Pancakes ‘Syrniki’ au fromage blanc

Ukrainian ‘Syrniki’ pancakes

These little pancakes are traditionally served with sour cream/crème fraîche and jam. They can be made very quickly — less than 15 minutes to the table from the moment you walk into your kitchen. What distinguishes them from other pancakes is that they are made using smooth fresh cheese — farmer’s cheese, quark, fromage blanc or tvorog.

As these cheeses differ in consistency, you may need to adjust to ensure that the batter is neither too thin nor too thick. It should be a little thicker than heavy cream, and less thick than crème fraîche or sour cream — like pancake batter without the lumps. If the batter is too thick, you can add a little water. If it’s too thin, add a little more flour.

The quantities below will make about 15 small pancakes, enough for 3-4 people.

2 eggs
1/2 pound (250 g) farmer cheese, quark or fromage blanc
1/3 cup (40 g) flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder (levure alsacienne)
pinch of salt
1/2 eggshell water (optional)
2-4 tbsp. butter (for frying)
crème fraîche or sour cream

Break the eggs into a medium bowl. Using a wire whip, whisk to blend.

Whisk in the cheese. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk.

If the batter is too thick (e.g. with farmer’s cheese), add 1/2 eggshell water. If it seems too thin (unlikely), add a teaspoon more flour.

Let the batter sit for a minute or two before making the pancakes. While it’s resting, you can get the cream and jam ready for the table.

Melt 1-2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet. When it foams, count to 10 and then start making the pancakes. I use a small ladle and can generally fit in four at a time. Add more butter between batches. Continue until you’ve used all the batter.

This goes very quickly, but if you’d like to keep the first batches of pancakes warm you can pop them into a medium-hot oven while you finish the batter.

Serve the pancakes with sour cream/crème fraîche and jam on the side, accompanied by any other breakfast/brunch dishes you may desire. Serves 3-4.

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