Food for the Soul: Desserts from Ukraine

By: Qian Leung posted Apr 13th 2018 10:53AM

Bordered by Russia to the east, Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, with a population of 45 million. Let's find out what Ukrainian desserts are like.

“It was two years ago when I met Chef Kilian,” says Ukrainian Ambassador Dmytro Senik of Tower Club’s Chef Frank Kilian. “My mom and my wife were in town, and gave him some recipes to try.” Based on the tradition of cooking from Ambassador’s family, the 42-year-old German chef created some Ukrainian dishes and desserts. With galushki, made by simmering thick pieces of dough in sweetened milk, Chef Kilian has added caramelised apples and cinnamon. “Ukrainian food reminds me a bit of Stuttgart, where I’m from, with lots of hearty flavours,” says Chef Kilian, who had formerly lived in Sydney for six years.

Chef Frank Kilian

“I had lost contact with traditional European food, so I’m really enjoying these robust flavours again.” Galushki can also be eaten savoury, with potatoes and stewed beef. Similarly, Ukrainian dumpling, presented here filled with cherry compote, could also be a savoury dish, filled with minced pork, mushrooms, or cheese with dill. “We have a tradition of celebrating Christmas,” says Ambassador. Twelve dishes are served, the first of which is kutia, a sweet porridge of wheat berries, buckwheat, poppy seeds, honey, walnuts, and dried fruits. Many Ukrainian women have their own secret recipes. “For example, my grandmother made a wonderful Napolean cake.” The traditional Ukrainian cake features many layers of puff pastry and cream.

Ukrainian dumpling with cherry compote
Syrniki, made from frying a batter of quark (a fresh curdled cheese), is usually eaten for breakfast with sour cream or jam. You could also have it with raisins, sweetened milk, or honey for a dessert. Ukrainian desserts taste tangier, denser, and heavier than I’d expected. This could be because the winters are long, with significant snowfall. Or perhaps the farming community which makes up the rural population requires more substantial sustenance.

Ambassador Dmytro Senik
Adapted from the Mar Apr 18 issue of Cuisine & Wine.

For a taste of Ukraine, visit Grissini, Grand Copthorne Waterfront, where Ukrainian Chef Yaroslav Artuykh will be presenting dishes such as edible candle, cabbage rolls with millet and goat meat, naked chicken Kyiv with cheese sauce and egg, and baked colostrum sponge cake with ryazhenka Ukraine fermented milk as part of this year's World Gourmet Summit. Get your tickets here.


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