Syrniki – Russians’ favourite cottage cheese pancakes
If I ask my Russian friends what they want to eat for breakfast, they will most likely answer: Syrniki! And I don’t blame them. Syrniki are super soft cottage cheese pancakes which can make your taste buds dance.
Today I’ll try to share with you a bit of information about this national favourite and I will also share the recipe with you. Приятного аппетита!
The importance of syrniki (or: why you should burn in hell if you are in Russia and you haven’t tried them yet)
Syrniky are more than just weird pancakes. They are very much linked to many Russians’ happy childhood memories. I still remember one morning, unaware of how powerful this dish could be, I invited a friend to come over to my place for breakfast. I love cooking and I’m a bit crazy so I dared to serve him syrniki. I was cooking them for the first time (crazy Miriam) and I had eaten them only once before. I was feared that my cottage cheese pancakes would not resemble the original. But if we taking into account my friend’s reaction, I would say I succeeded!
My friend made the syrniki disappear in a few seconds and yet he managed to find the time to share with me some childhood memories linked to this dish. With a bite, he could travel back on time and remember his mother cooking them on a holiday day or how happy he was. He remembered being told off by putting way too much sgushyonka on top of his syrniki (If that impossible). Syrniki are happy pancakes.
Even for those like me who don’t have a strong emotional connection, these pancakes are great and I’m sure you’ll love them. And, good news! They are not difficult to cook. If you want to learn how to cook them keep on reading! I will teach you how to cook them using a friend’s recipe.
How to cook Syrniki
You will need:
- 200 tvorog (might be difficult to find outside Russia. You can always look for cottage cheese/quark). I used 180 because that’s what most packages on the supermarket contain.
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 spoons of all-purpose flour (you might need more depending on the water content of your tvorog)
- Sugar to taste (one spoon should be enough because you will probably dress your syrniki)
- Vegetable oil or butter (I forgot it on the picture, but I added love instead!)
- A pinch of salt
- Optional: condensed milk, honey, jam, smetana
Step by step:
– Mix the tvorog with the sugar and the egg yolk until it becomes a soft paste. Don’t worry too much if it’s slightly lumpy, but it should be as smooth as possible if you want your pancakes to be silky inside. I was a bit confused in the supermarket with a huge variety of cottage cheese available. You can find it with different consistencies. I chose one which has not a high water content. This way I can use less flour and that would make my pancakes lighter and softer.
– Add one tablespoon of all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt. You might need a bit more if your tvorog is very moist. Mix until the mix becomes homogeneous. At this point, you might think the batter is too sticky, but that’s how it should be it you want tender syrniki.
-On a flat clean surface sprinkle, a bit of flour (this will be your working surface). This is the step will help you to create beautiful pancakes. Put a bit of flour on your hands and take a bit of the syrniki batter (a big tablespoon, more or less). Traditionally, they are shaped into circles but you can get creative if you wish. Repeat this step until all the mix is finished.
-Preheat a bit of oil/butter in a pan at medium temperature. Once the frying pan is hot enough, place your beautiful syrniki and cook for about 2 minutes each side until they are golden brown. If your syrniki are thicker than mine (about 2cm) they might take longer to cook and you might need to lower a bit the heat so that they don’t get burned.
Serve the syrniki with a topping of your choice. The most traditional ones are condensed milk, honey, jam, sour cream (smetana). I personally like them with condensed milk and I think I will soon try to pour melted chocolate on them. It’s not a traditional topping but it must taste amazing!
After following these instructions, I got more syrniki than my stomach could handle. But they are now waiting for me on the fridge for next time. They won’t be as nice as freshly made, but they will still make me happy tomorrow morning when I wake up and I realise that breakfast is already prepared. Isn’t that great?
If you love cooking and you would like to explore Russian cuisine a bit more you can check our posts: Eat Like The Locals: 3 Easy Recipes for Beginners, Blini- Staff Favorite or Vegetarian Pelmeni from scratch.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe. Sharing is caring, so do not forget to share it with your loved ones (or just cook it for them!)