Ossetian pies are a culinary phenomenon. People taste them once and crave for the rest of their lives.

Ossetian pies are thin round closed pies with assorted fillings that are a combination of feta-like cheese and chopped raw and cooked vegetables — potatoes, cabbage, beet leaves, beans, squash, chives, etc. Vegetable part is reflected in the name of the pie and makes its flavor. Three piled Ossetian pies are a centerpiece of a festive table in Ossetia. Ossetian pies can be served as a meal or a heavy appetizer for a wine tasting party.

Ossetian Pies: Kabuskajin Syht
Ossetian Pies: Kabuskajin Syht

Ossetian Pies: Tsaharadjin
Ossetian Pies: Tsaharadjin

Walibah — cheese only
Kartofdjin — potatoes + cheese
Tsaharadjin — beet leaves + cheese
Kabushkadjin — cabbage + cheese
Davondjin — chives + ramps + cheese
Nashdjin — pumpkin + cheese

Fidjin is a pie with ground meat and doesn’t have any cheese in it. Sweet pies are also made without cheese.

Tsakharajin is my favorite and, in my opinion, the most incredible among all Ossetian pies. It is made with chopped beet leaves. They are similar to chard and commonly used in European, Mediterranian, and Caucasian cuisines. When cooked with Feta-like cheese, beet leaves make a flavorful and surprisingly addictive combination.

The dough for Ossetian pies is very soft, wet, and sticky. Its consistency is the same all over Ossetia with variation in liquid ingredients. When baked, the dough becomes a deliciously creamy crumb. My recipe is an adaptation for locally available ingredients.

Working with high-hydration dough can be difficult. Making 1/2” thin Ossetian pies requires some skills and experience. Come to my 3-hour Ossetian Pies cooking class to see a demo, practice, taste a variety of pies at the end of the class, and take a pie home. Tickets at the door, $65 per person.

Ossetian Pies

Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time5 hrs 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Dish
Cuisine: Eastern European, Ossetian
Keyword: beet, cabbage, cheese, greens, lycooking, lyukum cooking lab, pie, pumpkin, recipe, vegetables
Servings: 2 pies

Ingredients

for the dough

  • 400 g bread flour
  • 5 g Saf Instant Yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 220 ml water
  • 100 g sour cream
  • 1 egg large
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

for Tsaharadjin filling

  • 160 g beet leaves finely chopped
  • 10 g chives finely chopped
  • 10 g cilantro finely chopped
  • 180 g Feta cheese

for Kabushkadjin-Syht filling

  • 200 g cabbage finely chopped
  • 50 g onion finely diced
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper freshly ground
  • 50 g walnuts toasted, finely chopped
  • 115 g Feta cheese

for Davondjin filling

  • 90 g chives finely chopped
  • 60 g ramps finely chopped
  • 115 g Feta cheese

Instructions

for the dough

  • Mix all ingredients for the dough except oil. Knead it long enough to form gluten. Stand mixer with flat beater are the best for this job. Add oil when the dough is almost ready and finish kneading by forming a soft ball.
    Kneading super wet dough
  • Give it 2-3 hours (depends on room temperature) for rising. Its volume should triple. At this point, the dough can be refrigerated in a closed container for later baking. It will keep for up to 4 days.
    Rised super wet dough
  • Prepare the fillings. See instructions below.
    Making Ossetian Pie
  • Ossetian pies are baked two at a time on two racks. They are baked on naked stone or in shallow heavy-bottom pans. What is good for baking pizza is good for baking Ossetian pies. I prefer pans. Preheat the oven to 450F with two 12" pans in inside. Do not shape pies until your oven is ready.
  • Divide the dough to 2 portions. Because its moisture content is very high, this super wet dough requires generous flour dusting. Flatten a portion of dough gently with your palms. Place a ball of filling in the center and flatten it.
    Making Ossetian Pie
  • Carefully pack the filling inside the dough.
    Making Ossetian Pie
  • Gently flatten the dough with filling inside into a thin 1/2" disk, carefully flipping it 2-3 times. Take a pan out of the oven and transfer a shaped pie into it. Be careful! The pan is very hot! Make a hole in the upper layer of dough in the center of the pie. The vent hole allows steam to escape during the baking. Start baking on the lower rack. In 5 minutes, move it to the upper rack and bake for another 5 minutes. You may need to adjust timing for your oven.
  • The pie is ready when it is golden brown. After you take it out the oven, you might want to remove any extra flour from the surface. Any culinary brush will do the job. Than, apply some melted butter to soften the crust. Let it rest for a few minutes and it is ready to serve.

for Tsaharadjin filling

  • Wash beet tops, every leaf individually. Pat them dry with paper towels. Separate stems and greens and finely chop them.
    Beet tops
  • Heat a skillet with 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Sauté chopped stems first, than add greens and wilt them. Let the cooked beet tops cool down to room temperature.
  • Add other chopped herbs or greens and crumbled cheese. Mix everything well with your hands. Keep refrigerated in a covered container.
    Sakharajin filling

for Kabushkadjin-Syht filling

  • Dice onions and caramelize them.
  • Finely chop cabbage and caramelize it.
  • Toast and chop walnuts.
  • Mix all ingredients with crumbled cheese. Keep refrigerated in a covered container.
    Kabuskajin-Syht filling

for Davondjin filling

  • Finely chop greens.
  • Mix all ingredients with crumbled cheese. Keep refrigerated in a covered container.
    Davondjin filling
Ossetian Pies