for greasing the baking sheet and brushing on the finished kalitki.

Directions

  1. Boil the potatoes unpeeled. While the potatoes are boiling, make the dough.
  2. Mix the yogurt, milk, and enough rye and wheat flour (but keep the correct rye to wheat ratio) to make dough that doesn’t stick to fingers or the walls of the container. Note that salt is not typically used in kalitki dough although you can add some if you absolutely cannot live without it.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball, cover it, and let stand while you work on the filling.
  4. Test potatoes with a fork to make sure they are soft enough for mashing. When they are ready, pour off water and let them cool to touch.
  5. Peel the boiled potatoes and remove any dark areas and other imperfections
  6. Mash the potatoes
  7. Add butter, salt to taste, and mix well
  8. Add the eggs and egg whites (save two egg yolks), and whip into a smooth paste. Add enough sour cream to make the mashed potato paste spreadable. Be sure the mashed potatoes are not too hot or they’ll cook the eggs when you add them.
  9. Prepare top coating: lightly whip the sour cream with egg yolks and salt. You can use more salt than ½ tsp. if you prefer.
  10. Beware of salmonella if you taste anything with raw eggs in it.
  11. Turn on the oven and set it to 425°F
  12. Grease baking sheets with butter
  13. Melt some butter for brushing on cooked kalitki
  14. On a surface well dusted with wheat flour, roll out the dough into a sausage about 2 inches thick and then slice it into pieces 1 inch in thickness. Make the pieces larger or smaller depending on the size of the kalitki you want.
  15. On a surface well dusted with wheat flour, roll out individual pieces into round, oval, or square sheets about 1/10 inch thick.
  16. You don’t need to be perfect: it’s home-style food. If your shells tear easily and you are ending up with holes and ragged edges, your dough may not have enough wheat flour. You should be able to roll the dough into thin sheets without huge effort or making holes.
  17. Stack the shells you’ve just made. Be sure both sides are coated with enough flour they don’t stick together while waiting for their turn to be filled.
  18. Evenly spread a layer of mashed potato filling, about ½ inch thick, on top of each shell leaving off about an inch around the edges.
  19. Fold the edges over the filling making a square box (open in the center), or pleat them – see the pictures.
  20. Carefully transfer kalitki to the baking sheet and arrange them leaving some space between the individual pieces.
  21. Generously coat the filling that is not covered by the dough with the sour cream/egg yolk mix. For a better look, stay away from the folded edges of the shell. Just coat the top of the filling and don’t let the coating drip off the sides.
  22. Bake your kalitki at 425°F for about 20-25 minutes until you start seeing brown patches on the top
  23. Remove from oven and transfer onto a cooling rack
  24. Brush melted butter onto the sides and folded edges of the shells (but not the top of the filling – don’t disturb it)
  25. Let stand for about 10 minutes and serve warm
  26. Traditionally kalitki are served with milk. You can even dip them in milk especially if you didn’t follow the instructions and ended up with a crust that is too tough and thick.

Kalitki (Калитки)
Recipe Type: Entree, Pastry
Author: Russian Recipe Book
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 15
Kalitki – small open-faced pies made of rye dough shells and filled with mashed potatoes. A traditional Russian recipe.
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (Greek yogurt works well) or just sour milk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups rye flour
  • 1½ cups all-purpose wheat flour
  • Filling:
  • 8 large potatoes – use golden potatoes for a richer color (but not sweet potatoes).
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Top Coating:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. or more salt
  • 4 Tbs. butter for greasing the baking sheet and brushing on the finished kalitki.
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes unpeeled. While the potatoes are boiling, make the dough.
  2. Mix the yogurt, milk, and enough rye and wheat flour (but keep the correct rye to wheat ratio) to make dough that doesn’t stick to fingers or the walls of the container. Note that salt is not typically used in kalitki dough although you can add some if you absolutely cannot live without it.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball, cover it, and let stand while you work on the filling.
  4. Test potatoes with a fork to make sure they are soft enough for mashing. When they are ready, pour off water and let them cool to touch.
  5. Peel the boiled potatoes and remove any dark areas and other imperfections
  6. Mash the potatoes
  7. Add butter, salt to taste, and mix well
  8. Add the eggs and egg whites (save two egg yolks), and whip into a smooth paste. Add enough sour cream to make the mashed potato paste spreadable. Be sure the mashed potatoes are not too hot or they’ll cook the eggs when you add them.
  9. Prepare top coating: lightly whip the sour cream with egg yolks and salt. You can use more salt than ½ tsp. if you prefer. Beware of salmonella if you taste anything with raw eggs in it.
  10. Turn on the oven and set it to 425°F
  11. Grease baking sheets with butter
  12. Melt some butter for brushing on cooked kalitki
  13. On a surface well dusted with wheat flour, roll out the dough into a sausage about 2 inches thick and then slice it into pieces 1 inch in thickness. Make the pieces larger or smaller depending on the size of the kalitki you want.
  14. On a surface well dusted with wheat flour, roll out individual pieces into round, oval, or square sheets about 1/10 inch thick. You don’t need to be perfect: it’s home-style food. If your shells tear easily and you are ending up with holes and ragged edges, your dough may not have enough wheat flour. You should be able to roll the dough into thin sheets without huge effort or making holes.
  15. Stack the shells you’ve just made. Be sure both sides are coated with enough flour they don’t stick together while waiting for their turn to be filled.
  16. Evenly spread a layer of mashed potato filling, about ½ inch thick, on top of each shell leaving off about an inch around the edges.
  17. Fold the edges over the filling making a square box (open in the center), or pleat them – see the pictures.
  18. Carefully transfer kalitki to the baking sheet and arrange them leaving some space between the individual pieces.
  19. Generously coat the filling that is not covered by the dough with the sour cream/egg yolk mix. For a better look, stay away from the folded edges of the shell. Just coat the top of the filling and don’t let the coating drip off the sides.
  20. Bake your kalitki at 425°F for about 20-25 minutes until you start seeing brown patches on the top
  21. Remove from oven and transfer onto a cooling rack
  22. Brush melted butter onto the sides and folded edges of the shells (but not the top of the filling – don’t disturb it)
  23. Let stand for about 10 minutes and serve warm
  24. Traditionally kalitki are served with milk. You can even dip them in milk especially if you didn’t follow the instructions and ended up with a crust that is too tough and thick.

Russian name: калитки

 

Kalitki come in different shapes

 

The shells of Kalitki should be thin

Answer to the earlier quiz question: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a famous Russian composer was born in the town of Tikhvin in 1844. In popular culture, his most famous composition is probably Flight of the Bumblebee from Act 3 of the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan. This piece has become a favorite among speed demons who perform it on a wide range of musical instruments. Just go to YouTube and see for yourself.

 

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