Back to School: Easy Russian Recipes for Your Kid’s Lunch

On September 1st, kids of all ages in Russia are going back to school. Which means it’s time to share some authentic Russian recipes that are perfect for your little one’s lunchbox. These 3 sweet recipes are not only very popular in Russia, but also easy to make, healthy, and absolutely delicious!

Let’s start with a Russian dessert called Zapekanka. To give you a hint about the taste, it’s often referred to as Russian cheesecake made with cottage cheese. Easily overlooked, cottage cheese provides many health benefits, including a high protein, significant calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Dishes containing cottage cheese usually have a delicate texture and taste and are quite popular in Russian cuisine. Zapekanka is one of the simplest and most delicious among them. Try it yourself!

Zapekanka – Russian Cheesecake (Cottage cheese casserole)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 5 Servings

What you need:

  • 1 Pound (or about 500 gr) cottage cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 7 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon sour cream
  • 2 Heaping tablespoons starch
  • Vanilla to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon softened butter
  • Raisins (optional)

Step 1

In a large bowl whisk together cottage cheese, egg yolks, sugar, sour cream, starch, and vanilla.

Step 2

Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl.

Step 3

Add egg whites to the cottage cheese, and whisk the entire mass with a spoon.

Step 4

If you want, add some dried fruit (e.g raisins) in the mix.

Step 5

Put the mixture into a baking pan. To prevent the cheesecake from sticking to the pan, place about a tablespoon of softened butter on a paper towel and coat the bottom and sides of the pan first.

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and bake for about 30 min, or until the center is set. Serve hot or cold as is, or with sour cream on the side.

The next recipe is Sharlotka, or Apple Charlotte, and it probably the most popular Russian sweet cake. It is famous for being simple, affordable, and quick. Every mother in Russia knows that if she needs to fix something quickly for the kids with minimum ingredients, Apple Charlotte is the way to go. Since it only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and about 40 min to bake, Sharlotka will be a hit not only with your little ones but with anyone with a sweet tooth.

Russian Charlotte Apple Cake (Sharlotka)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 Servings

What you need:

  • 4 Large eggs
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 3 Large or 4 medium sized apples (any tarter variety e.g Granny Smith will do)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil or butter (to grease the baking tray)
  • 1 Pinch of salt

Step 1

In a large bowl beat the eggs until frothy.

Step 2

Gradually add sugar and salt. Keep beating the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved.

Step 3

Add flour and mix thoroughly.

Step 4

Wash apples, cut out the core, peel the skin off if desired and slice into 3-4 mm pieces.

Step 5

Add apples to the batter and mix.

Step 6

Grease the baking tray with butter (It is better to use a cake mold with a hole in the middle). Pour the batter into the baking tray.

Step 7

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-45 min. Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, then the cake is ready. Serve hot or cold.

Our last recipe is a homemade Russian juice called Kompot. Russians of all ages really enjoy this healthy alternative to soda and other sugary drinks. We’re betting it will become your little one’s favorite. Unlike freshly squeezed juices, it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, and that is another reason why busy moms like it. Generally, it can be prepared from any fruit but since apricots are in season now here is a version using apricot juice.

Homemade Apricot Juice Kompot

What you need:

  • 1 Pound (about 500 gr) ripe, firm apricots
  • 10 Cups (about 2.5 litres) water
  • 1 Cup sugar

Step 1

Wash the apricots, cut in half and get rid of the pits.

Step 2

Put cold water and sugar in a large pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Step 3

Put apricots in the pot, turn the stove off, cover with a lid and let it cool down.

Step 4

Strain the juice and pour it in a clean pitcher. For the best flavor, wait for 12 hours (or overnight). Serve cold.

Image #1 by Olga/Олька

Image #2 by Alexey Ivanov

Image #3 by Janice Cullivan

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