Hi friends! Today I am coming back to you with a Russian classic – Cottage Cheese Bake (Творожная Запеканка – [Tvorozhnaya Zapekanka]), which is an absolute childhood favourite for many people. It is a typical breakfast food and is enjoyed with a dollop of smetana (sour cream) and a spoon of something sweet, like jam or honey. It is made up of 4 basic ingredients – cottage cheese, eggs, coconut flour and baking powder! All the rest is optional but I love adding vanilla extract and lemon zest, which give an unbeatably enticing aroma to the bake. When the Zapekanka is ready, I make a simple syrup made out of lemon juice and a bit of honey to pour on top – the syrup gets absorbed into all the nooks and crannies and the end result is a slightly moist and slightly sweet delicious lemony cottage cheese goodness!
You can use just about any type of cottage cheese for this – I personally get the very creamy (almost cream cheese-like consistency) cottage cheese from the local supermarket in Austria (it’s called Speisetopfen in Austrian German and Quark in German German). If using a drier cottage cheese, mix in a couple of tablespoons of sour cream into the mix. Make sure to get a full-fat cottage cheese (I used 20% fat) because a low-fat Zapekanka is just… not so tasty! The full-fat version tastes so much better and is so much healthier for you that you really needn’t be scared of the fat! I should also note that the original recipe uses semolina flour but I found (through years of testing with different gluten-free flours) that the coconut flour works perfectly well to replace it and the swap doesn’t affect the end result in the slightest – the Zapekanka is just as fluffy and delectable as the regular version!
A few notes on the nutritional profile of this Zapekanka: the combination of full-fat cottage cheese, eggs and coconut flour make this a superb low-carb, high-protein, high-fat food, which is excellent to have for breakfast or a snack throughout the day (particularly post-workout). The fact that it is high in fat means that it will keep you satiated for a longer period of time without your blood sugar levels plummeting. There is absolutely no sugar in this dish, which makes it suitable for low-carb, high-fat dieters. If you want a little sweetness, you can add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup to the mix prior to baking, or leave it out and use fresh/cooked berries on top when serving.
- 2 packs (500 grams) of full-fat cottage cheese (I use 20% fat)
- 3 eggs
- 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
- vanilla extract (or vanilla sugar - optional)
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tbsp of honey
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius/392 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, the eggs, the vanilla extract and the lemon zest. Mix well. Add in the baking powder and the coconut flour. Give it a good mix and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Line your cake tin (or small baking tray) with parchment paper. I used a 24 cm/9 inch diameter cake tin. Grease the baking paper liberally with olive oil.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake at 200 degrees Celsius/394 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the bake is starting to brown.
- Combine the lemon juice and honey in a small pot. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
- When the Zapiekanka is ready, pour the hot syrup on top and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.