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Vatrushka: Sweet Russian Farmer’s Cheese Buns with Berries

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Easy Russian Vatrushka Recipe: Delicious, fluffy and healthy farmer’s cheese individual sweet buns look impressive and take a bit more than an hour to make! They make for a great tea-time treat, dessert as well as Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast treat.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Seven Servings of the Delicious Dessert

 

If you have ever tried vatrushki, you know how fluffy and delicious they are. These individual open-faced Russian buns filled with farmer’s cheese and seasonal berries are one of my all-time favorite tea time treats.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I was looking for something unusual, comforting and yet healthyish and easy to make, so my choice fell on these babies.

Make sure to check other Thanksgiving menu ideas like best vegan appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, sides and desserts, as well as 50 best vegan Christmas recipes.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Holding One Vatrushka in the Left Hand

Not only these vatrushka buns are delicious, pretty looking and perfect for your Thanksgiving table but they are also healthy and easy. Hard to believe but it’s true. Additionally, you can use up the rest of your cranberry sauce on top of your vatrushka buns! No reason not to make these little buddies this Thanksgiving!

I have no doubts that your kids will love vatrushka buns and will beg you to bake more. Serve them for breakfast or as a dessert or a tea-time sweet treat.

 

 Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Served and Ready for the Holidays

 

What Are Russian Vatrushka Buns?

 

Traditional vatrushka is a Russian/Eastern European sweet pastry formed as a ring of yeast dough filled with farmer’s cheese (cottage cheese, quark…) and berries or raisins.

The name derives from an old Slavic word “hearth” or “fire”, that is probably why vatrushka buns look like sun, just like Russian pancakes. Original festive vatrushka was as big as a pie but it evolved into individual palm-sized buns.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Super Tasty Dessert in a Basket

 

There are savory versions with onions and non-sweetened dough but they are less common. Usually, vatrushka buns are served for tea as a sweet treat.

The yeast dough used for vatrushka buns is fluffy and light, brushed with an egg yolk before baking, for the ruddy top. Sweetened farmer’s cheese or quark is traditionally used for the filling, with an addition of raisins or berries. Other options may include jams or applesauce.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Eight Servings with Berries

 

How to Make Russian Vatrushka Buns

 

This recipe is one of the easiest and quickest. You would need 1 hour 20 minutes of time from start to finish, which is a very short time for yeast dough.

I used spelt flour for this recipe, as it is more nutritious and has a lovely nutty flavor. You can feel free to use all-purpose flour as well.

As a filling, I used farmer’s cheese flavored with vanilla and sweetened with honey. Other options can be apple sauce or jam. You can even use the rest of cranberry sauce if you want.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Six Vatrushkas with Berries in a Tray

 

You want your cottage cheese to be as dry as possible. If yours is rather creamy, wrap it in a cheesecloth and hang over a sink or a big bowl to strain the liquid. You can use it afterwards instead of milk for pancakes for example.

Another option would be to make farmer’s cheese yourself using milk and vinegar. Here is a simple recipe: Farmer’s Cheese (Творог).

To start with, sift the flour into a large bowl and create a well in the middle. Mix yeast with milk and a bit of demerara sugar and pour the mixture into the well. Let rest covered for 10 minutes or until the surface is bubbly.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - So Ready for Baking

 

Add the rest of sugar, butter and egg yolk and knead until smooth. Let rest for 30 more minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Mix farmer’s cheese with egg, honey and vanilla extract.

When the dough has doubled in size, knead it once again and divide into 8 balls. To do this, you can cut the dough ball in halves with a very sharp knife, then in quarters and then in eighths. Form eight balls.

Using a rolling pin, roll each ball, working from the center – outwards, until it is about 16 cm or 6 inches in diameter. Fold the edges inwards to form a well in the middle for the filling. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Empty and Ready to Be Filled

 

Add the filling into the wells, one tablespoon at a time. Sprinkle with cranberries, lingonberries or other berries. You can also use cranberry sauce, apple sauce or jam for the topping.

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Filled and Ready for Baking in a Tray

 

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy with tea!

Here is the full recipe. Hope you and your family will love it!

