Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sochniki Or Soft Cheese Scones

This is another traditional Ukrainian dessert called Sochniki. Right from my childhood, this humble looking pastry has buttery aroma and comforting soft texture I adore. 

Blog's Category: International, My Staple Food, Perfect Breakfast, USSR-era Recipes, Vegetarian 

 



Intro

Literally, sochniki, means "something moist". Which pretty close to definition of this butter and cottage cheese based cookies (or scones). I guess sochniki (as well as cottage cheese pancakes) were invented back in USSR as yet another way to feed kids "oh-so-healthy" cottage cheese our moms and grannies notoriously nurtured us with. Well, they succeeded, big time - we loved sochniki!

Indeed, with all those natural and wholesome ingredients, Sochniki is a great pastry. Especially they are good for breakfast and for "to-go" situation - they are filling, nutritious and very, very yummy.


What is it?

- Dough, mixed on sour cream and butter, hugs nice blob of sweetened, vanilla flavored cottage cheese. Baked to the shiny golden top, sochniki retain its unbelievably soft and moist, hence the name, texture.

 
Taste Description

Not overly sweet, but just to the point to call it "dessert", sochniki are full of buttery aroma. They have very tender, thick outer dough layer and purposely overflowing. slicking out as a tongue from a mouth, moderately sweet and cheesy filling.


How to Serve

They are best at room temperature and can be stored in a closed container for a couple of days at room temperature, or in a fridge for up to two weeks. For the best experience, I would recommend to microwave cold sochnik for about 20 second to bring it to room temperature and revive that amazing pillow-y softness and butter-y flavor.

 
Sochniki
 


For about 12:
 
Dough:
  • 2.5 cup of all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 stick of soft butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp salt

Filling:
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs semolina flour (or cream of wheat)
  • 2 tbs sour cream
  • 1 egg white, whipped
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tbs water for egg wash to cover pastry before baking
- In a large mixing bowl, stir sugar and butter until its white and creamy, for about 1 minute. Add sour cream and egg, mix another minute until well incorporated.

 - In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt and soda.

- Add flour mix to the butter mix and mix quickly just until dough is formed. Do not over mix it, otherwise your dough will be tough.

- Cover dough ball with a plastic wrap (or pop it in a plastic bag) and transfer in a fridge for a 30 minutes.

- Prepare filling thoroughly mixing filling ingredients together. Set it aside.

- Turn on an oven to 375F.

- With a wooden pin, on a lightly floured surface, roll out a dough into 1/3"-thick large circle. Using large round cookie cutter (or small bowl as on my pictures below), cut out circles.

- Place filling on a one half of each circle. Using spatula, lift the other half of circle to cover the filling, leaving the edge of a filling uncovered. Do not push it too hard, just tap it lightly to fixate the shape.

- Use dough leftovers to make funny shaped sochniki. Place a piece of M&M inside of filling for a surprise for your little ones.

- Mix egg yolk with tablespoon of water. Brush this egg wash onto your sochniki before popping them into oven.

- Bake sochniki in a preheated to 375F oven for about 20-30 minutes until light golden brown. Enjoy
 

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IN PICTURES





By mixing flour with baking soda, you activate leavening process and eliminate soda aftertaste sometimes sensitive people are able to detect in soda breads.

..bringing together wet and dry ingredients of the dough...





If you feel lazy, do not whip your egg white for the filling and mix it in a filling as is like I did ;)




.. you don't need to have cookie cutter for this. As always my mom and my grandma did, I used small bowl for this purpose. As the dough is somewhat wet, it will stick to the edges of your bowl - use a pinch of flour to wipe out the rims before cutting up the next circle.


Use dough scrap to make couple of extra sochniki.




I'm sure you'll do better job of making fun shapes out of that remaining dough, right?


..egg wash..


Leave more room between sochniki than I did.. My sochniki ended up kissing each other...

YUMM







2 comments:

  1. These sound really delicious! (way better than chocolate!)

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    Replies
    1. Speaking of devil (chocolate:).... I lo-o-o-ve my dark chocolate in its wonderful sweet & bitter purity. But when it's about choosing the flavor for my dessert, chocolate is rarely the option to me. I will rather go with vanilla, some fruity flavor or as here, country vibe of cheesy goodness. :)

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