I like to highlight guest bloggers who bring delicious food to the table. If they have a different culinary viewpoint than mine, even better. One post, Butternut Squash Mac N Cheese fit both the delicious and different boxes. I am ecstatic to have another great post from Diana who writes at Food N Thought Peddler….
I’m excited to be a guest blogger again, thank you, Pat, for inviting me. Today I’m bringing a traditional Russian breakfast food called “syrniki” or cheese pancakes. “Syr” is cheese in Russian, but we’re actually going to use farmers cheese. It is a “dry” variety of cottage cheese, with minimum to no liquid that works great for this recipe. Cottage cheese, unfortunately, is one of those perceived “diet” foods that are considered boring and often over-looked, yet it is quite delicious (if you choose the right brand), full of healthy protein and very low in fat, even the full-fat version. My favorite busy morning breakfast used to be yogurt mixed with cottage cheese and fresh berries. I don’t eat dairy on a regular basis anymore (by doing so, I was able to switch from daily asthma medicines to occasional on-a-spot treatments), but once in a while some comfort food may call my name, and I give in :)
Syrniki come way up high for me both in comfort and taste, it’s a nice cross between a cheesecake (minus the guilt feelings) and a pancake (plus the protein) :) And as for comfort, it reminds me of lazy weekends, Sunday morning cartoons, waking up to my mom’s cuddles and kisses (and some wonderful smells coming from the kitchen). It feels like childhood all over again!
I recommend using Friendship No Salt Added Farmer Cheese, it produces the best quality for the task at hand. If choosing other cottage cheese, choose an unsalted farmer cheese with no liquid (the more liquid you have, the more flour you’d need to add). I also suggest tasting a tiny bit of farmer cheese before making a batter, a good quality one should taste neutral to somewhat sweet. If it tastes sour or bitter, it’s not of the best quality or freshness, I also try not to buy cottage cheese too close to its expiration date.
And being that I’m gluten intolerant, I’m using a gluten free flour blend, but you, of course, can use regular wheat flour. If making them gluten free, I recommend Authentic Foods Classic Gluten Free Flour Blend, it goes cup per cup with wheat flour and tastes just like one.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 10 minutes. Makes 9-10 small cheese pancakes (double the batch if you want more, they freeze well too).
7-8 oz unsalted farmer cheese (I recommend Friendship brand)
1 large egg
2-3 Tbspoons of flour, either wheat or GF (I recommend Authentic Foods Classic Blend) plus for dusting
2 Tbspoons powdered sugar
1 tspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbspoons raisins, dried cranberries or chocolate chips
oil or oil spray for frying
Place farmer cheese in a bowl and thoroughly break it apart with a fork. Then beat the egg and add it to cheese, mix well.
Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix well until smooth. (I recommend using powdered sugar rather than granulated one as it makes the batter kind of fluffy rather than grainy). Start adding flour little by little and mix well, you’ll generally need about 2 Tbspoons of flour, 3 Tbspoons if cheese has any liquid.
Mix the flour well into the batter until it’s smooth, add the cranberries. The original recipe calls for raisins, I added dried cranberries, either one, or even chocolate chips, work well.
Place some flour on a plate for dusting, dampen hands in cold water(wet them again after each 1-2 patties) and form small pancakes dusting them with flour on all sides. Heat up a frying pan with some oil in it and place cheese pancakes to fry, cook on each side until golden brown. Enjoy syrniki with syrup, fruit preserves, fresh berries or sour cream.
I wouldn’t blame you if you have a sudden urge to re-read Tolstoy, Chekhov or Dostoevsky. I do very much recommend Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov though (a book I can re-read any time in my life and still find something new).
And, yes, you can definitely have your (cheese)cake and eat it too, even every day! Enjoy!