Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Muraveynik and Karakul

One of my favorite Ukrainian cakes is called 'Muraveynik', which means 'ant hill'. I used to buy it in a shop in the underground station near our office but ever since the weather became warmer they have not sold it - Muraveynik contains a lot of butter and it would just melt away. After missing the cake for some time I had asked Semen to find me the recipe and he did. However when I used it the result was nothing like the real Muraveynik, I can't really recommend it. What I can recommend though is a similar recipe of a cake which they call 'Karakul', meaning 'Astrakhan' - a special kind of wool. I got acquainted with this cake one time I went to the country side with Roman and Marina. To make Karakul you have to make a hard dough which you shred into small pieces and fry on a dry (no oil or butter) pan, and this fried dough you mix with a kind of caramel. The caramel is made by boiling a can (400 grams) of condensed milk for 2 hours and mixing it with 100 grams of butter and 100 grams of chopped hazel nuts. For the dough you mix the following ingredients.

6 tablespoons whole milk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon soda with some vinegar added (the soda will become a kind of foam)
2 eggs
3-4 glasses of flour

Although the recipe is quite simple there are some things you should note. 1) Ukrainian spoons are quite big. 2) When making the dough you should mix the ingredients in the same order as shown above - the milk will cool down the butter so that eggs will not coagulate and by adding flour little by little the dough will be easier to kneed and you will not add too much. 3) The condensed milk should be boiled in the can - just put the can in a pot of boiling water. Make sure there is always some water, otherwise the can can explode. Also note that the glue from the sticker on the can will be very hard to get off the pot after boiling, so I guess it should be somehow removed completely before boiling. 4) When mixing the boiled condensed milk with butter both should be room temperature, i.e. the butter will be very soft. Don't melt the butter in a pot before mixing, it will not mix properly then. 5) To make shredding the dough possible it should be about 5 degrees or maybe a bit colder - store it in the refrigerator for some hours and then some minutes in the fridge before shredding.

Marina taught me how to cook Karakul. She is an excellent cook, her food is always tasty.

Shredding the dough before frying. In the bowl is some dough which has already been shredded and fried. The cans are with boiled condensed milk, it turns into a kind of caramel when boiled.

The finished karakul. It has a lot of beautiful brown colors. Like Muraveynik it should be kept cold, but this Karakul actually did stick together quite well in room temperature. I guess this more firm structure might have something to do with the way Marina chopped the nuts, she used an electric blender so some of the nuts turned into a kind of flour.

Making karakul is a lengthy process so I had to stay over. Marina got up at 5 o'clock to finish some very urgent work, I guess that is what it is like to be working for an American company. Roman had a problem with a hole in his trousers.


Anonymous said...

great share, great article, very usefull for me...thank you

Anonymous said...

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