A few years ago, I went to Ukraine and stayed at a lodge with a Ukrainian family at the Carpathian Mountains. In the morning, they served us a breakfast of Syrniki with honey that they farmed themselves at their backyard. Such bliss!
Syrniki is a type of cheese pancake, traditional to eastern slavic culture. It is made with Tvorog, aka Farmer’s Cheese, which results in these creamy-in-the-center small pancakes that are crispy and brown on the outside. Now that we’re back home in Singapore, there are definitely times when I really miss those pancake-filled mornings – so, of course I tried to replicate them at home!
Syrniki calls for very simple ingredients. Most of them are readily available in Singapore, except for the ONE most important ingredient: Tvorog, the cheese itself. I’ve had to make do with store-bought Cottage cheese or Ricotta cheese. However, they tend to be more “wet” than Tvorog. As a result, I couldn’t make Syrniki the traditional way, which calls for the batter to be slightly dry so that you can form them into “patties” to be fried individually.
So I guess this recipe is Syrniki-inspired at best, but I did find the resulting cheese pancake is still pretty darn good for how simple it is. And if you eat them when they’re still warm, you’ll get random bites of melty cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is naturally low fat and high in protein, so it’s a great choice if you’re trying to find a healthy breakfast that’s also filling.
Anyways, without further ado, here’s how I make them!
Ingredients for Cheese Pancake
- Approx 3/4 cup of Plain flour
- 200gr Cottage Cheese. You can also use Ricotta cheese (better if they don’t come soaked in excess water). Or, the traditional Syrniki recipe calls for Tvorog or Farmer’s Cheese, if you can find some!
- 2 large eggs
- Margarine / Cooking oil – Canola or Olive oil works fine
- Raisins – Traditional Syrniki recipes calls for raisins mixed into the batter, but I think this is very optional!
- Fruits for topping – Raspberries and Blueberries not only makes for a really pretty presentation, they also go really well with cheese pancake. You can also consider are Strawberries, Banana and Kiwifruit.
- Confectioners / Powdered sugar – you can lightly dust powdered sugar on top of pancake for presentation.
- Maple syrup or Honey – I don’t add sugar to my pancake, so if I want to add just a little bit of sweet I just drizzle Maple syrup or honey upon serving.
- Plain Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream – Traditionally Syrniki is served with a dollop of sour cream on the side. Greek Yogurt also works really well!
How to make Cheese Pancake
Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, beat the two eggs. Once the yolk and the whites are throughly mixed, pour in cottage cheese and mix again.
Step 2: The Flour
Pour in the plain flour. I use approximately 3/4 cup of plain flour, but this amount really depends on the size of the eggs you used. Try to add the flour in small batches and mixing it in between each batches, keeping an eye on the consistency of the batter. It should be wet but should hold its own shape in the pan later. Avoid adding too much flour, which will make the pancake tough and doughy.
Mix until you reach the desired consistency. You should end up with something like this:
Step 3: Fry the pancakes
Heat a non-stick pan on medium, and melt in about 1-2 teaspoon of margarine or cooking oil of choice. Make sure the entire bottom of the pan is lightly coated.
Next, scoop in small circles of batter onto the pan. I used a large spoon to keep the size of each cakes somewhat consistent. The size of each pancake depends entirely on your preference, but since this is a Syrniki-inspired pancake, I usually fry them small sizes – about 8cm (3 inches) in diameter. If you follow this size, you should be able to fit about 4 pancakes at a time in a 26″ pan.
Fry each side for about 1-2 minutes until slightly browned. Before flipping, you can also sprinkle some raisins on top. Traditionally, Syrniki is made with raisins mixed into the batter but sprinkling them on top gives you control of how much raisins you want on each pancake.
Step 4: Plate your pancake
Once you’ve fried up the last batch of batter, your pancakes are ready to serve! You can have them as-is, but really, what is pancakes without all the toppings? I recommend topping your cakes with colorful fruits, powdered sugar and some maple syrup for presentation. If you want to be closer to the traditional Syrniki, you can also add a dollop of plain greek yogurt or sour cream on the side, and use them as a sort of “sauce” to your pancake.
And that’s all! If you tried this recipe, let me know what you think!