Try these yummy, soft Russian cottage cheese pancakes ( Syrniki) for a delicious breakfast treat. Enjoy them with maple syrup like regular American pancakes or top them with sour cream, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, or jam.
What are Syrniki?
Syrniki are traditional Ukrainian or Russian pancakes made with cottage cheese. The name "syrniki" comes from the Russian word "syr," which means cheese. These pancakes are a popular and delicious treat, often enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. They are typically made with a mixture of fresh cheese (such as cottage cheese), eggs, semolina ( or flour), and sugar. Syrniki have a soft and pillowy texture, and they are often served warm with syrup, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or fruit preserves. The cheese in syrniki gives them a unique flavor and adds protein to this delightful dish.
Ingredients for Cottage Cheese Pancakes
- Small Curd Cottage Cheese (Tvorog) - When choosing the best cheese for making syrniki, look for well-drained cottage cheese with minimal whey. If your cheese has excess whey, simply line a sieve with a paper towel, add the cheese, and let the extra whey drain off. Depending on your location, cottage cheese may also be known as Amish cheese or tvorog. If you can't find tvorog or cottage cheese locally, don't worry! You can easily make your own tvorog using just milk and buttermilk.
- Semolina: Use fine or medium-grain semolina. Avoid using coarse semolina, as it may result in a grainy texture in the pancakes.
- Egg is essential as a binding ingredient in this recipe. Regular large-sized eggs will do the trick.
- Vanilla extract: While not crucial, a dash of vanilla extract adds a touch of sophistication to the syrniki.
- Sugar: We recommend to use 2 tablespoons for 1 lb. of cottage cheese.
- All-purpose flour
- Vegetable Oil: Use vegetable oil for frying the syrniki. Adjust the amount as needed.
🔪 How To Make Cottage Cheese Pancakes
In a large bowl, mix the cottage cheese, egg, sugar, semolina, and vanilla extract until well combined. The batter will have a thick, dough-like consistency, not like regular pancake batter. Allow the dough to rest for 15-30 minutes. This allows the semolina to absorb moisture from other ingredients, resulting in a firmer and less sticky dough.
On a floured work surface, roll the dough into a log and then divide it into 10 pieces. Shape each piece into a small patty with your hands. Coat the pancake in flour, shaking off any excess. Use a glass or cookie cutter to position over the pancake, then gently swirl for a perfect round shape. Voilà! Your cottage cheese pancake is ready to be cooked. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan until hot. Add the pancakes and cook for about 6 minutes (3 minutes per side) over medium low heat. Transfer to a paper towel and let them cool. You may need to cook them in batches.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with your favorite toppings.
- Cheese Choice: Use well-drained farmer's cheese or dry cottage cheese for the best texture and flavor in your syrniki.
- Straining: If your cheese has excess moisture, strain it in a fine-mesh colander until it becomes dry and crumbly. This prevents the need for adding too much semolina, maintaining the desired cheesiness.
- Thick Batter: Expect a thicker batter compared to American pancake batter. It should resemble dough for the right consistency.
- Resting: Semolina is a coarse flour that absorbs moisture as it sits in the batter. Allowing the dough to rest gives the semolina time to soak up some of the moisture from the other ingredients, resulting in a firmer and less sticky dough.
- Gentle Handling: When forming the pancakes, handle the dough gently to maintain their softness.
- Heat Control: Fry the syrniki on medium heat to ensure even cooking and a golden-brown crust.
- Cooking Time: Cook each side for about 3 minutes to achieve a perfect texture.
How to serve Syrniki
Similar to traditional American pancakes, syrniki are fantastic with a drizzle of maple syrup on top. You can also try them with homemade syrup, like blueberry syrup. Another great option is to sprinkle powdered sugar over the syrniki.
However, my personal favorite is the traditional Russian way: with a dollop of sour cream.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find Farmer's Cheese in various grocery stores, especially if you're near Ukrainian, Russian, or Polish markets. Alternatively, you have the option to make your own Farmer's Cheese at home, and there are plenty of recipes available on the Internet to guide you through the process.
You can use any oil with a neutral taste. Some options include refined coconut oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil. Butter is also a suitable choice.
The cottage cheese pancake has a delicious taste that is slightly sweet and tangy from the cheese. It is soft and fluffy on the inside, with a light crispiness on the edges.
Yes! Simply replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend that is suitable for baking. There are various gluten-free flour options available, such as rice flour, almond flour, oat flour, or a pre-made gluten-free all-purpose flour mix.
For the best taste, it's recommended to enjoy Syrniki immediately. However, if you have leftovers, store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Simply reheat them in the microwave right before serving to keep them yummy and delicious!
You can also freeze these healthy, protein-packed pancakes. There are two methods:
- Freeze Before Cooking: Line a tray with plastic wrap and place each cheese pancake on the tray, leaving about one inch of space between each pancake. Put the tray in the freezer and allow 2-3 hours for the Syrniki to freeze. Once frozen, take them out of the freezer and stack them with a piece of parchment paper between each pancake. Pack the stack tightly in an airtight container or freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 2 months.
You don't need to defrost Syrniki before cooking. Simply remove them from the freezer bag and cook according to the instructions.
- After cooking Syrniki, you can freeze them too. Allow to cool to room temperature first. Then, place the pancakes between layers of parchment paper and put them in a freezer-safe bag. Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To defrost, you have two options: either let them thaw overnight in the fridge or leave them on the counter for 2-4 hours.
- Blueberry Bliss: Add fresh blueberries to the pancake batter for bursts of fruity goodness in every bite.
- Nutty Delight: Mix chopped nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, or pecans) into the batter for a crunchy and flavorful twist.
- Lemon Zest: Incorporate grated lemon zest into the mixture to infuse the pancakes with a refreshing citrusy aroma.
- Chocolate Indulgence: Sprinkle chocolate chips or cocoa powder into the batter to create a heavenly chocolate-infused treat.
- Banana Burst: Mash ripe bananas and fold them into the mixture for a naturally sweet and creamy addition.
- Coconut Dream: Mix shredded coconut into the batter for a tropical flair that pairs perfectly with the cheese.
- Berrylicious: Use a variety of fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) for a colorful and fruity pancake delight.
- Savory Twist: Skip the sugar and vanilla, and instead, add herbs, chopped scallions, or a sprinkle of black pepper to make savory cottage cheese pancakes.
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