Our take on this classic Russian pastry is filled with ricotta, prosciutto and spinach! Light, crispy and easy to make, savory sochniki are perfect for breakfast on the go, a light lunch or even an afternoon snack!
While there are different types of sochniki (сочники or сочни), the most common is a sweet version filled with tvorog, a popular dairy product in Russia sometimes translated as farmer cheese. Our savory adaptation uses ricotta in place of tvorog and is packed with sauteed spinach and prosciutto. Golden and crispy on the outside with a deliciously creamy center, these little treats have become my favorite breakfast bake!
the ricotta filling
I like to start with the filling so that it’s ready to go as soon as I’m finished with the dough. The base is made of ricotta mixed with a few tablespoons of sour cream, flour and one egg white. You’ll definitely want to drain the ricotta, but because we’re mixing it with a few thickening agents, you don’t need to be too thorough. To do this quickly, I generally just place the ricotta in a bit of cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess moisture.
Now the mix-ins! I used sauteed spinach and chopped prosciutto for this version. But you can also switch it up with a number of different ingredients. No prosciutto? Cooked bacon would work great here! And the spinach can be substituted for any other sauteed greens such as kale or swiss chard. Or maybe you want a flavor boost? Try adding a few more seasonings like garlic or cayenne! Just make sure to go light on the salt — the prosciutto already adds quite a bit.
dough for sochniki
This dough has been a dream to work with every time I make this recipe! It’s soft, pliable and super easy to roll out.
Start by beating together butter with a few tablespoons of sugar. Then mix in one egg and a bit of sour cream. Next combine your dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, salt and baking soda. Pour the dry mixture into the wet and stir until the dough starts to form. Now knead the dough with your hands just until it’s smooth. This should only take 30 seconds to a minute — you definitely don’t want to overwork the dough!
One tip: if you’re not using a kitchen scale, you may want to start with a bit less flour and add more as needed to ensure you’re not adding too much. The dough should be quite soft, but not sticky.
bake and enjoy!
When rolling out this dough I like to separate it into two sections to make it a bit easier to work with. Just make sure to cover the dough when you’re not using it so that it doesn’t dry out.
Now roll out the dough to about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thickness and cut out rounds. I used a 4-inch (10 cm) fluted tart pan to cut out my forms and got exactly 14 sochniki. A round cookie cutter or even a bowl would also work well here. You could also make them a bit smaller if you’d like, just make sure to keep an eye on them in the oven as the bake time will be a bit shorter.
To assemble the sochniki, place a dollop of ricotta filling on one side of the round and then fold it in half. While sochniki can be fully closed or partially open, I prefer the partially open look so that the delicious filling peeks through. And it’s one less step — no need to seal the dough by pressing it together — just lightly fold the dough over the filling!
And the last step: brush with egg wash and bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool for 10 minutes and then dig in!
For more of our favorite breakfast options make sure to check out these recipes!
- olive oil ½ tbsp
- spinach (packed) 2 c (60 g)
- prosciutto 3 slices (40 g)
- ricotta (drained) ¾ c (200 g)
- sour cream 2 tbsp (30 g)
- flour 2 tbsp (20 g)
- egg white 1 large
- (reserve the yolk for egg wash)
- salt to taste
- softened butter ½ c (110 g)
- sugar 2 tbsp (25 g)
- egg 1 large
- sour cream ¼ c (60 g)
- flour 2¼ c (270 g)
- (spooned and leveled*)
- baking soda ½ tsp
- salt ½ tsp
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the spinach and stir to coat with the oil. Cook until the spinach is just wilted and then set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop the prosciutto and spinach. Combine with the remaining filling ingredients and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.
- And the egg and mix until combined.
- Mix in the sour cream.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
- Pour the dry mixture into the wet and mix until fully incorporated. Briefly knead the dough until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to ⅛ inch (3 mm).
- Cut out 4-inch (10 cm) rounds (I used a fluted tart pan, but a small bowl also works well). Place a heaping spoonful of filling onto one side of each round and fold in half (no need to seal).
- Lightly beat the reserved egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water and brush each pastry.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
- Spooned and leveled: Scooping a measuring cup into a flour container can result in much more flour than intended, which can affect the success of your dough. To get a more accurate measurement, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour into the measuring cup until it's completely full. Then run the back of a knife over the cup to gently scrape off any excess.
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