For the Love of Tvorog! 6 Russian Sweet Treats with Tvorog You Need to Try
One thing that really shocked me when I first visited a Russian supermarket was the staggering amount of options available when it comes to tvorog (творог). Tvorog is a kind of curdled, strained cheese, and in the UK we refer to it as quark. It is far from being an essential back home, whereas here in Russia whole shelves are dedicated to the dairy product in even the smallest food shop. I’ve been on a (very tasty) mission to try some of Russia’s tvorog-based sweet treats, and here is a summary of my delicious findings.
If I were to say I would marry a sirok bar, it would only be a slight exaggeration. This is a kind of cheesecake-chocolate hybrid bar found in the chilled section of any Russian food store. There is something overwhelmingly comforting about this smooth, sweet bite-sized treat, and I would happily eat one every day. There are several flavours, with my favourites being vanilla and coconut.
Sirniki are similar to a pancake, and are made with a mixture of tvorog, sugar, flour, eggs and sometimes vanilla. They are deliciously light and fluffy, and are made all the more tasty with the addition of jam and sour cream. Below you can watch the Liden & Denz tutorial on how to make sirniki, made by our intern Ricardo and featuring the Russian TikToker Niki Proshin.
Most bakeries you find in Russia will have their version of a vatrushka, which is a soft sweet dough with a ring of tvorog in the middle. Sometimes raisins will also be added to the tvorog. A good vatrushka will melt in the mouth and bring you immeasurable amounts of joy.
Sochniki are another tvorog-filled baked good, this time with a crumbly, more biscuit-like pastry. This pastry definitely falls under the comfort food category, and it is a bit too easy to eat many of these in one sitting.
Vareniki are small, half-moon shaped dumplings which can have many different sweet and savoury fillings. I am a big fan of vareniki filled with tvorog, especially when they come served with some jam.
Tvorog with Jam (Творог с вареньем)
When I’m at home, I always feel a bit judged when I say that I love a cheese and jam combination. Thankfully in Russia this eating habit is not judged, but rather encouraged. You can find small pots which simply contain tvorog and jam in most supermarkets. There is something so delicious and moreish about this mix, and it makes a really nice light dessert.
‘Research’ for this blog post has meant that my tvorog obsession has reached a new level, and I am bound to be having cravings for all of these Russian snacks when I’m back in the UK. So proceed with caution, and enjoy trying all of these tvorog-based goodies! Приятного апетита!
Leila, currently studying at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg