Monk’s Hut Cake | Торт “Монастырская изба”

Монастырская изба is one of the most popular cakes in post-Soviet countries. И за что его не любить? Кислые вишни, песочное тесто, крем из подслащенной густой сметаны — простые и хорошо сочетающиеся ингредиенты. Sour cherries are rolled into a thin layer of dough and baked to look like cilindrical pies. The pies are layered with thick sweetened sour cream to represent a log cabin, то бишь дровяную избу.

Most of the cakes look more attractive before they are sliced. This cake is different, its beauty opens when you slice it.

It has many other names besides Monk’s Log Cabin — Cherry Hill, Cherry Honeycomb, Hut (or Roof) Under the Snow, etc. This cake also has many recipe variations. The dough can be pate brisee, or puff pastry, or soft cookie dough. Those who want to keep the dough crumbly, use buttercreams. Those who wish the dough to become moist, use thick sour cream whipped with sugar. Sour cherries are the only ingredient that is the same. In the U.S., sour cherries are different than in Europe, and the variety that comes close to what can be used for this cake is Balaton. Montmorency tart cherries lack the flavor.

Monk's Hut Cake

Monk's Hut Cake | Монастырская Изба

Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Eastern European
Keyword: Barton Springs Mill, cake, heirloom grain, lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, recipe, sour cherry, tart cherry, Wren Abruzzi Rye
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 426kcal

Ingredients

for dough

  • 125 g wheat flour all-purpose, King Arthur brand
  • 170 g Wren Abruzzi rye flour Barton Springs Mill brand
  • 1 pinch salt fine, sea salt
  • 170 g butter
  • 60 g water ice cold
  • 0.5 tsp mahleb flavoring, optional

for stuffing

  • 800 g tart cherries Balaton variety, defrosted
  • 3 tbsp corn starch

for egg wash

  • 1 each egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp water cold, add more if needed to adjust consistency to your taste
  • 1 pinch salt fine, sea salt

for cream

  • 200 g heavy whipping cream
  • 80 g confectioners powdered sugar
  • 0.25 tsp cherry extract flavoring, optional
  • 0.25 tsp xanthan gum stabilizer, optional
  • 227 g yogurt Noosa Lemon Curd recommended

for toppings

  • 30 g chocolate to shave using Microplane

Instructions

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, measure the flours, mahleb (if using), and salt, mix and sift. Add cold cubed butter and stir on low speed with a paddle attachment until the mixture looks like crumbs. Add ice-cold water and, with the same paddle attachment, knead the dough until smooth. Stop, remove the dough, shape into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for an hour in a fridge.
  • Give the frozen pitted sour cherries about 12 hours to thaw in a bowl in a fridge, then strain the juice to use it for other purposes. Combine cherries and corn starch.
    Option 1. Roll the dough 3mm (1/8") thick, ~ 6" wide and ~ 22" long. Cut it to 15 strips 1.5" wide and 6" long.
    Option 2. Divide the dough into 15 portions 34-35g each. Shape them into logs and cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
    Monk's Hut Cake: "logs" for the cake
  • Preheat the oven 425F. Make an egg wash by mixing 1 egg yolk with 1 tbsp of cold water and a pinch of salt. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Place 10 cherries on each strip of the dough.
    Monk's Hut Cake: "logs" for the cake
  • Pinch the long edge shaping them into a pie as shown on the pictures.
    Monk's Hut Cake: "logs" for the cake
  • Lightly brush the pies with the egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Let rest on a cooling rack until they are room temperature.
    Monk's Hut Cake: "logs" for the cake

for cream

  • In a cold bowl, combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, xanthan gum (if using), and natural cherry flavor extract (if using). Using a whisk, whip until thick.
  • Add Noosa Lemon yogurt and fold it into a whipped cream using a silicone spatula. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

to assemble the cake

  • Start with 5 cherry pies on the cake base. Cover them generously with a portion of cream, spreading it with a spatula. Arrange the rest of the pies layering them with cream to make a pyramid as shown in the picture.
    Monk's Hut Cake
  • Cover the whole cake with the rest of the cream. Shave chocolate holding Microplane above the cake. Let it rest refrigerated for at least 24 hours, to let the dough absorb some moist from the cream. If you like the dough softer, keep the cake rest for 2 or 3 days. To make slices attractive, use a sharp knife with a long blade making a sawing motion (do not press down!).
    Monk's Hut Cake

Notes

Boyajian Baking Essentials — Cherry Flavor on Amazon
Mahleb — Powdered Cherry Pits on Amazon
"Mahlab is a powder made from the seeds of the St. Lucy's cherry, found in different parts of the Mediterranean, that requires drying and cracking open rock-hard cherry pits. But if you've ever had a dessert made with whole roasted cherries, where the pit imparts an inimitable depth of flavor, it's easy to see why people go through the trouble.
When mahlab first hits your tongue it tastes a bit like cherries, a bit like roses, and a bit like almonds. There's a hint of vanilla and something quite floral."

Nutrition

Calories: 426kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1322IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg
Monk's Hut Cake