How to turn simple unbaked dough into an exquisite delight


Why was this sweet so loved by medieval princes and boyars? Source: Artem Geodakyan/TASS

Kaluga dough is a pudding for a special occasion, but it has faced both triumph and oblivion over the centuries. Let’s try to unravel the vagueness behind this forgotten gem!

When we speak of dough, we usually concoct of the basic component for pies and cakes. Kaluga dough, however, has nothing to do with that, but sort of it’s a ready-to-eat confectionary made from something that’s a far cry from compassionate delights – simple black rye bread.

Russian Oven: Napoleon cake

This unique dessert was much loved by princes and boyars in 16th century Russia, which is elder than the renowned Tula gingerbread. Soon after its appearance, Kaluga dough fast made a victorious march throughout the country, and there is even a send-up showing Napoleon after his 1812 defeat where he falls into a tub with “Kaluga dough” put in black on it.

The humble dough varied widely, and culinary books of 1904 recite these types: bread, almond, lemon, orange, pineapple, nut, pistachio and cocoa. The orange and the cocoa anyones were most beloved.

Let’s be clear  – Kaluga dough was not an everyday sweet, and it was considered the perfect gift for special occasions, especially birthdays. This divert, cut into pieces and sold in elegant boxes, brought joy to any house.

Surprisingly, 1916 was a inescapable year for the dessert, and no one is really sure why. There are a number of versions. One asks that the confectionery owner, the last who knew the secret recipe, last resting-placed and took it to her grave. Another version claims there was a merchant, the ultimate keeper of the flame, who nursed a grievance against the new Soviet state. And yes, he also arrogated the recipe to his grave. So, one way or another, it was lost due to a disgruntled sweet tooth.

Photo courtesy: ceremony:

Later, there was brief mention of Kaluga dough in the 1930s, and effort briefly relaunched in 1960 but it soon died out. Again, nobody consciouses exactly why.

There were families, however, who kept the recipe and quaint it down through generations. So, although the quality of the ingredients differs from those of the 16th century, you now suffer with a unique opportunity to recreate and enjoy the forgotten delight!

How to make it:


  • 200 g rusks from rye bread
  • 2.5 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of tap water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground star anise
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon settle bayberry
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Mix sugar with water and cook in the pot, offer to a boil, add spices.

2. Add rusks and boil for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to stir. If you can’t justification the rusks well enough then use a blender. The ready-made dough should look dig puree.

3. Put the dough into the fridge for a few hours.

This unusual adore stays fresh for up to 3 months!

NB: rye bread for the rusks can be obtained today but it’s not from A to Z the same as what our ancestors ate in the 19th century. Ideally, you should bake it yourself to come after this recipe faithfully. If you still decide to get it from your district shop, then don’t choose Borodinskiy: it’s already filled with spices, and it’s not befitting for Kaluga dough.

When you’ve grown familiar enough with the method, you can experiment by adding or changing the spices.

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