 

Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Seven Servings of the Delicious Dessert
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5 from 4 votes

Vatrushka: Sweet Russian Buns

Easy Russian Vatrushka Recipe: Delicious, fluffy and healthy farmer's cheese individual sweet buns look impressive and take a bit more than an hour to make! They make for a great tea-time treat, breakfast or Thanksgiving dessert.
Course Dessert, Breakfast
Cuisine Russian
Keyword sweet pastry, sweet Russian buns, vatrushka
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 413kcal

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 cups or 250 g spelt flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast or 3 teaspoons fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup or 120 ml milk (you can also use your favorite nut milk)
  • 1/4 cup or 45 g Demerara sugar divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:

  • 10 oz or 300 g farmer's cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 8 tablespoons cranberries, lingonberries or other berries You can also use cranberry sauce, apple sauce or jam for the topping

Instructions

Make the dough:

  • Sift the flour into a large bowl and create a well in the middle. Mix yeast with milk and 1 tablespoon of demerara sugar and pour the mixture into the well. Let rest covered for 10 minutes or until the surface is bubbly.
  • Add the rest of sugar, butter and egg yolk and knead until smooth. Let rest for 30 more minutes.

Make the filling:

  • You want your cottage cheese to be as dry as possible. If yours is rather creamy, wrap it in a cheese cloth and hang over a sink or a big bowl to strain the liquid. You can use it afterwards instead of milk for pancakes for example.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Mix farmer's cheese with egg, honey and vanilla extract.

Roll the dough:

  • When the dough has doubled in size, knead it once again and divide into 8 balls. To do this, you can cut the dough ball in halves with a very sharp knife, then in quarters and then in eighths. Form eight balls. Preheat the oven to 390 F or 200 C.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll each ball, working from the center - outwards, until it is about 16 cm or 6 inches in diameter. Fold the edges inwards to form a well in the middle for the filling. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Assemble and bake:

  • Add the filling into the wells, one tablespoon at a time. Sprinkle with cranberries, lingonberries or other berries. You can also use cranberry sauce, apple sauce or jam for the topping.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy with tea!

Notes

Store them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Serve warm or cold.

Nutrition

Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 3.2mg
Tried this recipe?Follow @happykitchen.rocks on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #happykitchenrocks!

Love,

Elena

P.S.Here is another Russian pastry you must try: Russian Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes.

Vatrushka: Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Berries - Seven Vatrushkas on the Table
Vatrushka: Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Berries - Holding in Hand Collage with Text Overlay
Vatrushka: Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Berries - Healthy Dessert Collage with Text Overlay
Vatrushka Sweet Russian Farmer's Cheese Buns with Tea - Super Long Collage with Text Overlay

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Norma

Wednesday 17th of February 2021

Looks delish. Can I use cream cheese instead of cottege cheese in this recipe?

Elena Szeliga

Thursday 18th of February 2021

Hi Norma, yes! Cream cheese or quark will both work. Let me know how they turned out!

Val Proctor

Thursday 25th of October 2018

I just noticed that you did not mention the oven temperature. I am baking mine at 350. Hope that is right:) Val

Elena Szeliga

Thursday 25th of October 2018

Hi Val, oops! I just checked my notes and it's actually 390. So maybe bake a little longer? Hope it will work! Please let me know how you liked them :)

michele

Monday 20th of November 2017

I see you use cottage cheese in the post... is that the same cottage cheese I get at the market? I thought farmers cheese was a solid cheese, not curd like ... It sounds so good I want to make sure I get the right ingredient!

Elena Szeliga

Tuesday 21st of November 2017

Hi Michele, thank you! Good question actually, so I think I will add some more details on that to my post. You want to use farmer"s cheese that looks like that. I would blend it before using to have a smooth consistency. You can also use quark but make sure to drain it before using, since you don;t want extra liquid. Hope it helps!

Julie

Monday 20th of November 2017

These are so pretty! I feel like the flavor combination makes them a perfect little pastry treat for the morning of Thanksgiving - or the day after.

Elena Szeliga

Tuesday 21st of November 2017

Thank you Julie! I had Thanksgiving or Christmas morning i mind when I wrote this recipe. Maybe I make them this Thursday ;)

Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

Sunday 19th of November 2017

I've never heard of vatrushki, but I love breads that are fluffy and delicious! I think this recipe would be easy to adapt with similar type buns from the grocery store. Great looking recipe!

Elena Szeliga

Tuesday 21st of November 2017

Awesome idea, Karyl! Thank you!

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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