King Vatrushka (Cheese Cake)

King Vatrushka (Cheese Cake)

A pastry made with farmer’s cheese is traditionally called “vatrushka” in Russia. This one is truly worthy of a king both in its taste and look.

Oxana Putan
1.1 lbs farmers cheese
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups flour
Zest of half a lemon
4 eggs
Half tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp baking powder or ½ tsp baking soda
6 oz butter
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A pastry made with farmer’s cheese is traditionally called “vatrushka” in Russia. This one is truly worthy of a king both in its taste and look.  

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And it’s so easy to make that it’s sure to become the staple on your table.

Place the farmer’s cheese into a bowl.

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Measure a cup of the sugar.

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Note: if the recipe says “a cup”, it simply means that you can use any 7-8 oz cup. And if a recipe is based on proportions, you’ll have to measure everything with the same cup. If the proportions are not important, I’d be specifying the exact amount of each ingredient. In this case, just use the same cup for both flour and sugar.

Pour the sugar into the bowl with the cheese. Break the eggs into the same bowl.

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Prepare the lemon zest using a special knife or a fine grater.

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Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest to the bowl with the farmer’s cheese mixture.

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Mix the farmer’s cheese filling with a fork and then a whisk, or with a regular mixer.

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The filling will be runny.

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Separately prepare the crumbly dough.

Pour the flour into a bowl.

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Add the remaining half a cup of the sugar.

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Top with the heaping teaspoon of the baking powder.

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Coarsely grate the cold butter right into the bowl with the flour.  

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Dip the butter into the flour before each grating: this way it won’t stick to the grater or roll into a lump.

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Mix the flour, butter and sugar with your fingers into uniform crumbs: just take the mixture from the bowl and rub together.

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You should end up with uniform crumbs which would be the base for the cheese cake.

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Preheat the oven to 400F.

Prepare a springform pan about 10-14” in diameter.

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Line the bottom of the pan with baking paper and lock the pan so that the paper edges stick out.

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There’s no need to butter the pan.

Divide the crumbs in 3 parts visually and pour two-thirds into the cake pan.

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First shape the sides of the cake pressing the crumbs all the way up to the edges of the pan. You don’t need to make the sides even; just push the crumbs to level up with the rim of the pan.  

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The rest of the crumbs should be spread on the bottom of the pan. Do not tramp the crumbs.

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Pour the liquid filling into the center of the pan.  

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It will spread evenly on its own.

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Carefully push in the crumbs along the edge of the cake.

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Take the remaining one-third of the crumbs and pour it evenly over the farmer’s cheese filling.

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Simple, isn’t it? The only things you’ll need are 2 bowls, a mixer and a springform pan. No need to roll any dough or anything!

Put the cake into the oven.

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Bake for 45 minutes.

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Remove the cake from the oven and don’t worry if the filling still looks runny.

The cake needs to cool off, and the filling will solidify during that.

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Ideally you should leave the cake overnight at room temperature, or refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

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Slice the cake into 12 parts and serve.

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