Here is another post inspired by my lovely mother. And also another recipe that calls for that strange ingredient – “farmer’s cheese.”
Sirniki (I’m not even going to attempt to spell this out phonetically) means “little cheese cakes” in Russian. Along with blinis and crepes, they’re what my mom makes most often for Sunday morning breakfast. I’ve never seen her actually making sirniki because I am always asleep until the smell of these little cakes frying in oil gently wakes me up. And let me just say, it is impossible to have a bad day after a sirniki breakfast. Well, no, I’m sure it is possible, but I’m trying to make a point here!
When I asked her for the recipe, she vaguely listed the ingredients and described the procedure. When asked for exact measures, she just held up her thumb and middle finger and said, “About this much,” as she usually does. I guess it’s because she’s made a bijillion sirniki in her life so it comes as second nature to her and she doesn’t need measurements.
And so, I was left to my own devices when trying to make sirniki for the first time.
(Yield: about 12 cakes)
8 oz farmer’s cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 handful dried cherries (optional)
About ¾ c flour, divided
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
Procedure: In a bowl, combine cheese, egg, vanilla, salt, sugar and cherries until well incorporated. Start adding flour, beginning with 2 tbsp. Mix well. (Final mixture should be solid yet soft and not sticky to the touch. Add flour by the tbsp. until desired consistency is reached). Turn mixture onto floured surface and form into circular log, of about a 2” circumference.
Dip a knife into flour and slice log into 12 ¾”-thick medallions. Dredge medallions in flour.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom. Fry the medallions for about 4 min, until golden brown, flip, and fry for 3-4 more min.
Drain on paper towels. Serve warm, topped with sour cream.
Verdict: When I rolled out the log and tried to slice it into ‘medallions,’ I realized I must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere because the dough started to fall apart a little. However, to my pleasant surprise, the cakes turned out pretty soft and fluffy, almost as great as mymother’s.