Sponge cake with tvorog-cream and poached plums

 Hello to you, to a person who is reading this post or just glancing at photos of this moist and delicious cake with creamy filling, that was topped with aromatic spiced plum slices. The cake itself is a sponge cake, which is very simple to make and for that you need only four ingredients. I also added a drizzle of honey to the batter, honey gives a nice golden color to the cake and of course incredible flavor!
Sponge cake with  plums and  tvorog cream
 It has been ages since I made any layer cakes, so I decided to experiment with the cream. Tvorog is a dairy product, that used very often in Russian cuisine in such dishes like syrniki, sweet bakes and many other. Thus I took tvorog, mixed it with sugar and whipping cream, and I guess the cream became very Russian. 🙂 But I didn’t stopped there and added also gelatin to the cream. Honestly, it was my first attempt adding gelatin to the cake cream (with the exception of using it in panna cotta). I wasn’t sure that it would dissolve completely in the cream, and I beat it with electric blender. I love the result – cake was super tasty as well as the cream, and it’s gone very fast, especially if you serve it with some poached plums on a side.
 If you have any tips and advises how to add gelatin to a cake cream, please do share with me! I’d like to know and learn how to use it properly.
Sponge cake with poached plums

Sponge cake with tvorog-cream and poached plums

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Using gelatin in the cream is totally optional (it just makes the cream more thick); you can easily omit it.
Ingredients
Sponge Cake
3 large eggs
100g white sugar
1/3 tsp runny honey
110g plain flour
100ml plum syrup (liquid form poached plums)
1 tbps cognac or other aromatic  alcohol, optional
poached plums, for decor
Cream
220g tvorog (Russian cottage cheese)
150g icing sugar
200ml whipping cream (35%)
8-10g powdered gelatin
50ml cold water
Method
  1. For the cake, in a large bowl beat eggs with sugar until pale and increase three times in size. Add honey and beat a little bit again. Sift the flour and carefully fold into the egg mixture with spatula.
  2. Grease 20cm cake pan with butter, sprinkle with flour and pour the batter. Bake in preheated 180C oven for 40 minutes.
  3. Leave the cake to cool in a pan for 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack or plate and leave to cool for 4 hours or overnight. Cut the cake into two layers. Brush each cake with the mixture of plum syrup and alcohol (if using).
  4. For the cream, soften tvorog with a folk or electric blender. Add icing sugar and beat until combined. Add whipping cream and beat again.
  5. Dissolve gelatin in cold water and leave for 10 minutes. Add to the cream and beat again.
  6. Spread about half the cream on one of the cakes. Layer the second cake, and spread the remaining cream on the top and sides. Decorate with poached plums.
Spiced poached plums
5-7 soft plums (about 200g), sliced
80g white sugar (or more to your taste)
250 ml water
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cardamom cloves
Method
  1. In a small pan, add plums and sugar. Add spices and cover plums with water. Heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, then reduce to low-medium heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until plums are soft. Leave to cool.
Enjoy!
Sharing with Angie FF#105 and co-hosts Lily and Julianna.
Sponge cake with tvorog-cream&poached plums

Sunday Breakfast: Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

Syrniki are Russian cottage cheese pancakes, that are made thick and have a roundish shape.  I love having them on breakfast, topped with a sweet condensed milk and some fresh or frozen berries. I already posted the recipe once (click here), today recipe is similar to the previous one but with a delightful touch: these syrniki were prepared by my mum during my summer holidays in Russia. 🙂 My suggestion was to add a special ingredient – fresh blackcurrants, which were picked up that day in parent’s garden. So, we mixed in lots of fresh and juicy blackcurrants. Blackcurrants have enough natural sweetness, and we didn’t put sugar at all.
If you haven’t still made syrniki you should immediately go to your kitchen and cook them! Really! They are so delicious, plus cottage cheese contains lots of calcium, which is great for bones.Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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If using frozen blackcurrants do not defreeze them, add straight from the freezer.

Ingredients

600-700g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
2 medium eggs
2-3 tbsp white sugar (or as much as you like), I didn’t put sugar this time
150-170g fresh blackcurrants
100g plain flour
icing sugar, for garnish, optional
some fresh blackcurrants, sour cream/sweet condensed milk, for serving

 

Method

  • In a large mixing bowl, mix cottage cheese with a folk.  Add eggs and sugar if using, stir to combine.
  • Sift the flour into cottage cheese mixture, mix to combine. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more flour.
  • Sprinkle fresh blackcurrants with flour, carefully fold into cottage cheese mixture.
  • Sprinkle working surface with flour. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and shape flat patties (approx 6cm diameter).
  • Arrange syrniki on a greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 200C oven for 30 minutes or until golden.
  • You can also fry them. For that, in a large frying pan heat sunflower oil, add syrniki and fry for 2 minutes on each site.
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar, if desired. Serve warm with sour cream or sweet condensed milk and berries on side.

