Traditional Russian sweet cheese pancakes (Syrniki) made with cottage cheese and served with a fresh strawberry sauce! Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or even as a light meatless dinner!
Oatmeal for breakfast is great but sometimes you need to add some variation to your morning routine, right? In our household, the weekend is the time when we indulge ourselves with something more interesting when we, finally, get out of bed. Alright alright, who am I kidding, getting up lazily is not the case anymore. Our baby boy is up and ready for a new exciting day at 7 am!
One of our weekend breakfast favorites is Syrniki. If you are not familiar with them, it’s sweet cheese pancakes coming from Russia (I’m not sure about this, though, they could be born in any of the USSR countries). Me and Igor, we grew up with them. Our mothers used to make these fritters quite often.
Traditionally, Syrniki are made from tvorog, which is farmer’s cheese in the United States or quark in Europe (even though I bought quark in Tenerife once and it wasn’t anything like tvorog).
However, knowing that cottage cheese is the most popular option in the USA and keeping in mind that the majority of people come to my blog from this country, a few years ago I tried to use it instead of farmer’s cheese when making these chocolate filled syrniki. And it worked! No wonder – farmer’s cheese is basically pressed cottage cheese with all liquid removed.
Since then I never looked back. Sorry, mom, your Syrniki are really amazing but at the moment I like the version with cottage cheese better. The pancakes turn out more tender and I love that!
This time I went with a more traditional version (chocolate stuffed Syrniki was my creation) and served my cottage cheese pancakes with a fresh strawberry sauce like my grandma used to make. Splendid!
How To Make Russian Syrniki
The process of making Syrniki is fairly simple. A food processor does everything for you and all you have to do is just form the pancakes and fry them. However, there are a few things to pay attention to.
- First of all, because we use cottage cheese instead of farmer’s cheese, you need to drain it as well as you can. Use a strainer or a colander to remove as much liquid as possible.
- The amount of flour you need depends on the amount of liquid in your cottage cheese. If you stir in the flour into your cottage cheese and egg mixture and it’s still too runny, add some more. The final mixture should be sticky but not runny in order to shape the pancakes.
- I like using coconut oil for frying Syrniki even though it’s far from traditional. The most common frying ingredients are butter and oil.
- You can serve Syrniki with myriads of different toppings. Sour cream or yogurt sprinkled with some sugar or mixed with some honey, all possible jams, berry or fruit sauces, syrups, caramelized fruit, to name a few.
To conclude, I highly recommend you to try these cottage cheese pancakes, guys. They are great for breakfast, lunch, or even as a meatless dinner. Syrniki are really filling! I even like them cold, as a snack in the middle of the day. YUM!
Russian Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Syrniki)
For the pancakes:
- 1 lb (450g) cottage cheese
- 1 cup + 4 tbsp (155g) all-purpose flour , sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour , for dusting
- oil or butter , for frying
For the strawberry sauce:
- 3/4 lb (340g) fresh strawberries , quartered
- 1 cup sugar
- zest from 1 medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Drain the cottage cheese as well as you can in a strainer or a colander. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small food processor, place the cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and blend until the cottage cheese is almost smooth. Using a spatula, stir in the flour and baking powder mixture until combined. The dough should be sticky but not runny. If it's too runny, add some more flour.
- Heat some oil or butter in a skillet. In a shallow plate or a bowl, place 1/2 cup flour. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop a ball of the dough and roll it in the flour. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You should get somewhere from 8 to 10 balls.
- With floured hands, tap the balls gently to remove any excess flour. Flatten them to shape into patties.
- Fry both sides on low-medium heat until golden brown. Place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
The strawberry sauce.
- In a medium saucepan, add the strawberries and sugar. Stir until the berries are coated. Using a potato masher, mash about half of the strawberries while leaving some chunks.
- Place over high heat and cook, stirring, until bubbles form. It should take about 5 minutes. If there appears any foam on the surface, skim it and discard. Add the lemon zest and juice. Stir and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes and once again discard the foam.
- In a small bowl, mix the water and cornstarch. Add the mixture to the strawberries. Cook for about 1 minute more, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened. Serve the strawberry sauce with the pancakes. Enjoy!