In fact, kurnik is a regular pie with chicken meat. Originally, the dough for kurnik was muffin pastry, but a home magazine from 1900 recommends using either muffin pastry or crumbly, i.e. shortbread, as desired. It was fashionable to serve such mini-cakes with broth.
Modern recipes suggest making kurnik with potatoes, mushrooms and (or) rice, but the traditional Russian kurnik was baked, oddly enough, with buckwheat grits. The pie itself was decorated with beautifully molded dough elements.