Lark Buns (Zhavoronki) Recipe for the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste.

Lark Buns (Zhavoronki) Recipe for the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste These lark buns are traditionally baked in Russia each year to celebrate the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. There are forty buns to celebrate each of the forty martyrs. The larks are the first bird to arrive in Russia each spring, and the feast day of the Forty Martyrs falls during Lent, so the buns also celebrate the arrival of spring.

1st Recipe

These "larks" are not sourdough like the ones referred to in the Siberian cookbook article. However, they are good. If readers have any recipes for these or other foods which are associated with the Church calendar, such as the "crosses" made for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, please send them in so that we can share them.

2 c. plain soymilk (or water)

1 c. sugar

1 c. vegetable shortening (or margarine)

2 pkgs. fast-rising yeast dash of salt

1 tsp. vanilla approximately 5 c. flour

Melt shortening and 1&3/4 c. soymilk over medium heat just enough to melt the shortening. Don't boil the soymilk. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 c. of warmed soymilk; make sure the soymilk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Add all ingredients to bowl. Add sugar, then add 2 c. flour and mix. It will be very gooey. Cover and let rise for 1/2 horn in warm place. Then add the rest of the flour. Dough should ball up with a spoon when you mix and not be sticky – it shouldn't stick to your hands. Knead 5 minutes. Cover and let rise again 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness and cut and shape into larks or you can use cookie cutters. Hallmark is selling a bird-shaped cookie cutter this year which works nicely. You can use a raisin for the eye. Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.

Matushka Irene Meschter and Joannikia Dean

"The Orthodox Family". Vol. IV. No. 1 (Issue No. 7). Spring 1994. p. 5.


2nd Recipe

Serves 40

6 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 sticks margarine

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups warm water

1 package dry yeast

orange zest, to taste

raisins, for eyes

Mix the warm water, yeast, sugar, and enough of the flour so that you have a batter about as thick as sour cream. Let the batter sit until it has risen slightly and is bubbly.

Add the rest of the flour, the margarine and the orange zest (if using). Knead well (about ten minutes). Place in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size.

Using a knife or pastry cutter, divide the dough into 40 pieces. Roll each piece into a long hot dog shape. Tie each piece into a knot. Make one end into the shape of a head for the bird by pinching a beak. The other end will be the tail feathers… with a knife create that look. Put a raisin on each bird for the eye.

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees