For a few days now, I have been trying to make lemonade out of the lemons life handed me last week. The problem was, I could barely drag my butt from the couch to the bathroom and back, let alone do something productive.
And since I took another sick day today but was actually feeling almost 100%, I decided to make syrniki for lunch. Syrniki are a staple in Russian and Ukrainian cuisine. They are made with farmers’ cheese (not to be confused with cottage cheese!), eggs, sugar, and a little bit of flour. These little golden nuggets can be very temperamental. You may think the dough is too sticky so you add more flour and end up with a very dense product or a product that tastes too much like uncooked flour. Or, you don’t add enough flour, and they fall apart in the pan.
There are a lot of recipes for syrniki out there. Some call for baking powder/soda, others require cooking syrniki in the oven. I think I nailed it this time though. My batter was quite sticky and stuck to my fingers. Raw syrniki felt very soft to the touch but held up beautifully while cooking, came out nicely browned, and cooked all the way through.
Traditionally, syrniki are served with sour cream or jam. I enjoyed mine with some honey and Greek yogurt for a healthier option.
- 1 lb farmers’ cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar (or more, if you like)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 4 tablespoons for dusting
- 1/4 cup small raisins (optional; I didn’t use)
- 2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying, divided
- sour cream or jam for serving
In a large bowl, mix together farmers’ cheese, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt. Sift in flour, add raisins (if using), and mix well. The batter will look sticky.
Heat 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Dust a large wooden cutting board or other surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Pour some water into a small bowl. Dip a tablespoon into the water, scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter, roll in the flour, and make a small patty, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter. Place on a dusted surface. Depending on the size of your pan, make 6 or 7 cakes and place them in the pan one after another. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes on one side. Flip, cover, and cook for 4 more minutes on the other side. Remove finished cakes to a plate and keep warm. Add another tablespoon or two of oil to the pan, and repeat with another batch.
Serve hot with sour cream or your favorite jam. You can also drizzle the cakes with honey or dust with some powdered sugar.