Russians are literally crazy about tvorog. This (almost) inconceivable fresh dairy product is truly the king of Russian pastry. Tvorog has no direct equivalent outside Eastern Europe and is usually translated (not entirely correctly) as cottage cheese, quark or curd. So to get a clue, your best bet would be to taste it in Russia.
Still, it has equivalents around the world and there is no excuse for not baking tvorog pastry. We advise you to try sochniki for a start. Originally from northern Russia, sochniki were a true hit in Soviet canteens and buffets, and are still popular today. You will be unable to resist the temptation to taste these crispy dough wraps with a very creamy tender filling.
Less talk, more action!
You will need:
Let's start with the dough
Mix the butter with 40g (0.2 cup) of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Blend it into a homogenous mass. Add one egg. Stir thoroughly.
Mix the flour with the salt and baking powder, then pour into the butter-and-egg blend. Mix the dough. Then put it into a plastic wrap and leave to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Now for the filling
Mix the cottage cheese with the remaining 30g (0.15 cup) of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Stir the blend.
Take one egg, separate the yolk from the white. Add the white to the cottage cheese blend and stir. Keep the yolk, we’ll need it later. Once the filling is homogenous, add the semolina and farina, stir again.
We're approaching the final stage
Roll out the dough, cut into pieces, and then roll out each of them into a thin ellipse. Put the filling on top of each dough piece. Wrap the dough leaving a bit of spacing. Fetch the egg yolk and oil the surface of each sochnik with it.
Put the pastry into the oven, preheated to 190C (374F). Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Tiny tip: sochniki are best consumed the day after.
Russian Oven is a video series devoted to Russian pastries, featuring traditional age-old pies and cakes, inventive cookies and tarts of recent years, plus Soviet classics and much more. Stay tuned!
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