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Russian Breakfast Cheesecakes (Syrniki)

Russian Breakfast Cheesecakes (Syrniki)

Who doesn’t like a dessert for breakfast?  Now you can and without the guilt.  This Russian Breakfast Casserole also known as Syrniki (seer-nee-kee) is pillowy, subtly sweet, and delicious with fresh fruit and coffee.  It’s a perfect dish for breakfast or brunch.  In Russia, it is traditionally served with a dollop of sour cream and fruit in syrup or fresh fruit.  It’s also my favorite way to eat this.

A square of Russian Breakfast Cheesecake garnished with sour cream, blueberries in syrup, and mint sprigs.

I like this dish for Sunday brunch alongside Candy Bourbon Bacon, French Herb Omelets, Southern-style Cheese Grits, New York Style Bagels, Homemade Strawberry Jam, and Barbecue Bloody Marys. It’s a decadent and luxurious meal that makes any Sunday feel like a holiday.

RUSSIAN BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

This recipe was given to me by my dear friend, Susan.  She made it as part of her Jewish holiday’s brunch and it was something that I always looked forward to devouring.  Susan, unfortunately, has since passed, but her luscious recipe lives on! 

The classic recipe uses a product called Tvorog, which is similar to farmer’s or Amish cheese.  I make the recipe using cottage cheese that I drain a bit since my grocery doesn’t carry farmer’s cheese, and it works wonderfully!

Ingredients for Russian Breakfast Cheesecake - eggs, cottage cheese, sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED

  • Cottage cheese – Use whole fat or low fat.  Fat-free cottage cheese doesn’t work in the recipe.  You want the fat for a luxurious, rich mouth-feel.  You’ll also want to drain the cottage cheese first so your cheesecake isn’t watery or too grainy.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – this provides sweetness and a caramelized flavor.  You could look for a sugar-free option or use a can of evaporated milk and your favorite sweetener, however, you’ll lose the caramelized flavor that sweetened condensed milk offers.
  •  Eggs
  • All-purpose flour – used as a thickener and to dust the pan for baking.  Gluten-free flour works just as well.  You could leave it out to lower the carb content, but your cheesecake will be much softer.
  • Butter
  • Vanilla – use very high-quality vanilla as it provides a ton of flavor.

HOW TO DRAIN COTTAGE CHEESE

  1. Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth.
  2. Spoon the cottage cheese into the strainer and wrap the cheesecloth around the cheese. 
  3. Place the colander in a large bowl to catch the liquid as it drips out of the cottage cheese.  It is sometimes helpful to place a plate over the cottage cheese to act as a weight and encourage draining.  
  4. Refrigerate and allow it to drain for at least an hour and preferably up to 4-6 hours.

HOW TO MAKE A RUSSIAN BREAKFAST CHEESECAKE

This one is so easy that it’ll become one of your go-to breakfast recipes!

  • First, grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan. 
  • Next, mix together cottage cheese, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake.
  • Serve.  Could it be any easier?

A square of Russian Breakfast Cheesecake garnished with sour cream, blueberries in syrup, and mint sprigs.

ADD-INS AND VARIATIONS

  • Reduce the cottage cheese to 3 cups and add an 8-ounce block of cream cheese.
  • Stir in raisins, craisins, or any dried fruit.
  • Whip in peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut butter.
  • Add in chopped fresh fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, or apples.
  • Whip in spices like cinnamon, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Orange extract, almond extract, or rum extract would offer a totally different taste.

MORE BRUNCH IDEAS

Print
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A square of Russian Breakfast Cheesecake garnished with sour cream, blueberries in syrup, and mint sprigs.

RUSSIAN BREAKFAST CHEESECAKE


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x

Description

This Russian Breakfast Casserole is pillowy, subtly sweet, and delicious with fresh fruit and coffee.  It’s a perfect dish for breakfast or brunch. 


Ingredients

Scale

4 cups (32-ounces) Cottage Cheese (Whole fat or low fat.  Don’t use fat-free), well-drained

1 ⅓ cups sweetened condensed milk

8 large eggs

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, more for dusting the pan

2 teaspoons melted butter, more to grease the baking pan

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan with butter and dust it with flour.  Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.

In a large bowl, combine the drained cottage cheese and sweetened condensed milk.

Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each egg.

Whisk in the flour, melted butter, and vanilla extract until the mixture is well combined.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top is golden and the mixture is no longer jiggly.

Allow the cake to cool before refrigerating or serve it warm with sour cream and fresh fruit or jam.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Russian
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