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Have Your (Cheese)Cake and Eat It Too

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.

Syrniki

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!

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Categories: Baking, Breakfast, Cheese, Dessert, Fruit, kosher, Recipes, Russian, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

20 Comments on “Have Your (Cheese)Cake and Eat It Too”

  1. May 24, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    I would love to try this as I have eaten things with farmers cheese, including a perogi recipe that I grew up with. However we cannot find farmers cheese anywhere near us.

  2. May 24, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    looks great.. my mom of Hungarian descent would make perogis with farmers cheese filling, and then fry them in butter…. delicious

  3. May 24, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    I will have to try this …. good protein recipe. Thanks!

  4. May 24, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Copied it out. Will have to try it Friday or Saturday.

  5. May 24, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    If you can’t find famer cheese, get regular cottage cheese (but unsalted) and strain the liquid through paper towel (you may have to do it several times to get it “dry”), you’ll also have to add more flour if some liquid still remains, and make sure there are no lumps left in the cottage cheese, break it with a fork.

  6. May 24, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Oh, thank you for sharing this recipe! I have a Russian co-worker who brings me these for breakfast all the time. But she won’t share her recipe ;) Now I can make some for her! Love them – they keep me “full and focused” until lunchtime.

  7. May 24, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I’ve just send this to my Canadian-Russian friend to check, if she knows the recipe. Thanks for sharing this yummy dish with us. Looks like it will be one of my Sunday morning favs, too.

  8. May 24, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I hear Wisconsin State Fair is going to try deep fried cheesecake. What do you think? I wonder if graham cracker crumbs would work for a batter?

  9. May 24, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Wow, this looks so yummy!

  10. thebeadden
    May 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    This is a recipe that would get me out of bed with a smile! Thanks for sharing.

  11. May 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Yummy recipe.

  12. barbarafeltch08
    May 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Wow, nice recipe. Looks yummy and sweet :D I guess it would not hurt to add lots of chocolate chips? :)

  13. May 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Love this! I just made (almost) the same thing a few weeks ago but I added pistachios to it! I just haven’t posted it yet! I used that same farmers cheese too! Love that stuff!

  14. May 24, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    These look great! Would this work with ricotta cheese do you think?

  15. May 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I don’t think it’ll work with ricotta, I’m sorry, it’s too thin and watery, you’ll need a lot more flour to bind it so it’ll taste more like dough rather than cheese.

  16. May 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Thank you for all your nice comments, please stop by my blog, I love guests (in my home and on my blog :) ), you can find a lot more recipes, some of them are Russian too, and I do try providing both a gluten free and a regular version (when needed). Oh, and do read the book, it’s very philosophical and satirical at the same time. Hey, I’m not just food, I’m a thought peddler too :)

  17. Karla
    May 25, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    aaah that looks soooo delicious!

  18. May 25, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I have to say, those little pancakes look fabulous!

  19. Laurie
    May 25, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Looks like a great Sunday breakfast!

  20. May 25, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Reblogged this on Food n Thought Peddler and commented:
    I was I was excited to be a guest blogger for The Ranting Chef yet again, thank you, Pat! It was so interesting to see how something that is a very common dish in one ethnicity can be a novelty for somebody else. Hope you all enjoy it the way my family does!

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