Syrniki, also sirniki (plural), are soft and fluffy cheese pancakes of Eastern European origin made from farmer's cheese. Served with sour cream and fruit preserves, they make a delightful breakfast.
Place the farmer's cheese in a mixing bowl, and add egg, flour, salt, and sugars. Mix ingredients with a fork, a spatula, or a potato masher, and stir together until the batter (better-called dough) becomes sticky. It will be thick enough, much thicker than the regular American pancake batter.
To test, take the pancake dough in your hand and slightly squeeze it in your palm. If the dough holds the shape, it is of the right consistency and is ready.
To shape syrniki, sift some flour on the working surface for coating. There are three ways to shape syrniki pancakes.
#1 Take the dough (about less than 2 oz. (50 g) with damp hands (wet your hands in cold water or oil) and shape a small ball. Place it on the floured surface and flatten it into a small patty of about 1/2″ thickness using your hand. Roll in flour, covering the pancake with flour on all sides. Set aside and continue with the rest of the pancakes.
#2 Use a quarter-cup cookie scoop or an ice cream scoop to portion your pancakes. Place the dough scoop on the floured surface and roll it up with your hand in a circular motion, gently pulling the ball along (like shaping a dinner roll). Pat the dough down with your hand, and cover it with flour.
#3: Turn the dough onto the floured surface and gently make it into a log like a thick sausage (2 inches/5 cm in diameter). Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into even pieces 1/2 inch (1.2-1.5 cm) thick. Cover each cut piece with the flour, and shape each pancake using a glass or a round cookie cutter of a larger diameter.
To fry, pour the vegetable oil into a frying pan and warm it up. Transfer each syrnik to the pan using a spatula. Fry syrniki (3-4 in batches) over low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes on both sides until golden. Use a flexible turner to help turn the pancakes. You may need to add more oil as you go.
Expert tip: The higher your syrnik, the less heat you should use and the longer it to fry. You may need to cover the pan with a lid and fry the second side (after it gains the gold color) for 1-1.5 minutes longer.
Remove the fried syrniki from the pan and place it on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Serve cheese pancakes hot with sour cream, whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, jam preserves, or fresh fruit. You can eat them cold if desired.
Keywords: syrniki, sirniki