For Russian people little pies or pirozhki are a symbol of home comfort, coziness, parents love and family gatherings. Usually grannies treat their grandchildren with pirozhki. That is why this dish embodies the connection of generations and the depths of traditions.
Originally pirozhki were a festive dish which is reflected even in the root of the word “pirozhki” – “pir” means “feast” in Russian. On especially festive occasions Kurnik (chicken pie), Kulebyaka (fish and rice pie), Rasstegie (open pie with various fillings) and Karavay (round loaf) were baked.
Name Day is an Orthodox holiday dedicated to the memory of Saint, whose name was given to a child born on this day. Numerous pies were baked on this holiday, they served as an invitation for a feast. Sweet pies were given to godparents as a sign of great respect. During the celebration Karavay (round loaf) with nuts and raisins was torn above the head of a birthday person with wishes of health and good fortune.
Despite the fact that nowadays cakes replaced Karavay, there is still a tradition to “lead a Karavay” which means to dance roundelay. Children make a circle around a birthday boy or a birthday girl, dance and sing Russian equivalent of a famous song Happy Birthday to You:
We baked a Karavay on Vanya’s name day.
It is very high, it is very wide.
From the distant past a variety of recipes of pies came to us – open and closed pies, meat pies, fish pies, vegetable and sweet pies. Under the influence of the fast changing rhythm of life pies transformed into more miniature pirozhki.
Baking of the big pies is a difficult and time-consuming process which demands certain skills. It is much easier to bake pirozhki, to eat them. They are a popular nourishing travel snack and comfort food.
Here is the simple recipe of pirozhki which is extremely easy to cook.