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Friday, June 26, 2020

Borscht and Pampushki | A Recipe from Albina Truax

This spring, we are sharing stories and recipes throughout the region. This week's recipe for Borscht and Pampushki comes from one of our interns Albina Truax. If you have a recipe you'd like to share, please email Lia Hyman at or Ana West at




I was born in Ukraine and lived there for about 17 years. My mum in Ukraine would often cook us borscht. Growing up, I did not like it because of the boiled vegetables. When I came to the United States, people would ask me if I liked borscht since I am a Ukrainian; I told them no. When I got married, I began to introduce my husband to my culture. His mother asked me if I like borscht, so I finally made it and found myself liking it! Borscht is a part of my culture.

Yield:4 servings


  • 12 cups water

  • 1/2 of medium-big green or red cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 3 medium carrots, chopped or grated

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large beet, peeled and cut into matchsticks

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1/2 of 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium (if you would like very saturated color in your borscht, add more)

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated

  • Ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup dill or parsley, finely chopped

  • Sour cream and pampushki, for serving


1.    In a medium pot, add water, bay leaves, and bring to a boil.

2.    While the water boils, wash, peel, and cut vegetables.

3.    Add cabbage to boiling water, cover, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.

4.    Prepare a large skillet on medium heat and swirl 1 tbsp of oil to coat. Add onion, carrots, and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.    Add beets, remaining 1 tbsp of oil and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

6.    Transfer sautéed veggies to a pot along with potatoes, tomato paste, and salt. Cover bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

7.    Turn off heat. Add vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Stir and let borscht sit for 10 minutes to allow flavors to marry each other.

8.    Add dill, stir, and adjust any seasonings to taste.


Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, pampushki, and garlic clove on the side (to taste).


Refrigerate borscht in a pot you cooked it in for up to 5 days. Reheat by simmering on low in a small pot only amount you are planning to consume. Freeze in an airtight glass container for up to 3 months. Then thaw on a counter overnight and reheat.

Add other things in the soup to your taste. For example, you can add celery or red bell peppers to add more flavor. Experiment!


Pampushki are traditional rolls in Ukraine. They must go with borscht! When I was in Ukraine, I did not eat many pampushki because our oven didn't always work, and we sometimes did not have the money to buy the ingredients. When I came to the US and got married, I began to teach my husband about my traditions. He asked me to make borscht, so I decided to make pampushki with it. Now, my oven works, and I have enough money to buy the ingredients. My husband and I enjoy eating pampushki together. It's hard to not eat them all at once because of their flavor, fluffiness, and garlic sauce. Enjoy!

Yield: 9 rolls


  • 400 g all-purpose flour 2 3/4 cups using scoop and sweep method

  • 225 g water 1 cup + 2 tsp; 95F - 105F warm

  • 35 g honey 1 1/2 Tbsp

  • 21 g vegetable oil 3 Tbsp

  • 5 g salt 1 level tsp

  • 5 g lemon juice 1 tsp

  • 9 g traditional yeast 2 tsp

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg yolk

Garlic sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic pressed

  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 Tbsp chopped herbs (parsley, cilantro, or dill). Dill is my favorite.

  • 3 Tbsp water


1.     Bring the water to about 95-105F (barely warm to touch) and pour it into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and the honey. Let the yeast hydrate for about 10 minutes, until you see foam forming on top.

2.     Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, mix, and let rest for 20 minutes.

3.     Knead the dough in the bowl for about 2 minutes. The dough should be soft and tacky to touch. Add more water if needed. If the dough feels too sticky, let it rest for another 10 minutes and then knead again for 1-2 minutes. As the flour in the dough absorbs more water and gluten develops stickiness will decrease. If you feel it is still too sticky, you can add more flour later when shaping rolls.

4.     Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel or a plastic wrap and place it in a warm place for about 1 to 1.5 hours or until the dough doubles in size. A cold oven with the light on is a perfect place for this.

5.     Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Add some flour if the dough is too sticky. Place the dough balls into a greased round cake pan, spreading them out evenly.

6.     Preheat the oven to 360F.

7.     Cover the pan with a damp towel and let the dough balls proof for 40 minutes in a warm place.

8.     Whisk one egg yolk in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, paint the rolls with a light, even coat of egg wash.

9.     Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Depending on how dry your oven runs, you may want to cover the pan with foil after 15 minutes of baking to avoid hardening of the top surface or use a water pan to produce steady steam.

10.  While your pampushki is baking, start making the garlic sauce. Press garlic into a medium bowl, add salt, oil, water, chopped herbs, and stir. Set aside.

11.  Once the pampushki are ready, transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle the garlic sauce all over and let rest for a few minutes to allow the sauce to soak in. Serve warm.


Rolls are good to store at room temperature for about 4 days. I store them in a plastic storage bag.

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