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A Day in Moscow

by Tara

This morning, Elizabeth taught me how to make syrniki, or sweet cheese fritters, for breakfast. She learned the recipe from her Russian in-laws, and as a fellow cooking lover, she was excited to share it with me.

Elizabeth Cooking Syrniki

First, you open a block of soft cheese reminiscent of a cream cheese/cottage cheese combo. Add two eggs to the mixture, and a rough amount of sugar. Add enough flour to form a workable dough (enough so that it doesn't stick too badly to your hands) and form the dough into pancake shapes. Fry in oil. We used olive, but most any will do.

Syrniki Frying

When the bottoms are golden brown, flip them over.

Tara Cooking Serniki (Cheese Pancakes)

When that side is done, take them out…

Tara & Syrniki Syrniki (Sweet Cheese Fritters)

…and then eat them right away with sour cream or runny jam or honey! YUM!

Syrniki with Sour Cream and Apricot Syrup

After breakfast, Elizabeth had to go to work, and she invited us to come along. So, we all left the apartment together (the photo below shows the pretty pattern of light shining through holes in the top of the elevator) and headed towards the metro.

Elevator Lights

About a half an hour later, we emerged on the other side of Moscow, and walked to an upscale office building. Elizabeth teaches English to some of the employees working in it.

We met Alyona.


She and Max helped Tyler with some more route planning, giving us the idea to see Russia's Golden Ring, a series of ancient towns northeast of Moscow, all of which played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Alyona, Max & Tyler

There was Olga, who taught us about samovars. She's from the town of Tula, which boasts a famous samovar museum.

Olga & Alyona

And then we met Alex, who we were astonished to learn has been reading our posts since we were in Romania!


Everyone was so nice. We had a great time hanging out, having conversations in English, and answering lots of curious questions about our trip!

Thanks so much for a fun class, you guys!

After enjoying cappuccinos in the employee lounge after the official lesson time was over, we took the elevator back to the lobby. On the way, Tyler grabbed the recorder, eager to save a memory of the muzak. This was definitely not our our list of things to do in Russia!

Swanky Elevator
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Americans in Russia


The cheese pancakes look amazing, thanks for the great images and directions, if I find the right cheese I'm making them!

I love your Russia entries so far, can't wait to see what the rest of the country holds for you!
Safe travels. -Liz
Posted by Liz Kelley on August 8th, 2010 at 7:17 PM
Hmmm, never mind previous post comment, after seeing her picture she must be a Shockman child, am I right?
Posted by Amanda on August 9th, 2010 at 7:02 PM
Liz - Hey, I'm just now reading your comment, and wanted to let you know that if you want to try your hand at making syrniki, the cheese needed is called tvorog. I'm not sure if its readily available where you are, but I've seen recipes that substitute cottage cheese. I just found this link, too, if you want to make your own tvorog!


Amanda - Yup!
Posted by Tara on August 26th, 2010 at 1:34 PM
I'm making Syrniki for breakfast right now! We have some cottage cheese we need to use and I remembered this blog post. You guys make me feel so worldly.
Posted by Katherine on February 6th, 2011 at 10:40 AM
Aw sweet! How did they turn out?
Posted by Tara on February 9th, 2011 at 10:29 AM
Yeah, really well. I'm glad I had your blog post to guide me. If I had've just followed the recipe I found online they would've been a soggy mess!
Posted by Katherine on February 9th, 2011 at 10:52 AM