Cook Karelian pies on the Kizhi Island

Victoria Derzhavina | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Kizhi, a small island in Onega Lake, attracts visitors not only in summer but in winter as well. Wooden architectural ensemble looks wonderful in winter. Here, you can enter the winter Intercession Church and a winter part of a peasant's house. To get warm after a tour, you can participate in a workshop and cook Karelian pies called kalitki, the oldest traditional pasties of this region. For this, you are invited to a peasant's house with a Russian furnace and samovar.

Photo © credits to Margarita Vdovina

Back to the early 20th century

The territory of the Kizhi Museum is the most famous and most popular part of the island. However, the other part of the island is no less interesting. There are a few villages where people live all year round. For making Karelian pies, you would go to Berezkina’s house in Yamka village. Inside the house, a Karelian mistress welcomes you and invites you to the kitchen. The interior, family photos of the owners on the walls, a Russian furnace, wooden and birchbark vessels takes you back to the early 20th century.

Photo © credits to Margarita Vdovina

Kalitki should be thin and perfectly oval

Kalitki, or Karelian pies, are traditional open pies with a rye crust filled with millet porridge or mashed potato. Firstly, you have to knead quite a hard dough, and every participant gets a rolling pin and a ball of dough, which you have to roll. Then you add the filling and pinch the edges. Kalitki should be thin and perfectly oval. All the pies are put onto a tray, just remember where is yours.

Photo © credits to Anna Ankhimova
Photo © credits to Anna Ankhimova

Samovar is getting ready

In the meantime, a samovar is getting ready. The samovar’s pipe is put into a special hole of the furnace to remove smoke. Samovar creates different sounds like “singing”, “murmur”, and when it “rumbles like a storm”, it means the water is ready for the tea. While your pies are being baked, you take tea with herbs and kalitkas baked for you by the mistress. She will tell you how her grandparents lived, how they cooked, and what were the tea-drinking traditions in the past.

Photo © credits to Anna Ankhimova

When your pies are baked, spread a warm butter all around them with a brush. You can eat your own kalitka here or take it with you. Your transport is ready to take you back to the city. In old times, people reached the Kizhi Island in winter by a horse cart, which took them many hours. Nowadays, you can reach it quite quickly by a helicopter, hovercraft or a snowmobile, spend a few hours on the Kizhi Island, enjoy the museum of wooden architecture and winter landscapes, as well as become a guest of a Karelian mistress and cook Karelian pies.

Photo © credits to Anna Ankhimova

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