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Friday, June 10, 2011

Recipe for "Syrniki" - Russian Cheesecakes

I translated (and elaborated a little on) this recipe for a friend, and decided to share it on the blog as well. This is for the Syrniki we made with Sergei last week.  You can view the photo gallery of these delicious little cheesecakes and our cooking session in the original post.

Here's the original recipe, and below, my translation.

Норма продуктов:
Творог – 3 пачки (600 г); мука пшеничная – 3-4 ст. ложки в тесто и ½ стакана для обваливания; крахмал картофельный – 2 ст. ложки; 2 яйца; щепотка соли; масло подсолнечное; сметана или густая ряженка, сливочное масло, варенье.

Взбить яйца. Если творог слишком сырой – положить его в частое сито или х/б мешочек и отжать излишек жидкости. Смешать творог и яйца. Посолить. Добавить крахмал и 3-4 ст. ложки муки – в зависимости от густоты получившейся массы. Все тщательно перемешать. На доску или в плоскую широкую тарелку насыпать муки тонким слоем. Брать творожную массу ложкой, скатывать в шарики и обваливать их в муке. Жарить на разогретой сковороде на постном масле до образования румяной корочки с обеих сторон. Затем поставить в нагретую духовку или накрыть сковороду крышкой и оставить на плите (на слабом огне) на 5 минут.
Перед подачей на стол горячие сырники смазать сливочным маслом или полить сметаной или густой ряженкой. Варенье или мед подаются к сырникам отдельно. В тесто перед жаркой можно добавить немного изюма без косточек.

  • 600 grams cottage cheese (It should be moist but not contain much extra liquid. If it's watery, try draining it through cheesecloth.)
  • 3-4 tablespoons white flour for the dough (and extra white flour for rolling your dough balls in)
  • 2 tbsp. potato starch
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • sunflower oil (for the frying pan)
  • sour cream (higher fat content = better taste) 
  • butter 
  • jam/preserves or honey (in a separate serving bowl for the topping)
Beat the eggs.  If the cottage cheese is a too watery, try putting it through a fine sieve or in cheese cloth and squeeze out the excess liquid. Mix the cottage cheese in with the eggs.  Then add a pinch of salt and 3-4 tablespoons of flour, depending on the consistency of the dough.  It should be much less firm than bread dough, but not watery like pancake mix. Mix everything thoroughly.
Spread a thin layer of flour over a cutting board or tray.  Use a spoon to scoop the dough into balls, and then roll them in the flour, finally flattening the cheesecakes a bit so they are just about the same size as a hamburger patty.
Heat sunflower oil in a pan (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Cast-iron skillets work best. Make sure your cheesecake patties have a nice layer of flour around the outside and then drop them into the pan.  Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Once fried to golden perfection, transfer them to a preheated oven or cover the pan with a lid and leave them on the stove on low heat for 5 minutes.

Before serving the cheesecakes, you may butter them or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve sour cream and jam preserves/honey separately.  The Russian method is to cover the cheesecake with "as much sour cream as you can handle."  Your cheesecake should practically "be swimming" in sour cream and jam. 

For some variation, the recipe suggests adding seedless raisins to the dough before forming the cheesecakes.  I personally recommend trying them with blueberries, chocolate chips, or banana, and even adding some finely chopped almonds or almond flour to the flour that you roll them in before frying.

If you make them, be sure to leave a comment about your experience!


  1. I copied the recipe and will give it a try. I'll drain the cottage cheese overnight in a colander and then squeeze out any additional liquid. Thanks!!!!

  2. We totally made these at my friends house last night and they were AMAZING. They didn't look quite as fantastic as yours, but they rocked our world. We topped them with Sour Cream and Jam I got at the Russian Supermarket down the block from me. Thanks Shirah!

  3. Great! I'm so glad you tried it and had success!! I'm thinking this weekend I'll buy a cookbook with some of my favorite Russian/Ukrainian recipes. We should definitely make a big meal next time we get together, Garrett!
    (P.S. - This will so top our traditional waffle night) ;)


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