Sochniki with Sweet Cheese (Сочники с творогом)

Sochniki with Sweet Cheese (Сочники с творогом)

Сочники с творогомSochniki with sweet cheese are large cookies filled with sweetened milk curd. They were a lunch staple for Soviet-era school kids.  Sochniki are easy to make. The ones shown in the illustrations that accompany this recipe were bought on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, a place where they sometimes follow an unsavory socialist tradition of skimping on the filling and using too much dough (that was much cheaper to make at least in the former USSR). There should be a lot more filling than just a mere sliver you can see in the photos. Until we find a better photo, we’ll just describe what a good sochnik (singular of sochniki) should look like. The cheese filling should show through one side of the pastry, bulging out but not leaking on the baking sheet. It may take some practice and experimentation to find the right thickness of the filling to make it juicy but not too watery and also to figure out the right amount of filling for each sochnik. Sometimes the name is confused with Sochni that are made of layered dough looking more like puff pastry. (“Sochni” is probably a more grammatically correct word whereas “sochniki” sounds more like school kid slang but at least now we can make a distinction between the two recipes!)

Ingredients

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

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

Directions

Make the Dough

  1. Melt the butter (it should not be hot when added to the dough).
  2. Lightly beat the eggs.
  3. Add the sugar and beat some more to mix well.
  4. Add the melted butter and mix well.
  5. Add the sour cream, salt, and baking powder, and mix well.
  6. Gradually add the flour first stirring it in and then kneading in.
  7. The dough must be soft. Stop adding flour as soon as it stops sticking to fingers. Don’t use too much flour!
  8. Cover the dough and let it stand while you are preparing the filling.

 

Prepare the Filling

  1. Strain the curds/fresh cheese if necessary.
  2. 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 thick paste. 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 that is 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 extra sour cream if you prefer.

 

Make Sochniki

  1. Dust the work surface with flour.
  2. Roll out the dough into a sheet about ⅓ inches thick.
  3. 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.
  4. Smooth edge made with a saucer will be just as fine.
  5. Place about a tablespoon of the filling (heaped or level depending on the size of your circles) on top of each circle off center.
  6. Fold the circles in half to make the edges meet – the sochniki will be half-moon in shape.
  7. 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 a baked 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 will also allow you to use more per sochnik making the taste even richer.
  8. Beat the egg yolks with 1 Tbsp. of sugar to obtain a smooth liquid.

 

Bake Sochniki

  1. Grease a baking sheet with butter.
  2. Arrange sochniki on a baking sheet some distance apart.
  3. Lightly coat the top of each sochnik with the egg yolk and sugar mix. Do not flood!
  4. 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 is not leaking onto the baking sheet, everything is fine.
  5. Baking time is about 25 minutes but it will vary.
  6. Let sochniki cool before removing them from the baking sheet. They are very fragile, particularly when still hot.

Sochniki with Sweet Cheese (Сочники с творогом)
Recipe Type: Pastry, Dessert
Author: Russian Recipe Book
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 15
Sochniki with sweet cheese (Сочники с творогом) – Soviet era pastries filled with sweetened curd.
Ingredients
  • 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
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Make the dough:
  2. Melt the butter (it should not be hot when added to the dough).
  3. Lightly beat the eggs.
  4. Add the sugar and beat some more to mix well.
  5. Add the melted butter and mix well.
  6. Add the sour cream, salt, and baking powder, and mix well.
  7. Gradually add the flour first stirring it in and then kneading in.
  8. The dough must be soft. Stop adding flour as soon as it stops sticking to fingers. Don’t use too much flour!
  9. Cover the dough and let it stand while you are preparing the filling.
  10. Prepare the filling:
  11. Strain the curds/fresh cheese if necessary.
  12. 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 thick paste. 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 that is 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 extra sour cream if you prefer.
  13. Make the sochniki:
  14. Dust the work surface with flour.
  15. Roll out the dough into a sheet about 1/3 inches thick.
  16. 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 saucer will be just as fine.
  17. Place about a tablespoon of the filling (heaped or level depending on the size of your circles) on top of each circle off center.
  18. Fold the circles in half to make the edges meet – the sochniki will be half-moon in shape.
  19. 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 a baked 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 will also allow you to use more per sochnik making the taste even richer.
  20. Beat the egg yolks with 1 Tbsp. of sugar to obtain a smooth liquid.
  21. Baking sochniki:
  22. Grease a baking sheet with butter.
  23. Arrange sochniki on a baking sheet some distance apart.
  24. Lightly coat the top of each sochnik with the egg yolk and sugar mix. Do not flood!
  25. 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 is not leaking onto the baking sheet, everything is fine.
  26. Baking time is about 25 minutes but it will vary.
  27. Let sochniki cool before removing them from the baking sheet. They are very fragile, particularly when still hot.

Russian name: Сочники с творогом

Сочники с творогом

Store-bought sochniki with most of the filling missing. Properly made sochniki should have much more filling bulging off one side.

сочники

Mini Sochniki

сочники

Assorted Sochniki

 

2 Comments

  1. David Cowan says:

    I will be trying these this weekend. They look so cool. I will rate after making.

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