SyrnikiThis yummy breakfast dish is made from tvorog, a kind of fresh soft cheese that has a consistency similar to cottage cheese, but a flavor that is closer to ricotta. It is a staple in a Russian home, and making syrniki is the traditional way to use leftover tvorog before you get a new batch. Despite this cheese’s similarity to both cottage cheese and ricotta, I don’t recommend that you use those as substitutes. Tvorog is available from the dairy section in most mainstream supermarkets as “farmer cheese” (the Friendship brand is pretty good).

1 lb tvorog or farmer cheese
2 raw medium eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp cooking oil

1. Combine tvorog, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract and mix or beat lightly until smooth.

2. Gradually sift in 2 tbsp of flour, working the dough with your hands, until it becomes a smooth, thick paste that does not stick to your fingers. If you don’t quite get that consistency, add a little more flour, but be careful not to add too much, or the flavor in the finished patties will be too starchy.

3. Spread the remaining 1 tbsp of flour on a flat surface. Dip your fingers into flour, shake off excess and take a piece of dough approximately the size of a golf ball. Roll it on the floured surface to give it a spherical shape, then flatten gently so you get a circular patty about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat with the remainder of the dough until it’s all used up.

4. Pan-fry the patties over medium heat until golden-brown, about 2 minutes per side.

5. Serve warm with berry preserves, sour cream and/or honey.

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