Vatrushki (Ukranian cheese pastries)

A few months ago I saw a post on Russian Seasons on vatrushki, which are tvorog filled pastries. Her sweet version is reminiscent of a Russian (actually, Ukranian) version of danishes. Vatrushki for me, though, should be savory. So inspired by Alina (btw, how weird is it that the only other Russian food blogger I know is named Alinaand I’m Elina. crazy!) I decided to try my own hand at vatrushki with a touch of salt and dill instead of sugar. That’s how you can eat pastries for dinner and call it good. You’re welcome! haha

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Recipe modified from Please to the Table cookbook

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 3/4 warm water
  • 2T canola oil
  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 salt

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1. Dissolve yeast in water

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2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix

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3. Work the dough for about 10 minutes, folding it in and pressing out with the bottom of your palm. Kind of like pizza dough. Smile You can of course use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a hook attachment but sometimes I find this process therapeutic.

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It will be nice and smooth when you’re done. Can you tell?!

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4. Place in a large bowl sprayed with oil, cover and let rest in a warm place for about 1.5 hours.

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This is a good time to make your cheese filling.

Ingredients (makes 15-18 vatrushki):

Filling

  • 1 lb farmers cheese or “white cheese” (this is how they translate tvorog in Russian stores)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2T sour cream (light is ok)
  • 1T flour
  • 2T dried dill
  • 1 egg for egg wash

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Mix all ingredients (but the last egg, which should be saved for the egg wash) until well combined.

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When your dough rose, it’s time to make your vatrushki!

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[Preheat oven to 350*]

Roll out your dough into 1/2” thickness [tip: working with smaller pieces of dough makes it more manageable.]

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Cut 4” circles out – a cup will do just fine Winking smile

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Gather the dough “scraps”, roll it out again and make more circles. Repeat until none is left. Place on cookies sheets (oiled or layered with silpat baking mats  – these mats are magic, worth the investment if you don’t have them – nothing ever sticks to them!)

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Make indents leaving a little border

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Now fill them with your cheese filling (about 3T in each)

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Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand in a warm place for about 20 minutes. The dough will rise a little like so:

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Beat an egg and brush your vatrushki with the egg wash.

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Bake for about 30 minutes, until they get a healthy golden glow. Smile

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Mmm

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Enjoy for dinner with a side salad or as an appetizer at a party.

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Cheesy, salty. Delicious.

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