16 November 2010

The Sharlotka Controversy… and 12 Recommended Russian Cooking Blogs!


Larissa and Antonovka

Would you like to comment about Russian food?  Click the title above and scroll down, or 16.11.10 or comments at the bottom… or visit us on our Facebook pages. It’s a good feeling to hear from you, our Readers!

This year we have the standard St Petersburg November of rain, snow, and wind. My brain fills with words such as Charlotka, Ushanka, Sharmanka.. 

Once upon a time in New Jersey…

There’s something about pronouncing Russian words po-slo-gam, by syllable,  that’s pleasing… Kol-got-ky, Mo-chal-ka!

I spoke these gems on the phone to my future mother-in-law.

She told Larissa, “Who is that crazy man that says underwear and bath scrubber to me.  No respect!

Just trying to build my vocabulary!

As Russian as Sharlotka apple cake… 

Larissa loves cooking this cake for us… and for her daughter’s family. They live perpendicular to our apartment, and one floor  up.  We often get a phone call when we come home and push down on the light switch.

Whip this up when the guest is already on the front step!                 Gosty na parogee! cyrillic Гости на пороге


This cake is easy and fast to make.  It requires 3 or more sliced apples, 3 or more eggs, a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, and the usual little bit of  baking soda in a spoon, mixed with vinegar. Optional ingredient ideas…  cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice (to make sweet apples more tart), sour cream, vinegar, salt.

Russia’s Antonovka apples…

Antonovka are best for this cake.  We brought home a rucksack bulging with apples.  Now Larissa buys Antonovka at the open air markets.  I guess the best American substitute would be Granny Smith or  MacIntosh.

Cooking steps…

Whip eggs, blend with sugar, add flour and a vinegar/baking soda solution.  You can use a whisk, egg beater, or blender.

Just pour the dough into a greased flat pan sprinkled with crumbs.  Add apple slices, and pour more.

A friendly controversy…

Some people stop there, but Larissa and Bkatya make layers! You can add more slices, pour dough on top, until there are three or more levels, adding the remaining dough to top it off.

This is less a Tempest in a teapot and more just another way to enjoy Sharlotka.

Either way you do it…

Cover with crumbs, place in a 350F (180C) preheated oven.  Cooking time is 20 minutes to one hour.  It depends which way you prepare it.  It’s ready when a toothpick comes out clean.  Place on a wet cloth for 5 minutes to cool, flip, and enjoy.  We often top Sharlotka with ice cream.

Thinking about sharlotka makes me hungry and happy!

If my  mood is dampened by the dark cold of autumn, I get cheerful reading food blogs.  I’m surprised there are only a dozen or so active Russian  cooking blogs in English.

MacDonald’s 12 Recomended Russian Cooking Blogs…  my  gift for our Readers! Just click on the blog name.

I searched for flavorful blogs that will help you remember old times or find what you can cook in your kitchen.  My favorites reflect the personality of the author and usually have good food photography.

Being an expat… and skuchno, Cyrillic скучно, meaning nostalgic, lonely, homesick… are inspirations for Russian food blogs… Some  writers have a baby or toddlers, another is by an older man. 

I put this list together so you can easily bookmark or follow any that you enjoy.

Bkatya by Katya, near Boston.  She has a Turkish  husband, and writes the cuisine of ‘my 3 countries’, as well as other impressions of the area. 

Kansas City With the Russian Accent  ‘Whatever comes to  mind of one Jewish-American’, Meesha includes Koscher food narratives, including gefilte fish. 

Moscow Gourmet Kitchen written by Irina Vodonos in Seattle includes details on this tasty cake… with a dough lattice top.  This blogger  gives cooking classes and caters, while also writing grant applications and attending the University of Washington for her masters.  She writes a warm narrative.

RusCuisine writer Olga has instructions for sharlotka with links to Russian Food Direct and RusClothing.  Good cooking tips.  Click stories and consider getting their cooking email.

Natasha’s Kitchen from Treasure Valley, Idaho is published by a Ukrainian-American  woman.  She has a variety of recipes and shares some about her life, too.

Russian Season in Latvia. Russian and East European recipes  cooked by mother Natalia and daughter  Alina.  Russians are a large minority in the Baltic States.  It is translated into Slovak by Stano, the son-in-law. 

Let’s Make Some Russian Food about Ukrainian and Russian Food.  Kristina Nedeoglo is from Sacramento California. She arrived in the US in 1991. 

Russian Food and Recipes From All Over the World.  Cristina Turcanu lives in New York City.   She is from small landlocked Moldova, famous for tasty food and great wines.

MacDonald’s Trivia A Romance language close to Romanian, Moldovans switched to Romanian Latin script from Cyrillic in 1989…except in Transnistria where Moldovan is still written in Cyrillic.

Everyday Russian Foodwritten by Sputniktomorrow, somewhere in the USA.

Windows to Russia w ritten by fellow expat and blogger Kyle Keeton and his wife Svet, from Moscow.   They have a Russian Foods category that is worth many visits.  They have a great selection of news and other features.

Mendeleyev Journal in Moscow and Phoenix has a top Cuisine of Russia section.

Anastasia's Blog is the food part of the Moscow Russia Insider's Guide

The long dark winter is a great time to check this blog list for recipes  and taste the results. Remember, food is a predictable pleasure.  Enjoy!


  1. Thank you so much for recommending my Russian food blog!! I really appreciate it. I had some visits from your blog today :)

  2. Hello, thanks a lot for putting me on the list among a bunch of way better cooks than me. I just cook a few things my Mom taught me. I have a blog friend who lives in England and just re-launched her Russian-themed food blog. http://www.gastronomicalme.com/ Good luck!

  3. Thanks for the link!

    The recipe part of our blog is one of our favorites to do.

    We am honored to be amongst these Russian Food sites. We just try to post what we see as we eat our way around Russia... :)

    Kyle and Sveta

  4. Hi there, Kyle and Svet!

    'As we eat our way around Russia' is a commendable use of your time in my book!

    You guys are firing on all pistons. The result is a great blog... http://windowstorussia.com/.

    I often stop there first to see what is going on today in Russia.

  5. Hi KCMeesha,

    Well, your mother was a great cook!

    Thanks for recommending your London friend. She has a piquant 'food anthopology' view so I added her to the list right away! www.gastronomicalme.com/

    It's great to stop by Kansas City for the special perspectives you have on American culture www.kcmeesha.com/

  6. I'm happy some of our Readers stopped by Natasha's Kitchen http://natashaskitchen.com/

    Your graphics, photos, and friendly writing make your site a hit!

    Enjoyed your recent post about Ukrainian Family Thanksgiving.

  7. I followed one of your links and tried the Sharlotka apple cake recipe posted by Bkatya- excellent! I reduced the sugar, used fresh-ground whole wheat flour (as she suggested), added a teaspoon of cinnamon and added a handful of blackberries because I did not have enough apples. The cake is light, fluffy- and my picky teenage son just ate most of it. It makes a great breakfast, and is quick and easy to put together. Serve with a little sweetened sour cream ... Thanks for the info!

  8. Hi Margo,

    I'm happy you followed a link to Bkatya.

    Your teenager is a lucky guy to have Mom cook such a treat for breakfast!

    Like you, I always change a recipe around a little, and like the sound of added blackberries and sour cream.


  9. Thanks for including the link to Everyday Russian. I'm always astonished and humbled when people find my site to be recommendation worthy.



Comments, Questions, Ideas