Enjoy!

Russian Syrniki with fresh blackcurrants

WhiteCurrant tart

 Hello-hello! I love summer because it’s berry season! May be not that summer when the outside temperature is +40C or even 50C.. Hope you are having the same great summer as I do this time in Russia: lots of organic berries, vegetables and greens, amazing weather, long walks and talks with friends. But sometimes the weather plays a joke: in the morning can be so cold that you need a thick jacket, later so hot – you need a dress instead of jacket, and so on..Russian FieldRussian Nature
 Talking about summer berries, currants is super common and one of the popular type of berry in Russia. I’m sure many of you tried redcurrants or seen it in supermarkets, or tried a dessert garnished with it. Here, there are three types of currants: black, red and white. They differ from one another not only in their color; blackcurrant is the sweetest one, red is tender and sour, and whitecurrant is sweet-and-sour with lots of seeds. And I guess, the white one is less-known, so I’ve been determined to make something tasty with these beautiful berries. Here, they are usually eaten as is or they make compotes (cold drink), jams. I made shortcrust pastry with tvorog (cottage cheese), filled with tender tvorog filling (yes, again cottage cheeese! I love it!) and scattered whitecurrants over the top. Yummy! A slice of whitecurrant tart
 So, how is your summer going on? 🙂White Currants in RussiaWhite Currant Tart

WhiteCurrant tart

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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The recipe calls for whitecurrants, which are usually uncommon, so use redcurrants or any berries that you can get.
If you’re using frozen berries, don’t defreeze it.
I used 22cm baking tin.
Ingredients
Pastry
200g flour
100g butter, cut into small cubes
100g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
1 egg
Filling
3 eggs
70-100g sugar or fructose (depends on your taste)
300-350g sour cream (20-30% fat)
100g tvorog/cottage cheese (I used 0% fat)
1 tsp vanilla sugar/extract
450-500g whitecurrants
Preparation method
  • To make the pastry, place flour, butter in a large bowl (or in the food processor) and mix to get breadcrumbs. Mix in tvorog. Add egg and mix until just comes together. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll the pastry on a lightly floured table to form a round. Grease the baking tin and lightly dust with flour. Arrange pastry into the baking tin. Place in the fridge to cool while you’re preparing the filling.
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • In a bowl, whisk eggs with sugar. Beat in sour cream. Add cottage cheese and vanilla, whisk to combine.
  • Take the pastry out the fridge, pour in filling. Scatter over berries.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the baking tin, then carefully remove from the tin and serve.
Enjoy!

Paskha – Russian Easter treat

 In the previous post I’ve told you about the traditional Easter cake – kulich. But there is one more no-bake dessert for Easter, it’s called ‘paskha’, which means Easter in Russian. It’s made in a special wooden or plastic pyramid-shaped mold, which called pasochnica. Of course, it’s not easy to find such mold, but it can be easily substituted with a clean flower pot or a bowl.
There are many variations of the Paskha but of course tvorog (farmer cheese) is a main ingredient and mixed with eggs and butter. Some recipes call to mix it with raw egg yolks, another with cooked, the quantity of butter may vary as well. To flavour the tvorog mixture adding some chopped candied fruits, nuts, cocoa powder. If you love soft, creamy desserts that reminds a no-crust cheesecake you should definitely prepare it! 🙂Russian Paskha

Paskha - Russian Easter treat with tvorog

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients
500g tvorog, dry preferable
60g butter, soft at room temperature (not melted)
50g chopped candied fruits like orange peel, pineapple, strawberry
50g raisins
1 large egg yolk
80-100g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
80ml cream (20-30% fat)
  1. First of all you need to beat the tvorog with an electric mixer until very smooth or push it through a sieve two times.
  2. Whisk butter for a creamy consistency. Add to tvorog along with 50g candied fruits and 50g raisins.
  3. In a small bowl whisk egg yolk with sugar and vanilla.
  4. In a small saucepan warm cream, then pour it into the egg mixture and quickly stir. Pour back into the saucepan, simmer for a 3-4 minutes, whisking continuously. Stir the mixture into tvorog.
  5. Line a paskha mold or any suitable bowl with a double layer of wet cheesecloth, pour the tvorog mixture in, fold ends of cheesecloth on the top. Arrange a weight (it can be a can or jam jar) and put in the fridge for 12 hours or up to 24 hours; allowing whey (liquid) to drain. When it’s ready to serve – unmold, remove the the cheesecloth.
  6. Decorate with candied fruits, if desired. To serve cut a slice or eat with a spoon.

