You don’t have to be from Eastern Europe to be dazzled by these sweet and soft cheese pancakes. When I told my spouse (who came to Israel from Ukraine) that I was going to make syrniki – cheese pancakes from Slavic cuisine – it put a nostalgic smile on his face. He told me stories he heard from his great-grandparents about summer mornings in their village in the Vinnitsa district and the aromas of pancakes that filled the house. For Anatoly, our photographer, it also felt like a sweet and distant memory when the smell of the syrniki flooded the studio while we filmed the segment. The cheese used to make the syrniki is called tvorog – a traditional dense and relatively dry white cheese that is popular in Russia. In the United States, it can be substituted with farmer’s cheese.
Ingredients for Syrniki
- flour for flouring surfaces
- oil for frying
For the pancake dough:
- 11.5 oz (320 grams) tvorog cheese (Farmer's cheese may be substituted)
- 5 tablespoons (50 grams) flour
- 1 egg large
- 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) Sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of Salt
For the raspberry sauce:
- 3.5 oz (100 grams) fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 teaspoon butter
For the cheese topping:
- 2-3 teaspoons quark cheese 9% milk fat
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
Preparing the dough:
1. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a regular fork, mix all the ingredients together until fully integrated.
2. Liberally dust your work surface with flour. Remove a large tablespoon sized portion of dough and roll it on the surface (like when making gnocchi). Then form it into a ball and flatten it, creating a disc 3 inches (7-8cm) in diameter. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
3. Heat a skillet over a medium flame and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Carefully slide about 5 discs into the skillet and fry for approximately 2 minutes on each side until the syrniki are golden brown. Fry the remaining discs in the same manner.
Prepare the raspberry sauce:
4. Place the raspberries, sugar and butter in a saucepan and stir over a low flame for about 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.
Preparing the cheese topping:
5. In a small bowl, beat the cheese, olive oil and sugar until a smooth and glossy cream is formed.
6. When the syrniki are warm or at room temperature, place them on a serving platter together with the raspberry sauce and cheese topping. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
More serving options:
You have some leftover syrniki? You can cut them into cubes and add them to a fruit salad with a little maple syrup or date honey.
Using a teaspoon or melon baller, make a well in the syrniki, spoon some whipped cream into it and top with cubes of fresh fruit.
Roll the syrniki dough into a long ‘rope’ and divide it into small pieces (just like when making gnocchi). After rolling them in flour, fry the pieces until they are golden brown. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top and nosh away.