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Sochniki with Sweet Cheese (Сочники с творогом)

Recipe Submitted by : Russian Recipe Book

Duration : 70 Minutes

Serves : 15

About : Sochniki with sweet cheese (Сочники с творогом) – Soviet era pastries filled with sweetened curd.

Ingredients for Dough:

¼ lb. unsalted butter (1 stick) + extra butter for greasing baking sheet
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
8 oz. sour cream
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
5 cups (approximately) all-purpose wheat flour

Ingredients for Filling:

1 lb. fresh unsalted cheese – dry and crumbly (similar to feta in dryness but not salty), not watery like cottage cheese or ricotta! Strain through cheesecloth if you have to and use 1 lb. of the strained cheese
½ cup sugar
2 egg whites (save the yolks in the fridge for coating)
4 Tbsp. (2 oz.) sour cream
1 tbsp. all-purpose wheat flour
1 tbsp. all-purpose wheat meal (like farina)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Coating:
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sugar

Method

  • Make the dough:
  • Melt the butter (it should not be hot when added to the dough).
  • Lightly beat the eggs.
  • Add the sugar and beat some more to mix well.
  • Add the melted butter and mix well.
  • Add the sour cream, salt, and baking powder, and mix well.
  • Gradually add the flour first stirring it in and then kneading in.
  • The dough must be soft. Stop adding flour as soon as it stops sticking to fingers. Don’t use too much flour!
  • Cover the dough and let it stand while you are preparing the filling.
  • Prepare the filling:
  • Strain the curds/fresh cheese if necessary.
  • Thoroughly mix the curds with the sugar, egg whites, sour cream wheat flour, wheat meal, and vanilla extract (all the ingredients) until you obtain a uniform thickpaste. Err on the side of making it thicker the first time you make sochniki. You can adjust the thickness by adding or reducing the amount of sour cream. Filling thatis too watery will leak out and give you unsightly results. Next time (and we are sure you’ll like the recipe enough to make sochniki again), try adding some extrasour cream if you prefer.
  • Make the sochniki:
  • Dust the work surface with flour.
  • Roll out the dough into a sheet about 1/3 inches thick.
  • Cut out circles about 5 – 6 inches in diameter. For a classic serrated look of the edge, use a brioche or tart form for cutting. Smooth edge made with a saucerwill be just as fine.
  • Place about a tablespoon of the filling (heaped or level depending on the size of your circles) on top of each circle off center.
  • Fold the circles in half to make the edges meet – the sochniki will be half-moon in shape.
  • Do not pinch or seal! You can pat down the edge very lightly, but no more than that. During baking, the filling will bulge out. This bulging is a normal look of abaked sochnik although the filling should not leak out and touch the baking sheet. That is why it is important to make the filling thick enough. Dryer filling willalso allow you to use more per sochnik making the taste even richer.
  • Beat the egg yolks with 1 Tbsp. of sugar to obtain a smooth liquid.
  • Baking sochniki:
  • Grease a baking sheet with butter.
  • Arrange sochniki on a baking sheet some distance apart.
  • Lightly coat the top of each sochnik with the egg yolk and sugar mix. Do not flood!
  • Bake sochniki at 425F° – 450°F until golden in color. As we mentioned earlier, some of the filling will bulge out and may acquire a light crust. As long as it isnot leaking onto the baking sheet, everything is fine.
  • Baking time is about 25 minutes but it will vary.
  • Let sochniki cool before removing them from the baking sheet. They are very fragile, particularly when still hot.

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