Vatrushki – Eastern European Sweet Cheese Buns
Vatrushki is one of those sweet childhood treats that makes me very nostalgic. Mom often baked them for me when I was living with my parents. Probably that’s why I decided to share this recipe right before Mother’s Day. This recipe is a bit time consuming, but the result is totally worth the effort. Also, you can divide this recipe by two and make a smaller batch.
Vatrushki – plural, Vatrusha – single, pronounced vat-roosh-kah. It is a traditional Eastern European bun made with sweet yeasted dough and creamy farmers cheese also called tvorog. Tvorog can be substituted with Fromage blanc or ricotta. The filling is often flavored with vanilla extract and raisins to add more flavor and sweetness.
What if the filling is too dry?
The best part of Vatrushki is a sweet and moist cheese filling. The consistency totally depends on the cheese you’ve chosen to use. Sometimes tvorog can be a little dry. But you can fix that by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream until the filling is smooth and moist.
If you want to try making your own Tvorog cheese here is the recipe for that. Also, if you’re looking for more Mother’s Day recipes, you’ll definitely enjoy out this Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette with Buckwheat Crust.
- For the dough:
- 2 cups lukewarm milk
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 1 1/2 pounds tvorog cheese, can be replaced with ricotta
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, and yeast. Mix in 1 1/2 cups flour until you get a smooth batter. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until the mixture raises and almost doubles in size, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Then mix in melted butter, 2 eggs, the rest of the flour, and salt. When the dough starts coming together, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover it with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. After that, press it down and let it rise one more time for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the filling. The mixture should be moist and smooth. If it feels too dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
- Divide the dough into 25 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Using a water glass with a small flat bottom, press it right into the center of each ball to form a hollow. Fill each hollow with a cheese mixture. Place vatrushki on a baking sheet layered with parchment paper and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest one more time for 25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg. Lightly brush each bun with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
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