Russian syrniki are farmer’s cheese pancakes, fluffy, pillowy and tender, topped with sweet strawberry vanilla sauce. My Russian mother’s breakfast recipe.
Along with Russian Pancakes (blini), syrniki is something you look forward to eat for Sunday breakfast. Fluffy, pillowy, soft and tender, topped with sweet strawberry vanilla sauce, these farmer’s cheese pancakes are very delicious and probably one of the hidden pearls of Slavic cuisine.
If you are looking for a sweet breakfast that isn’t American pancakes, syrniki definitely deserve to be discovered.
Syrniki (translates to “fried cheese cakes”) are the invention of thrifty housewives who wanted to use up the sour milk left from cheese making. The word syrniki is derived from the word “syr” (cheese), because in former times there was no special word for farmer’s cheese.
Nowadays, “syr” only refers to hard yellow cheese, so as a child, I was wondering why syrniki are called like that, although they are made of farmer’s cheese?
My mom used to make them nearly every weekend for breakfast, so I asked her for a recipe she is using. We made these syrniki together, so you can be sure that the recipe is authentic.
How to Make Russian Syrniki
Syrniki are really easy to make, but there are some things to consider before you start. The most important ingredient is farmer’s cheese and its quality and moisture content determines the result.
It’s better to use fresh farmer’s cheese, not too dry and not too moist. However, it’s easy to fix these issues: just dilute the dry farmer’s cheese with a bit of sour cream or yogurt to make it more moist or put the moist farmer’s cheese in a sieve allowing the excess moisture to drain.
Besides farmer’s cheese, you will need eggs, flour, baking soda, a bit of lemon juice, salt and bourbon vanilla sugar to make syrniki. I didn’t use sugar because I made a sweet sauce, but feel free to add as much sugar as you want.
For the sauce, you’ll need strawberries, brown sugar, vanilla pod, lemon juice and flour. I made a big batch (and I strongly recommend you to do the same) because this sauce is incredibly delicious and you can use it for a variety of dishes.
The truth is, I had to use up strawberries we picked last week in a strawberry field. We got to use up a bit more than 1 kilogram, so I made the sauce from this amount. In the recipe below I divided this amount by 3, just enough for the amount of syrniki in the recipe.
I really urge you to double or triple the recipe for the sauce. It stores well in the fridge (for at least a week) and I will use the rest of it to make a cheesecake for my father-in-law’s birthday.
Alternatively, you can serve syrniki with any kind of jam, syrup, honey, sour cream or berries.
Check the recipe below for my mom’s Russian syrniki with strawberry vanilla sauce and enjoy the Slavic breakfast to the fullest!
Russian Syrniki with Strawberry Vanilla Sauce
- 400 grams or 2 cups farmer's cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla sugar
- a pinch of alt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons wheat flour
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar optional
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil to fry I use sunflower oil
- extra flour for dredging
For the sauce:
- 300 grams or 1 1/2 cups strawberries quartered
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 teaspoons wheat flour
- Make the sauce: In a saucepan, combine quartered strawberries, brown sugar and lemon juice. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrub the seeds, adding both the pod and the seeds to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and place a couple tablespoons strawberry juice in a small bowl. Add flour and mix well. Add the strawberry juice-flour mixture to the sauce and stir well. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced in volume. Discard the vanilla pod once the sauce is ready. Refrigerate in a sealed container for one week.
- In a large bowl, combine farmers's cheese, egg, bourbon vanilla sugar and salt. Use a fork to break the farmer's cheese if needed. In a spoon, combine baking soda with lemon juice and wait until it bubbles up, then add to the mixture. Add sugar if desired. Gradually add flour, until the mixture is soft but not too thin.
- Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add a lug of vegetable oil. Prepare a well-floured surface to place the syrniki on (I use a big plate). Take a tablespoon of the batter and put it in your dry and well-floured hands. Form a ball and press it to form a patty. Continue with the rest of the batter.
- Fry syrniki for about 5 minutes each side, covering the pan in the end to make them softer and juicier. Serve with strawberry vanilla sauce or any other topping of your choice. Enjoy!
What is your favorite sweet breakfast? Leave a comment below!