i’m such a sucker at ukrainian bazaars. any cute old lady selling produce instantly makes me spend money on things i didn’t even go there for. just think how bad it would be if they also had puppies with them!! this is an on-going problem for me. i’ll come home with way too many carrots or cabbage simply because my heart ached for the little old babushka sitting in the cold trying to make an income.
the moment i walk by, eyeing their goods (not those kinds of goods), they quickly busy themselves making cute little adjustments in their displays, calling me ‘sweetheart’ and rambling on about their хороший fresh produce. i think they can smell my weakness, know i’ll sway at the slightest bit of persuasion or puppy eyes — they’re masters of their work.
this is how i ended up with much more tvoroh than i needed. not to mention i’m still embarrassingly bad at guessing things in ounces/kilos. but with smiles from the now happy babushka who made/sold this творог, i guess i can deal with going slightly over my cheese budget (yes, i have a cheese budget) and a surplus of one ingredient. despite my recent ‘cottage cheese/sour cream for breakfast regime’ i decided 1 kilo is a bit too much to eat in a week. thankfully there are several ukrainian recipes that call for this kind of cheese but since i’ve been sick and am feeling lazy, i chose the easiest one: syrniki aka сирники aka ukrainian cheesecakes.
don’t get all excited when you see the word ‘cheesecake’. just hearing that word makes me drool. but it’s not cheesecake in the sense that most people know it. it’s more like cottage cheese + pancakes? sort of? anyways it pretty darn good, easy to make, great with jam or sour cream, uses a good portion of my tvoroh, and might be somewhat nutritional.
syrniki // ukrainian cheesecakes
recipe from peace corps ukraine cookbook
makes 4 servings or 16ish cakes
- 1/2 kilo tvoroh (cottage cheese)*
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or vanilla extract)
- 2-3 tbps manka (cream of wheat)
- 4 tbps sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup flour
- handful of raisins if you’re feelin sassy
1.) mix wet ingredients together (cheese, eggs, vanilla) in a medium bowl. in separate bowl mix dry ingredients. add dry ingredients to wet and mix thoroughly.
2.) cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3.) sprinkle a generous amount of flour on work surface. covering your hands with extra flour, drop a heaping spoonful of batter onto the plate. form batter into small fat pancakes using your hands to shape the sides and flatten the top.
4.) heat a skillet with a small amount of oil (sunflower oil or veggie/canola oil) and fry pancakes over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
5.) serve with smetana (sour cream) or fruit preserves. smachnoho! enjoy!
*1/2 kilo of tvoroh is roughly around 1 pound or 17-18 ounces cottage cheese.