A Kulebiak is nothing more than a family-sized empanada of Russian or Polish origin. The Italian calzone made of pizza dough folded over and shaped like a crescent differs from the kulebiak only in its shape and the type of filling. The dough can be a yeast-based dough or a fillo (phyllo) dough. The filling is generally based on various combinations of ground beef, cabbage, hard boiled eggs, and rice with different kinds of spices. The following recipe is based on a yeast-based dough.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the water, mix well, and knead into a ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap in a warm place to let the dough rise. After one hour, knead the dough once more, and let it rise another hour. After this, it is ready to use.
In a large pan, saute the onion and the potatoes until the potatoes are soft. Remove them from the pan and set aside. Cook the ground beef with the raisins, cumin seeds, black pepper, and salt. When the beef is cooked, add the potatoes and onions. Mix everything and cool to room temperature.
Making the Kulebiak:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven warms up, sprinkle some flour on a large cutting board or a kitchen counter. Place the dough on the floured surface and roll it out to the size of a baking pan (approximately 12 × 17 inches). Place the cool filling in the center of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough against each other to close the kulebiak. For a more decorative touch, the sides of the dough may be cut in one inch strips which are alternately brought toward the center as illustrated above. The dough is brushed with a beaten egg and placed in the oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. The dough can be shaped in whimsical designs. Below is a kulebiak shaped in the form of a piglet. Once the kulebiak is filled, it is turned over so that the seam is on the bottom, and extra dough is applied to the exterior. Floral designs, geometric designs, and animal shapes are very popular.