"Zapekanka" Breakfast Delight a La Russie
“Zapekanka” (“Baked” in exact translation from Russian) is one of my favorite things to make. It consists primary from farmers’ cheese (“tvorog”), eggs and favorite berries like raisins or dried cranberries. Traditionally it’s a breakfast dish, but on rare occasions when it’s not finished at breakfast time, leftovers make a great snack in the middle of the day or a light dinner.
Made from very light and healthy ingredients, I remember having Zapekanka served frequently in kindergarten. As an adult, I love making it when health conscious friends come to my home for brunch or afternoon tea.
When I make Zapekanka the whole house fills with the aroma of baking, vanilla, and raisins. Anticipation of the slightly firm crust, soft and warm inside, sweetness of raisins and a perfect topping of chilled sour cream with a touch of honey, is great motivation to get up early and make it as a breakfast surprise.
I also think it’s one of the most beautiful dishes to make – golden crust, off-white/light caramel inside, bright golden raisins or burgundy cranberries, topped with snow-white sour cream and a touch of amber colored honey. Cut and served in perfect individually portioned cubes, it’s picture perfect and delicious!
1lb Tvorog – farmers’ cheese (While standing in line at the grocery store, a couple of grandmas told me that Zapekanka turns out best with equal portions of two types of farmers cheese/tvorog – smooth and “chunky”.)
1 Egg (Bring egg to room temperature before baking, to increase “foam ability”)
2 tbs Cream of wheat
½ tsp Vanilla
¼ cup Raisins or dried cranberries
1 tbs Sugar
Honey or jam
Warm oven to 400F
Take eggs out of refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Grease and flour a form/pan. In a blender, or with a handheld mixer, beat egg and sugar into a foamy mass. Add farmers’ cheese, cream of wheat and vanilla and mix till evenly combined. At the last minute, add raisins. Pour mixture into prepared form/pan. Bake 45-60 minutes till golden. Let cool, cut into 3 x 3 inch squares, and top with a teaspoon of sour cream and honey.
Well-made Zapekanka is light and fluffy, not overly sweet, and perfectly cooked!
Enjoy every bite!