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Tvorog & Sirniki (Russian Cottage Cheese): Russian Recipes Revisited

It's time for another Russian Recipes Revisited post. When thinking about what recipe to make for this month, I decided to make something that reminds me of my maternal grandmother. She would have turned 93 on May 25th. She loved to cook, plants, watching ballroom dancing, and us. She loved her family.

One of the dishes she made often was cottage cheese. But Russian cottage cheese, tvorog, is nothing like the American version. There are no curds or slightly slimy texture. Instead, it resembles a dry version of ricotta.

I called my mom to ask for a recipe and went into my kitchen to make it.

Tvorog (Russian Cottage Cheese)
Makes ~ 3.5 cups

1 gallon 2% milk
2 cups buttermilk

1. In a large pot, bring the milk to room temperature by heating it slowly. Turn off the heat. Add buttermilk.
2. Leave the mixture on your kitchen counter for 1-2 days until it becomes the consistency of yogurt.
3. Slowly heat the mixture on medium-low heat until it separates: you will see clear liquid and white cloudy puffy "things." That's your tvorog!
4. Allow the mixture to cool and then put it through a double layer of cheesecloth. Tie it up and let it drip in the sink for a few hours. {Or you can put the bundle of tvorogi in between two plates with something heavy on top to get rid off the liquid: similar to dealing with tofu.}

Easy, right?

Well, the first time I made this recipe, it failed. Miserably. And so this Russian Recipes Revisited post almost did not happen at all. But then I decided to try again after getting a few comments from my friends and instagram. I think the key was NOT to buy ultra pasteurized milk or buttermilk. So do NOT go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or similar stores. Buy the regular kind. And then make this.

Second time was success.

This is how tvorog looks once it's done and drained. Isn't it pretty? I love the little design the cheesecloth makes.

Now that you've made tvorog, how to use it? Well, you can spread it on bread, mix it into pasta, add it to an omelet, or eat it with berries. Or you could make sirniki. Sirniki are patties made from tvorog. I like them sweetened with sugar and raisins.

Makes 4

1.5 cups tvorog
1 egg
1/3 cup golden raisins
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
oil for sauteing
sour cream
jarred cherries or fresh fruit {optional}


1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. The texture will resemble that of uncooked matzo balls.
2. Make 4 patties.
3. In a large skillet heat the oil and saute sirniki for 3 minutes on each side.
4. Serve with a sprinkle of sugar, a dollop of sour cream and jarred cherries.

How pretty are these??? They totally made me think of home.

I hope you make this recipe and it's successful for you on the first try!!! My grandmother would have been proud of me.


Mariya M said...

I'm so impressed you made your own tvarog. Beautiful sirniki and presentation. Yum.

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

Thank you!!! This was my first time. I love how making something your family members have always made makes you feel closer to them.

Megan said...

I've made ricotta with just milk and buttermilk before - same process minus leaving it on the counter for 1-2 days. And the pancakes look amazing!

fujimama said...

Oh my goodness! I could die, this looks so good!!!