Kolomna Pastila – Traditional Russian Apple and Honey Oven Dried Confection

I find it amazing, that the recipe of the most healthy confection, with only natural ingredients and simple preparation method,  was found in the museum archives and was brought back to life by 2 enthusiastic women.

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Pastila is a traditional candy, made from baked apples with a little honey and an egg white. It is oven baked at a very low temperatures, for a long time. As a result you have a delicious product with intense apple taste, with a balance of sweet and sour taste and a spongy chewy texture. The product is high in pectin and fibre, low in calories, and is low in sugars. It can be stored for a long time.

Update 18.12.2016

This year I made Kolomna pastila based on honey (darker colour on the photo below) and sugar (lighter colour) for Christmas presents. It only benefits in taste and aroma, when made 2-4 weeks in advance and stored refrigerated in air-tight container.

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I did my research of this product a year ago, but originally decided not to make it, because of 8-10 hours necessary to bake or dry it. But compared to another apple puree  sweet treat, my favourite confectionary zefir, it uses only 170g of sugar for 500g of apple puree, compared to over 700g of sugar for 250g of apple puree in zefir.

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I am going to publish my recipe for sugar free zefir later. I will not bore you with all the history of Kolomna pastila, good starting point to read about it can be found here.

I see my task to share the recipe, and details of making this delicious confection which is truly good for you. I have modified the recipe from another blog to fit ingredients profile on this blog. This is the recipe of sugar free Kolomna Pastila

Ingredients:

  • 1000g Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 1 tea spoon lemon juice
  • 170g raw organic honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tea spoon cinnamon and 1/2 tea spoon hazelnut meal to dust pastila (nearly all will be left as you brush it of in the end)

Preparation:

  • select apples as green as you possibly can, fully ripe apples are not the best option
  • peel and core apples, dice them in medium pieces, place them in a glass bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice

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  • microwave on high in three intervals for 12min, 5min and 5min, mixing the contents in between, alternatively bake whole apples in the oven until soft and fully cooked

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  • puree cooked apples until smooth

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  • the final weight of puree from 1000g of diced apples is 500g
  • line baking tray (at least 3 cm deep) with baking paper (I used the tray  26cm x 38cm)

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  • place apple puree, honey and egg white into a bowl of benchtop mixer, beat contents on high for 10min

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  • spoon the mixture into the prepared tray

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  • spread and make it level using pastry scraper or palette knife, leave one and a half cup of mixture for later, keep it refrigerated

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  • bake in preheated to 100C fan forced oven for 3 hours
  • take the tray out of the oven, place baking paper on top, turn the tray over and carefully peel baking paper from the bottom
  • bake on the other side for 2 hours
  • take baked pastila from the oven, turn it over on a lined bench top and cut into 3 equal pieces (no photos of this stages because it was already too dark)
  • use leftover mixture from the fridge to cover each piece, assemble 3 layers of pastila, one on top of the other, and cover the top, bottom and sides with beaten mixture
  • return 3 layered piece of pastila to the oven on lined tray and bake for another 3 hours at the same temperature
  • turn the oven off and let pastila completely cool down (overnight)

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  • I cut pastila in 2 pieces (optional)

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  • in my case, I have divided the piece of pastila into two, and treated one with cinnamon powder and hazelnut meal mix
  • cover the first piece of pastila with a mixture of cinnamon and hazelnut meal (you can use fine desiccated coconut, if you like coconut flavour), let pastila take the powder and brush the excess off

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Pastila was dry and took only a tiny amount of mixed powder. An authentic recipe calls for icing sugar to be rubbed into pastila.

  • I rubbed icing sugar into the second piece of pastila later, to avoid cross contamination with icing sugar

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  • keep pastila refrigerated indefinitely in air tight container

It’s usually sliced in long and narrow strips and placed in a box, lined with parchment paper.

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It can also be cut in candy cubes. Kolomna pastila can make a wonderful gift for health conscious individuals, or people with special dietary needs.

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Pastila had indeed, very intense fresh apple taste, with a little tang. The texture was spongy, the cut, even with sharp knife, reduced its thickness, but it was restored instantly. There are many pros and cons to consider before making apple and honey pastila. It is an easy and straight forward process with natural and readily available ingredients. The main issue in question is 10 hours of oven baking/drying. I was curious enough to try this confection with very low sugar and practically pure apple with some egg protein and honey. It might be not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am very happy I tried to make it, and I am sure I will do it again. It just disappears too quickly, with no guilt attached.

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6 thoughts on “Kolomna Pastila – Traditional Russian Apple and Honey Oven Dried Confection

  1. Could you please kindly post ‘sugar free zefir’ recipe. LInk doesn’t work and brings you to an article page. Many thanks.

    Like

    1. Anya,
      I am planning to post sugar free zefir recipe as part of cake recipe with zefir cream, but you might be interested in another similar recipe of Russian confection – pastila. I have published plum honey pastila recipe in this blog under the name of sugar free plum marshmallow. The main problem with both these products based on honey with the dietary restrictions as in this blog, is the difficulty to keep the surface of pastila or zefir dry. I can’t use icing sugar or corn flour to dry the surface of these confections and with honey in it, the typical sugar crust does not develop. With honey based zefir I was not able to get the final product with dry surface. That is why I did not publish the recipe on its own.
      However, it is possible to use honey zefir as a layer in the cake, when it is placed in between sponge layers, so the wetness of the surface is not a problem anymore.
      It is also not a problem, if you tolerate some dry ingredients in your diet which can be used to treat the surface of zefir to make it dry. I am baking the cake on Monday and plan to publish the recipe soon after.

      Like

  2. Thank you. Understood. I did see plum pastila looks fantastic, planning on making it soon.
    Thanks again. I will definitely check out your cake recipe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I managed to avoid wet surface in honey apple and plum zefir. I have adjusted the recipe for liquid content and got what I wanted, stable, not too soft zefir with nice pink colour and pronounced taste without adding vanilla or any other taste enhancers. Recipe is coming tomorrow the latest.

      Like

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