Syrniki (Fried Farmer Cheese Cakes)
the most popular Russian breakfast.
For 20 cakes:
2 lbs farmer cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup semolina (cream of wheat)
Vegetable oil for frying
Flour for dusting the cakes before frying
Place the farmer cheese, semolina, flour, salt, baking soda, sugar and eggs into a large bowl and stir well to combine.
It’s best to stir the mixture with your hand because it is too thick to work with a spoon or a fork, and the ingredients will mix better and easier this way.
Let the bowl with the mixture sit for 20-30 minutes. The semolina will expand and absorb the excess moisture.
Then wet your hands so that the mixture doesn’t stick to them and divide it into 20 equal parts.
Pour some cold water into a bowl and wet your hands before you form each cake.
Roll each part into a ball – it would be simpler to make equal cakes.
Place a frying pan with oil over medium heat.
Pour a small mound of flour onto the table.
Place the farmer cheese ball on top of the mound and roll it in the flour on all sides, then shape with a wide side of a knife into a round patty about ½ inch thick.
Place on the frying pan and cook for about 5-8 minutes on each side.
Keep in mind that the cakes will expand during frying, so don’t place them too close to each other.
There is no way to check if the cakes are cooked through. Make sure to cook them slowly over medium heat till golden brown on each side. When the cake cools off, the middle will be cooked through. Try the hot cake and the one that’s cooled off and you’ll taste the difference.
When cooked, transfer the cakes with a spatula to a serving dish.
Serve 2-4 cakes per portion and garnish with sour cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream or sweetened condensed milk.