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Four-corner Kulebiaka

(Kulebyaka na chetyre ugla)

Ingredients:

For the yeast dough:

0.6 quart water

2.2 lbs flour

3 teaspoons dry yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

1 heaping teaspoon salt

Half a cup (3 oz) vegetable oil

1 egg for glazing the pie

For unleavened pancakes (blini):

2 cups water

1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1-2 eggs

Half a teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the fillings:

8 eggs

1 bunch green onions

1 bunch fresh dill

1.3 lbs cod fillet

1.3 lbs salmon fillet

0.9 lb champignons (button mushrooms)

4 oz half-and-half

Salt

Pinch of each black and red ground pepper




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This amazing Russian pie is worthy of a royal table. Our detailed instructions will help you make it. You’ll fall in love with it – and your skill is sure to impress your friends.

“Four-corner” means that the various fillings in this pie are layered on an angle. In each slice you will see four different fillings completely separated from each other. This tastes amazing and looks very impressive. Years ago some of the most skillful chefs in Moscow restaurants prepared 12-corner kulebiakas, so compared to that making a four-corner one is no biggie!

You can make this with any fillings you like. Any pie fillings you love can go into a kulebiaka: meat, chicken, offal, stewed cabbage, potatoes with onions – anything your heart desires. Keep in mind though that if using meat or chicken for the filling you’ll have to cook them first. Fish, however, can be used raw – it cooks fast, even in a pie.

So, shall we? The famous Russian saying goes “you never know what you can do till you try”!

Let’s start with the yeast dough; it’s very simple.


Pour 0.6 quarts of the warm(90-100F) water into a deep bowl. Add three tablespoons of the sugar. Add three teaspoons of the dry active yeast (if using fresh yeast , put in 2 oz). Wet the yeast with the water a little without stirring and set aside for 10-15 minutes.


The yeast will start expanding; you will see that by a foamy cap formiing on its surface.

Add one heaping teaspoon of the salt to the water and stir well.

Pour all the flour into the bowl (2.2 lbs).

Start kneading the dough stirring the flour and the liquid with one hand.

As you knead, pour in the vegetable oil.

Don’t try to knead the batter till it’s completely smooth; your goal here is to have the flour absorb all the liquid and getting rid of noticeable flour lumps.

Set the dough aside for 20 minutes.

That’s the time that the gluten needs to expand (this is what makes the dough elastic). Of course you can continue kneading the dough for 40 minutes as your grandma used to (if you knead non-stop it’ll take significantly longer) – or you can take the easy way out and let the dough work on itself while you use your time for something else.

In 20 minutes transfer the dough onto the working surface and quickly press it all around rolling it into a ball.

The dough will become smooth and uniform almost immediately.

Return the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying up and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.

In half an hour return the noticeably risen dough to the working surface and press it all over again.


Roll it into a ball, transfer back into the bowl and cover with plastic.

Set the dough aside for another 35-40 minutes for the final rising.

While the dough is rising for the first and the second time, you can make the pancakes for the layering and filling.

To make these, mix together two cups of the water, one cup and two tablespoons of the flour, 1-2 eggs and the half of a teaspoon of the salt. Mix the pancake batter with a whisk till completely smooth.
Pour in four tablespoons of the vegetable oil and mix well again to combine. Set the batter aside for ten minutes.

After this, make 8-9 simple pancakes.The recipe for the pancakes is called "Pancakes with milk" and is in the "Bakery" section.


They will be pale in color – but that’s the way we need them.

Prepare four different fillings.

For the first filling hard-boil eight eggs.

Finely chop the green onions. Cool the eggs, peel them and cut into cubes.

Mix the eggs and the onions in a bowl.

Sprinkle with the salt.

Mix well.

The second filling: chop the mushrooms and transfer into a skillet.

Cook and stir the mushrooms till all liquid evaporates; then sprinkle them with a couple of pinches of the salt and pour in the half-and-half.

Continue cooking the mushrooms with the half-and-half for another three to four minutes stirring periodically till the cream thickens.


For the third filling, cut the cod into small slices.

Finely chop the dill.

Transfer the cod and dill into a bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of the salt. Add a pinch of the black pepper and mix well to combine.


For the fourth and last filling, chop the salmon into small cubes. Sprinkle with a pinch of the salt and then add a touch of the red pepper. Mix well.

At this point you have the yeast dough, the pancakes for layering and the four different fillings.

Now’s the time for some careful work of putting the pie together.


Take one quarter of the yeast dough and set aside; this will be used for decorating the pie.

Roll the remaining dough into a wide and long rectangle.

The length of the rectangle should be about the width of your baking sheet plus about two inches on each side for folding over.

The width of the dough rectangle should be a bit less than the length, about 12 inches total: eight inches for the pie itself and two inches on each side for folding over.

Very carefully mark the area for the fillings on the dough using a dull side of a knife – about two inches from each edge. Mark the rectangle for the filling without cutting all the way into the dough.

Place the first filling in a two-inch strip along the edge of the rectangle.

Place a layer of pancakes on top of the first filling; the pancakes can be cut in half to fit over the filling.

Place the next layer of the filling lengthwise along the middle of the rectangular area you marked for the filling overlapping the first layer already covered by the pancakes so that your fillings are on an angle to each other.

Cover the second filling with the pancakes.


Continue with the third filling placing it alongside the previous layer and overlapping a little bit.

Cover the third filling with the pancakes.

The fourth filling can be placed in a strip along the edge of the rectangular filling area. You don’t need to cover this layer with the pancakes – the pancakes need to separate the fillings from one another.

Cover the pie fillings from the narrow sides first folding the edges over.

Then fold over the wide sides making sure they overlap.

Carefully invert the pie onto a baking sheet that has been greased or covered with wax/baking paper.

Now it’s time to decorate the pie with the dough that was set aside.

Take a part of the dough and roll it into a rope to fit all along the edges of the pie so that it looks like a seam.

Use the rest of the dough to roll into balls, then flatten them and cut into flowers and leaves and place them in the center of the pie.

Use the scissors to make shallow cuts along the dough rope – cutting into about one-third of the width of the rope.

Set the pie aside for about 25 minutes for the dough to set. It is necessary before baking so that the dough has a chance to rise again.


While the dough is rising, turn on the oven and bring it to 425F.

Break an egg into a small bowl, add a little water and stir together with a brush.
Glaze the entire top of the pie with the egg and water mixture before placing it in the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around and place the foil over the decorations.

Continue baking for another 25 minutes checking periodically whether the top of the pie starts burning; if it happens, cover it with foil completely.

When the pie is ready, remove from the oven and place onto a wooden board.

Set aside to cool for about 15-20 minutes.

Slice the pie crosswise and serve.

The fillings on the cross-cut will look like mosaics – all four fillings – the four corners - will be in each slice of your pie. If using other kinds of fillings remember to choose the fillings of different colors so that they are contrasting against one another when cut.

And last but not least… this tastes heavenly!!!

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Added 19.10.2017

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