Soufflé zapekanka: A new variation of a healthy Russian breakfast (RECIPE)

Lovers of cheesecake-style desserts will be in heaven with this low-calorie Russian tvorog dish!

Lovers of cheesecake-style desserts will be in heaven with this low-calorie Russian tvorog dish!

Victoria Drey
No butter, no pastry and almost no sugar – this baked tvorog zapekanka is likely to become your favorite guilt-free dessert.

I’ve been enjoying tvorog zapekanka for breakfast for as long as I can remember – it’s the best way to start your day, with a good portion of natural protein and lots of other nutritious components. The key ingredients are always the same: eggs and tvorog – traditional unflavored Slavic dairy with a soft cheesy texture and slightly sourish hint. Speaking of tvorog, I consider it absolutely unique and with no equal – so go find it in a Russian food store, or at least use unsalted cottage cheese or ricotta because these products are the closest. 

Zapekanka is traditionally associated with lazy cooking, when you just mix all the ingredients using the minimum of kitchenware and leave the dish in the oven for around an hour – not the case for soufflé. As any recipe with airy and tender soufflé consistency, it takes a bit more time for proper egg whipping and mixing of the ingredients. But it’s honestly worth every single minute.

This recipe made me realize that tvorog zapekanka is not only a breakfast dish but also a dessert. It’s a kind of low-calorie and truly healthy alternative to cheesecake. Using tvorog instead of Philadelphia-style cream cheese gives soufflé zapekanka a lighter melting texture, and that signature sweet and sour taste. 

Ingredients:

  • 500 g tvorog / unsalted cottage cheese / ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 70 g powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar / extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • plain yogurt / honey / condensed milk for serving
  • berries for decoration

Preparation:

1. In a bowl mix tvorog, yolks, sour cream and vanilla sugar or extract; work with a hand blender to get a smooth and silky consistency with no grains. To make zapekanka even more healthy, feel free to add half of sour cream (100g) and half plain yogurt (100g).

2. Add cornstarch, mix again and set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl add egg whites with a pinch of salt. Whisk with a mixer: when the mixture becomes white and airy, gradually add powdered sugar.

4. Whisk for around 5-7 minutes until very stiff peaks appear – this is your nice and glossy meringue.

5. Now it's time to add meringue into the tvorog mixture. Don’t rush: add and stir meringue with very gentle motions using a spatula in small portions – otherwise, the batter collapses and you lose your scrumptious soufflé texture. 

6. Gently place the batter into a baking form – cover the bottom and sides with baking parchment so it’s easier to remove the tender zapekanka from the form. 

7. Bake at 170°C for around 50 minutes, until it gets a lightly brown top. Take out of the oven and let cool, and set completely. Then turn the form over and carefully remove the zapekanka.

8. Serve your tvorog soufflé with plain yogurt (honey or condensed milk for those with a sweet tooth), as well as fresh berries of your choice – priyatnogo appetita!

READ MORE: The ultimate guide to cooking syrniki (RECIPE)

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