Ukranian cheese cake with brandy raisins

Recipe appears in 

Serves 8-10

Syrnyk (siir-nick), which roughly translates to of-cheese, is a classic cottage cheese cake that you’ll find across Ukraine, Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. Traditionally made with farmer’s cheese, I’ve subbed in ricotta, which is more accessible here, and will give you a more consistent finish than the various types of cottage cheese we find in Australia. This can be served at room temperature, or straight out of the fridge. This is typically eaten for breakfast, with a strong cup of tea or coffee.


1 cup (170g) raisins
2 tbsp (40ml) brandy
600g (2 ½ cups) ricotta (see tips)
4 eggs
1 cup (240g) sour cream
1/3 cup (60g) semolina
1/3 cup (75g) sugar
1 tbsp baking power
Pinch of salt


An hour before starting, soak your raisins in the brandy, to give them enough time to ensure it all soaks in. This can be done the night before as well.


Preheat your oven to 190C conventional. Line a 20-22cm spring-form cake tin with a sheet of baking paper with high sides.


In a stand mixer, combine all of the ingredients except for the raisins in your bowl.  Beat on a medium speed for a minute with the whisk attachment, stop and scrap down the sides, then repeat, beating it together for a couple of minutes to incorporate and whip in air. Your batter will still be lumpy – but that’s how it’s supposed to look. Remove and stir in the raisins with some of the brandy liquid.


Pour into your lined baking tin and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes. You want the edges to be cooked, the middle still slightly wobbly and an even, golden-brown colour on top.


Once ready, remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin to room temp. before serving.


Store in the fridge, where it will last 3-5 days.


Buy your ricotta by the slice from the deli section if you can. It’ll be much fresher, and have an airier texture.


If you don’t have a stand mixture, you can use hand beaters or a whisk. If using a whisk, you’ll need to add a couple more minutes of elbow-grease to ensure it’s all combined.


You’re welcome to leave the brandy out, or use a different liqueur or spirit of your choice to soak the raisins in.

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