American kids have pancakes. But Ukrainian kids? We have syrniki.
I grew up eating these slightly sweet, slightly sour pancakes made of farmer’s cheese. But today, they’re getting a fancy lil makeover💃My base recipe for syrniki doesn’t veer far from tradition but it’s the toppings that make these cheesy morsels shine: namely, a tangy raspberry compote, a zesty sour cream, and most importantly: buttery, savory, complex Prosciutto di Parma.
Through my work with Icons of European Taste, I’ve become a bit of a prosciutto snob and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In much the same way there’s a difference between 2 buck chuck and a really great bottle of Beaujolais from the local wineshop, there’s a huge difference in prosciutto qualities across the board. Let’s talk about it.
Prosciutto di Parma hails from Parma in the Emilia Romagna region. Between the crisp mountain air and breezes that float in from the Adriatic Sea, Parma is uniquely positioned to produce some of the best prosciutto-curing conditions in the world - conditions that Italian families have been taking advantage of for thousands of years. What’s more, these are not your average pigs: Prosciutto di Parma is only made from Italian born and bred pigs that are raised with utter care and fed specific diets. You can easily distinguish Prosciutto di Parma from other prosciuttos because of the signature Parma Crown logo: example here.
Generally speaking, Italians are very serious about preserving tradition, maniacal about quality, and extremely stringent when it comes to details. So it should come to no surprise that there’s literally a Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma to represent the Italian producers whose families have made the prosciutto for thousands of years. They protect the product & enforce the standards necessary to dub a cured leg of ham “Prosciutto di Parma.” In other words, they are prosciutto badasses.
Being that I’m a HUGE food nerd, I could talk to you for hours about what sets Prosciutto di Parma apart from the rest but I have a feeling you’re ready to get cooking. So let’s do it.
WHAT YOU NEED:
2 lbs (4 cups) farmers cheese
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
4 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
Prosciutto di Parma
Salt to taste
Zest of half a lemon
WHAT YOU DO
Combine all the syrniki ingredients in a large bowl. The batter will be dense. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Meanwhile, add raspberries and sugar to a saucepan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, using a wood spoon to help break the raspberries up. We’re aiming for a texture that’s not watery, but definitely looser than a traditional jam. Once you achieve the proper viscosity, remove the raspberry compote from heat and set aside.
Make your zesty sour cream by combining sour cream, a few pinches of sugar, a pinch of salt, and lemon zest in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Time to get cooking! Heat neutral oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the batter to the skillet - you can make the pancakes whatever size you like but I prefer them on the smaller side. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
To assemble: top the syrniki with zesty sour cream, raspberry compote, and a draping of Prosciutto di Parma. Optional: top some of the syrniki with sliced figs + honey drizzle instead of the raspberry compote for a sweeter flavor profile.