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Oladiki pancakes with sour cherries from The Joy of Better Cooking

Servings: 2
Oladiki (oh-lah-dzi-ki) are Eastern Europe’s answer to buttermilk pancakes. They’re puffy, fluffy and everything you’d hope for from a hotcake stack, as well as a really great way of using up any ‘dodgy’ dairy in the fridge. Growing up, Mum would chuck everything from sour cream to yoghurt, ricotta, quark and cottage cheese in these. The batter should have the consistency of Clag paste or thick (double) cream, and will be lumpy, so have faith — it all comes together in the pan. Once you’ve made these a bunch of times, you’ll get to know the consistency you’re after by eye, rather than any precise measuring. This recipe makes enough for a two-person household, so if there’s more of you, go double, or triple … do what you’ve gotta do!


  • yoghurt or sour cream to serve

Oladiki batter

  • 50 g 1 ½ oz butter
  • 1 cup 150 g plain (all-purpose) flour (gluten-free works fine here)
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt flakes optional
  • 1 cup 250 ml room-temperature milk kefir/buttermilk/yoghurt/
  • any ‘dodgy’ dairy see Subs
  • 1 egg beaten with a fork

Sour cherry compote

  • 400 g 14 oz fresh pitted sour/morello cherries, or drained jarred pitted sour cherries
  • 1 tbsp caster superfine sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup 60 ml water (or sour cherry juice from the jar)
  • ½ tbsp cornflour cornstarch


  • First, make the compote. If using fresh cherries, place them in a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and leave to macerate (soften) for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, using a whisk, mix the lemon juice, water and cornflour into a slurry in a small saucepan, then whisk over medium–low heat for 4–5 minutes until it starts to thicken.
  • Tip the macerated cherries and juice, or the drained jarred cherries, into the saucepan, switch over to a spatula or wooden spoon and stir to combine. Let the mixture bubble away and continue to thicken for another 5 minutes, without the cherries breaking up. If you used jarred cherries, taste and add sugar if needed, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  • For the batter, melt the butter in the frying pan you plan to cook your pancakes in.
  • Use a whisk to incorporate the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt flakes together in a bowl. In a pouring jug, mix together your chosen milk product and egg. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and slowly pour in your dairy mixture, stirring as you go; use a flexible spatula to help get every bit of dry friendly with the wet, without overmixing. Stir the melted butter through. The batter will be lumpy, with the consistency of craft glue … be cool… it’ll relax on its own. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, wipe out your buttery frying pan with a paper towel, reserving the buttery paper for greasing purposes.
  • Heat the frying pan over medium heat, then scoop in a large spoonful of the batter. The optimum amount of pancakes in a large pan should be three — any more, and you risk overcrowding; any less, and you’re expending excess energy by the stove.
  • When the surface of the pancakes forms bubbles and a slight skin, which should take 3–4 minutes, flip! Repeat!
  • Serve warm, topped with the compote and yoghurt or sour cream.


For an optimum batter, work with room-temperature ingredients.
The batter will keep in the fridge overnight, and actually benefits from a little time to get fizzy. Add the melted butter as your final stage before frying.
If you’re making a large batch of oladiki, preheat the oven to 120°C (235°F), to keep your first lot of pancakes warm while you’re cooking the rest.
If you’re after a buttermilk version, but don’t have any buttermilk on your personage or in the fridge, make your own by adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup (250 ml) milk.

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