Sirniki (cheese cakes)

Can you remember what your favorite childhood breakfast was? How often do you still eat it? Would you even want to try it now?

We had a few breakfasts on rotation when I was growing up; I remember oladyi, blini and sirniki. This weekend I finally had the chance to try making one of my old childhood favorites. It was so easy, this may be added to my adult breakfast rotation!

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Sirniki are cheese based little cakes (“sir” means cheese in Russian). As with most Russian breakfasts, they can be made savory or sweet. I prefer mine savory so I can douse them in sweetened condensed milk and not go into an instant sugar coma. Winking smile 

The cheese is called “tvorog” – the closest American equivalent to this is farmers cheese which I found at Whole Foods but I believe there are a few popular brands that also make it (I actually plan on making it one day at home and will be sure to post about my experiment!). Tvorog is as common in Russia as cottage cheese in the US so there are a lot of recipes utilizing it. Find your local supplier because you’ll be seeing this cheese in many posts to come! Smile

Ingredients (makes 5 sirniki):

  • 1/2 lb farmers cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ~1 cup flour+ (I used whole wheat pastry flour with good results but traditionally all-purpose white flour is used)
  • 1-2T butter for frying (my mom often does a 50/50 combo of butter and canola oil as well)

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1. Mix cheese, egg and some of the flour. The amount of flour will depend on how “wet” your cheese is. You don’t want your dough to be too dry.

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Your sirniki dough is ready! Yup, it’s that easy!!

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2. Divide into little cakes

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3. Cover in flour

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4. Melt butter in a medium-high heated skillet

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5. Fry for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

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My favorite part… dig in!! 😀

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I almost always eat my Russian breakfasts with sweetened condensed milk. Another favorite is cherry preserves mixed with sour cream. Mmmm (I actually did a play on that this morning with a maple brown sugar cranberry sauce and Greek yogurt combo. Yum!)

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See? Cheesy.

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These are pretty mild flavored but I really love their texture. They are also a nice blank (not to be mistaken with bland!) canvas for lots of toppings.

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Tell me about your childhood vs. adult breakfasts!!

19 comments to Sirniki (cheese cakes)

  • that looks so good with the sweetened condensed milk on top! i mainly remember eating cereal for breakfast growing up, although pancakes were a fun weekend treat

  • These certainly give a different definition to “cheesecake”! To be quite honest, I loved oatmeal growing up (my dad has always made a huge batch on the weekends), and you know it’s my favorite breakfast now, so I guess my tastes haven’t changed all that much. Although, I used to douse my oatmeal in maple syrup… and nowadays I top it with nut butter instead.

  • beautiful blog! beautiful recipes! i am excited to try out some Russian recipes that you post here. it is one of the cuisines that i am most unfamiliar with!

  • olala…I would love some of these cheese cutlets for my breakfast! They look divine!

  • yeah i’ve definitely seen farmers cheese at regular markets. and i’m a fan, so i must try these sometime! or maybe you can just make them for me :)

  • […] (something our condo is unfortunately lacking). Aside from baking cookies galore and trying new and old Russian recipes, I also wanted to try baking with protein powder again. So far I’ve made […]

  • As a child I would eat toast with butter, brown sugar and icing sugar … now I eat toast with just butter, or nut butter. I miss my sugar toast – I have to have it again!

  • Yum! These cakes are so cute and look delicious. I also love the cranberry sauce and yogurt combo idea! I have some cranberry apple butter, I think I will mix that in with yogurt for brunch :)

  • Now that sounds really kinda interesting. Cheesy tastes with condensed milk… nice one.

  • Viktoriya

    These look delicious! Did you buy the farmers cheese at whole foods? I only see farmers cheese at Russian stores, or maybe I just dont pay attention or dont expect it at American stores, hmmm…Growing up we always always drank tea in the mornings and we had homemade bread which we all had different spreads we liked (cream cheese, peanut butter, or butter) topped with jam. My mom would make oladi, scrambled egges, etc. Tehre was 9 kids so my mom had to make it interesting each day lol. My dad is also from Moldova (Chernovsi, Represent! lol)So we kept going from Chernovsi to Dnipropretrovsk (where my mom from). I love your blog! Looking forward to trying new things:)

    • elina

      I bought the farmer’s cheese at Whole Foods but I’ve also seen it at my local grocery store. I think it was Freedman’s brand if I recall correctly. I think Russian tvorog is slightly tangier but it’s a great substitute. I actually want to make my own some day and document that for the blog… for those that either can’t find it or are feeling a bit more adventurous :)
      Yay for a new Moldovian friend! 😀

  • […] have the same dough as sirniki (cheese cakes) but they are ball shaped and fried. You can also add fun mix-ins into them (I like […]

  • I love these!! Our friend Алёна made them for us!!

  • My dad used to make these for dinner and we’d cover them with sour cream and strawberry preserves…. Yummy! I’m going to try these and see how similar they are to the ones I grew up with! (and thanks for posting… it’s actually a hard recipe to find on the Web)

  • zara

    you can substitute regular cottage cheese instead of farmers cheese just you need to blend it a little bit , you can use even salty one just by adding sugar and a little vanilla powder. Or you can buy Friendship Cottage cheese without salt. Of course you can do your home cottage cheese, just bring to boil the milk and turn it off. After just squeeze a lemons , the milk will cut through and the cottage cheese will be floating on the top just take it and drain it. It’s very easy to do it and fresh farmer cheese.

  • Elina,thank you so much for these great recipes! I went searching online for any recipes(specificly russian ,cause i am :),because my parents are leaving to Oregon.They are leaving 5 of 6 of my brothers with me. I am the only girl in the house which leaves me no choice but to be the cook! :) You know what boys are-love to eat….. Mom even jokes that its a miracle they didnt eat her yet! Once again thank u!

  • I pay a visit day-to-day some sites and websites to read posts,
    except this blog gives feature based writing.

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