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Russian Monday: Vatrushka Farmer Cheese Pastry

One of the popular types of pirogues, plump Russian “vatrushka” (pronounced “vat-roo-shka”) always looks not only tasty but also sensual. It is a round shape griddle-cake open on top and closed around the sides which is usually filled with farmer cheese or cottage cheese on less commonly with jam or marmalade.

The name of this pastry comes from the word “vatra” – hearth, fireplace. This word has the same meaning in most of the Slavic languages – Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Serbian, and Croatian. Most likely “vatrushka” originates from ancient Slavic pastry which was round and reminded shape of the sun for a purpose…

Plump, sweet, fragrant vatrushkas are a perfect fit for your holiday table as well as your daily cup of tea.

More from Russian Monday:

Sharlotka – Apple Cake
Sour Cherry Vareniky – Sweet & Sour Dumplings
“Kulebyaka” – Authentic Russian Pie with Salmon, Rice, Mushrooms, Onions and Dill
Shchi – Cabbage Soup
Vinegrette – Vegetable Salad

Vatrushka 2
Vatrushka 3
Vatrushka 1
Vatrushka 4

Serves: 6 medium vatrushkas, but you can make smaller ones, about 8-10

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 4 cups (500g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup (270ml) warm milk
  • 7 Tbsp. butter (100g), melted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg yolk for egg wash to finish vatrushkas

For the cheese filling:

  • 1/2 lb.(200g) farmer cheese, I used Amish farmer cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg

Directions:

To make a dough: In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm milk; put it aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to foam. In a large bowl, combine the flour with salt. Add melted butter and yeast mixture. Knead until dough is well mixed. Cover with an overturned bowl or loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make a cheese filling: Mix all ingredients for cheese filling together in an electric mixer until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Return the dough to a floured work surface. Cut the dough into 6-8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a flattened ball. Place them on a prepared baking sheet next to each other, leaving enough space for it to rise. Cover with a towel and let the vatrushkas rise for about 30 minutes. Press each bun in a the center with a glass cup to form a hollow.

Fill the center of vatrushkas with the farmer cheese filling, leaving the borders empty. Brush the egg yolk on the edges of the dough.

Bake in the preheated oven until the vatrushkas are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with tea, coffee or warm milk with honey.

Vatrushka 5

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Rosa's Yummy Yums
    July 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    A divine treat! Those pastries look extremely tempting. I wonder if I could use cottage cheese instead of farmer cheese.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Reply
    melangery
    July 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Rosa, yes you can use cottage cheese, it will be a little different but also good-)) Drain it first, so it would not have a lot of liquid. I hope you LOVE it!!

  • Reply
    La Table De Nana
    July 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    They do look delectable..perfect little treats..
    Love the flowers and berries too.

  • Reply
    Julia
    July 3, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Vatrushka – it's been such a long time since I had one, I almost forgot what they taste like! Oh, so delicious!

  • Reply
    Nami | Just One Cookbook
    July 4, 2013 at 5:35 am

    Thank you for introducing Vatrushka! I love this series and learn Russian dishes from you!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    February 10, 2014 at 12:28 am

    These look delicious! I have never used farmer cheese before. I know you can make it, but I wanted to try store bought first so I know what I am aiming for. Is it something I can find at a regular (American) grocery store? If not is it at all like Ricotta cheese? Your help and recipes are much appreciated.

  • Reply
    melangery
    February 10, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Hello Wendy, you may find the farmer cheese in Giant store or use ricotta cheese. If you ever near Amish market or Russian store, go there, you may find different kind. Good luck, and I hope you will try my recipes!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    April 12, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    How long would you knead this dough?

  • Reply
    melangery
    April 13, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Michelle, not long at all, 2-3 minutes. Knead the dough until it's mix very well. The dough should be very soft and beautiful-))

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