Why Does Kulebyaka Pie Always Be A Special Thing On Russian Christmas Day?

It is very well known that Russians are very generous in preparing meals. Whenever you are going to your Russian friend’s house, they will serve you with plenty amount of food. At the very least, you will find salt fish, meats, and different kinds of salads. There will indeed some of Russians’ popular food, such as pierogi (rasstegays served with rice and egg) as well as vatruchkas with cottage cheese. Besides that, you will also get to enjoy some pirozhki with potatoes. Among those dishes, if a Russian wants to impress their guests, he/she will serve you with Kulebyaka. So what is it? And why does kulebyaka pie always be a special thing on Russian Christmas day?

Kulebyaka On Christmas Day

  • The Ancient and Sophisticated Kulebyaka

Kulebyaka is one of the most ancient dishes in Russia. This dish is popular because it is a sophisticated dish to make. The dough to make the layer must be very little and the filling must be very generous. Can you imagine how you can make a thin and durable dough that can hold a lot of filling so the guests can enjoy eating it? That must be pretty challenging.

The word “Kulebyaka” originally came from the old Slavic verb. The meaning of it is “to sculpt with hands”. When you hear the simple explanation of Kulebyaka, you might think that this is similar to a pie. You are wrong. The shape is different from pies and the filling is much more complex. According to the traditional recipe, Kulebyaka should be prepared with different kinds of stuffings, such as mushrooms, meats, cabbages, and rice. If you want the sweet flavor fillings, you can do that too. What makes the whole thing very challenging is the fact that fillings should not be mixed. It will be separated by thin pancakes. That way, when you slice the pie, you will see the filling in one piece.

You can imagine that one Kulebyaka can contain up to twelve layers of filling. During the Tsarist time, it is believed that the more layers the Kulebyaak has, the richer is the family. So you can choose how many layers of this pie you want to make?

As one of the most ancient recipes of Russia, it is no wonder that this dish is an important part of Christmas. First, during Christmas, when many relatives and friends are coming, the host must have the feeling that they want to impress their guests with their ability to serve dishes. Second, they do not do it for the sake of showing off only, but for them, like the time where Russians are popular in making large feasts, they want to give their best in cooking, hence the ancient and sophisticated Kulebyaka.

If you want to make Kulebyaka, you can also do it at home. It is very easy because nowadays, they only make this dish with one layer of filling.

  • Kulebyaka With Cabbage And Eggs

Here are the ingredients to make Kulebyaka


  1. Milk 1 cup
  2. Butter 60 grams
  3. Sugar 2 tbsp
  4. Yeast 1 tsp
  5. Salt ½ tsp
  6. Egg 1
  7. Flour 2 cups


  1. Cabbage 500 grams
  2. Butter 30 grams
  3. Sugar 1 tbsp
  4. Salt 1 pinch


  1. Add the sugar and the yeast into the milk. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes until the yeast rise
  2. Put the flour into a bowl and mix it with salt and butter. Knead the dough together with an egg. If you want, you can use whole grain wheat flour and brown sugar
  3. Let the dough rest. Now you have some time to prepare the filling.
  4. Slice the cabbages into very thin cuts. Put it into a deep pan, add water, and boil it. After it is boiled, add butter, sugar, salt, and an egg. Cook the whole thing for five minutes then turn off the heat. Then, add one chopped boiled egg
  5. Now, divide the dough into two, for the bottom and the crust. The bottom should not be very thick, it will be only 4-5 millimeters. On top of it, cover it with some oil then put the filling. After that, cover the top with the other layer of the dough (the crust). After the oven is warmed at 200 C, put on the whole dish and bake it for 30 minutes.5 minutes before taking out the baked dish, you can brush some beaten eggs on top of the crust. It will give the dish a golden look.
  6. Your Kulebyaka is ready! Serve it warm.

Now you know why Kulebyaka pie is always a special thing on Russian Christmas day. Do not forget to try the recipe!

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