Ricotta Cheese Pancakes, Memories of Russian Syrniki

IMG_3592Syrniki :  a word that congers up sweet memories of those delicious cheese pancakes I had the pleasure to nosh on in Moscow last August for breakfast at the hotel.  Below, they are beautifully plated but I hope I have plated a close second above with my version adapted from  Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman, just released in September 2017.  I received this delicious cookbook  in the Fall and as I perused it, I was thrilled to see the recipe of ricotta blini with honey, orange, and sea salt.  I wanted to share this version with you because the ricotta cheese, although not the authentic cheese used in syrniki, is much easier to find in all supermarkets.  And you have a choice of whole milk ricotta or the low fat ricotta which I used here trying to lower my calorie intake (because I knew I was going to eat a few)!

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The ingredients are simple: ricotta cheese, eggs, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, white vinegar, baking soda, salt and orange zest.

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I didn’t have an orange in the house so I grated the rind of an clementine.  And lemon zest would also be an excellent alternative.

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The cheese, eggs, salt, sugar, zest and vinegar are whisked together.

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After combining the flour, baking soda and salt together, it is mixed into the wet ingredients until thoroughly blended.

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Now there is a little bit of work but well worth it.  On an amply floured dish, drop the batter onto the flour in heaping tablespoons.  Then gently turn each blob over to ensure coating on all sides.

Gently roll each dough blob into a ball; remember the batter is extremely soft and delicate.  I got 17 pancakes out of this batter — you could have more or less depending on the size of your heaping spoonfuls.

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Heat a fry pan with oil to medium heat.  Gently place each pancake portion into the pan, maybe 4 or 5 at a time. Gently flatten each one but not too much; you’ll want that moist cheese-y centre to remain.  Fry until golden.  Remove and place on paper towel to drain. Repeat with next batch.IMG_3589

I sprinkled cinnamon and some warmed honey onto my pancakes.

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Any berries, or even mint leaves would be a lovely addition.

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Eat right away; they will be warm and very moist in the centre.  However they are still delicious the next day warmed up…if they last that long!

Ricotta Cheese Pancakes


adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day

3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 1/3 cup for coating
1 cup ricotta, whole milk or light variety
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 orange or lemon
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
neutral oil for frying
cinnamon, warmed honey and berries,  for garnish

  1. Whisk together the ricotta, eggs, sugar, zest, and vinegar in a large bowl.  Blend 3/4 cup flour, baking soda and salt and stir into the wet mixture until combined.
  2. Place remaining 1/3 cup of flour on a plate and drop about 2 tablespoons of batter onto the flour.  Gently pick up each ‘blob’ of floured dough and ensure it is covered all over and shape into a ball; it will be extremely fragile and soft.  Repeat with remaining dough — you should get about 16 pancakes out of this.
  3. Heat a fry pan over medium-high heat.  Add about 3 tbsp. oil and place 4 to 5 blobs of pancake batter onto the heated oil and press gently into a disk.
  4. Cook until golden brown on one side and flip.  Don’t overcook, you want the cheese centre to be very moist. Drain on paper towel.
  5. Repeat with remaining batter.
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon, or cinnamon-sugar and drizzle warmed honey on top.  Garnish with berries.

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