Maslenitsa (Butter Week). Blini recipe.

 Maslenitsa (Butter Week) is a Christian holiday, one of the brightest and widely-celebrated holiday in Russia, a week before Great Lent. The name Maslenitsa came from Russian word ‘maslo’ which means butter. In the beginning of 16th century, when Church initiated the holiday, it was restricted to eat meat, however fish was allowed, as well as dairy products and butter. Most of the peasants could afford to eat only butter, thus the week began to call Butter Week or Maslenitsa.
 During Druids’ times- before 16th century in Rus’ (old Russia’s name) was celebrated a pagan holiday – The Day of spring equinox, which was called Komoedica. It was one of the ancient pagan holidays, celebration of greeting spring, and moreover, worship of the Slavic Bear God: early in the morning people got together, song the songs and went into the forest to praise the Bear God, so they left first and freshly-cooked blini on tree stumps to treat him. After that the Butter Week revelry had been started.Russian stuffed blini (crepes)
 That time Spring was considered as a beginning of new life, people revered to the Sun and made round flat-bread as its symbol. But  in 9th century peasants began to make round-shaped blini. Hot and yellowish, blini became new symbol of the Sun; people also believed that with eating blini they had a piece of warmth and power of the Sun.
 In ancient times the Komoeditsa holiday was celebrated during two weeks and played an important role for peasants. After a long, cold and often starving winter people had to eat plenty of food (usually it was winter stock remains), cheered up and got stronger for future spring works. Butter week celebrations denoted that winter has passed, and it’s time for a warm season to come. After this holiday peasants began to work from sunrise until sunset during all warm months – spring, summer and autumn. Up to next snow season, they forced to work almost non-stop, without any weekends to get food for their families, fodder for cattle; they repair houses, and cut woods to keep homes warm during the long Russian winter.Russian Blini
 When Christianity was established as a state religion, all pagan celebrations and traditions were prohibited; Christian churchmen battle in a vain attempt to stop all holiday habits. After several centuries of unsuccessful fights, in 16th century the Church created new holiday – ‘meatless week’, the week before the Great Lent. People got used to the new holiday, started celebrate it widely and created other name – Maslenitsa.
 Finally traditional Maslenitsa celebrations were set in 18th century by Russian Emperor Petr I, who was a famous reveller and  party lover. Of course, the main treat was blini, which were baked and eaten in enormous amounts!
 One of my fav sweet fillings for blini is a mixture of tvorog (cottage cheese), sour cream, raisins and sugar. For me, it’s a pure indulgence to tuck the delicious filling into piping hot blini! You can also fold blini into half then half again to form wedge, then take the wedge and deep it onto sweet condensed milk.. Incredibly satisfying breakfast or lunch, or even dinner! 😀
 This blini recipe suits for any savory filling as well.

Russian blini. Sweet cottage cheese filling.

Ingredients 
2 eggs, medium size
a good pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp white sugar, optional
200ml hot water
1/2 tsp soda
200-230ml kefir (or sour milk/laban/buttermilk), 2-3% fat
150-170g plain flour
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
some oil for frying, if needed
Filling
300-400g soft cottage cheese
2-3 tbsp sour cream, or more if needed
2-3 tbsp sugar or sweet condensed milk
50-60g sultana/raisins
Garnish
sour cream/sweet condensed milk/icing sugar
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with salt and sugar.
  • In a glass or cup mix water with soda, stir and add to the eggs, stirring constantly.
  • Add kefir and mix well.
  • Sift flour and add it to the batter. Stir to combine.
  • Add oil and stir.
  • Let the batter rest for 20-30 minutes, if you have time.
  • Heat the frying pan and fry thin pancakes as usual. You can make any diameter you like.
  • For the filling, soak sultanas in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drain. Mix all ingredients until well combined.
  • To assemble, spoon some filling in center of each pancake. Fold bottom edge of pancake over fililng, fold in both sides and roll up. Sprinkle with icing sugar and/or drizzle some sweet condensed milk, if desired. Or serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy!