Blueberry & Cheese Vatrushka Buns (video)

Ukrainian Vatrushka buns with cheese and berries, on a tray

The most delicious Eastern European pastries! Blueberry and cheese Vatrushka buns are made with a sweet and buttery yeast dough; filled with cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, and blueberry preserves; topped with a streusel topping. The buttery bread combined with the fruity and creamy filling is simply divine!

Vatrushka buns, or vatrushki, are a popular pastry in Eastern Europe, enjoyed especially in Ukraine and Russia. These are great with a cup of coffee or tea any time of the day! Find my original recipe in my cookbook, Beyond Borscht.

Watch My Vatrushka Buns Tutorial

Watch my YouTube vatrushka buns video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and see how I make these at home. Plus, tips for making the sweet yeast dough. Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Making Cheese Buns

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make these delicious Ukrainian pastries at home. Find the full list of ingredients with measurements in the printable recipe card below.

  • Dry Active Yeast: for preparing the dough.
  • Unsalted Butter: butter makes the dough extra soft and buttery. Make sure to cool the melted butter before using in the recipe.
  • Whole Milk, Eggs, & Sugar
  • All-Purpose Flour: you can also use bread flour for this recipe.
  • Farmer’s Cheese: This type of dry, crumbly cheese is called ‘tvorog’ in Eastern Europe, and is also known as quark cheese. You can also use small curd cottage cheese; those instructions below.
  • Blueberry Preserves: you can use just about any fruit or berry preserves. I also love these with strawberry, apricot, or raspberry jam.

Supplies & Tools for the Recipe

Need some supplies to make this pastry at home? Shop my Amazon Affiliate links for the items I use in my kitchen. Using these links won’t cost you extra and I’ll earn a small commission.

a close up image of pastry buns with cheese and berry filling, with blueberries

Making the Sweet Yeast Dough

These cheese vatrushka buns are made with a soft and buttery yeast dough, similar to brioche but much easier to make.

  1. Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stove top until it’s between 120°F and 130°F. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl, whisk in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over the top, mixing it lightly with the milk. Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes, until it’s bubbly and foamy.
  2. Next, add in the salt, vanilla, eggs and egg yolks, and the melted butter, cooled. Whisk until the mixture is uniform. Gradually begin adding the flour, whisking well after each addition. Switch to a spatula once the dough starts to pull together.
  3. Sprinkle your work surface with flour, then turn out the dough. Knead and add the rest of the flour. Knead for 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic; about 20 minutes using a mixer.
  4. Place the kneaded dough back into your mixing bowl for proofing.

Proofing Tips for Yeast Dough

Yeast needs a warm and moist environment to grow, and that’s why it’s important to setup the dough properly for proofing.

Find a small pot and fill it half way with boiling water. Make sure the bottom of your bowl doesn’t touch the water. Place a towel over the dough, then let it proof in a warm corner of the kitchen for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until doubled in size. Replace the water every 30 minutes, keeping the dough warm.

I like to keep my dough next to the stove where it’s nice and warm, especially if I am using the oven.

several sweet pastry buns on a tray and plate, on a table with tea

Preparing the Cheese Filling

While your sweet yeast dough is proofing, it’s the perfect time to prepare the cheese filling for the vatrushka buns.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for a minute, until it’s smooth. Add in the egg, vanilla, sugar, and salt next. You can use between ¼ and ½ cup sugar; adjust to taste. Mix these all together.
  2. Next, add in the tvorog or farmer’s cheese. Beat again until a uniform, creamy mixture forms.
  3. Need to use cottage cheese? Line a large strainer with a cheesecloth and add about 3 cups of small or large curd cottage cheese. Rinse the curds with cold water, then let the liquids drain. To ensure the curds are extra dry, wring the cheese inside the cheesecloth.

Preparing the Streusel Topping

You can enjoy these cheese buns with or without the streusel topping. I think it makes these look extra fancy!

  1. For the streusel, place the flour, sugar, and cold butter into a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form. You can also do this step using a pastry blender.
  2. Slowly add your cream, a few teaspoons at a time with the processor running. Add just enough cream for the flour and butter to form small crumbles.
a cheese and berry bread bun on a tray, with tea

How to Make Blueberry & Cheese Vatrushka Buns

Once your dough and filling are ready, it’s time to assemble the vatrushka buns!

  1. Gently turn the proofed dough out onto a clean work surface. Using a table scraper or a sharp knife, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball, without over-kneading the dough!
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats. Evenly space out each ball a few inches apart.
  3. Next, make hollows for the filling. Use the bottom of a glass or jar (about 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter) and press into the center of each ball. This will flat the dough and create a space in the center.
  4. Pierce the hollow with a fork, then fill it to the top with the cheese filling. Add a teaspoon of preserves on top.

The Second Proofing, Plus Toppings

Once the buns are shaped and filled, they require a second proofing before going into the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place your sheet pans with the buns onto the stove top where it’s nice and warm. Proof the buns for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough is fluffy.
  2. Use a pastry brush to gently apply the beaten egg onto the dough, around the filling. Sprinkle the prepared streusel topping over the filling and the top.
a tray of Ukrainian cheese vatrushka buns on a table, with blueberries

Baking Vatrushka Buns

Bake the blueberry and cheese vatrushka buns at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re a rich, golden brown color. To bake the two pans at the same time, space out your oven racks and stagger the pans so they’re not on top of each other. This will allow for more even baking.

If you don’t have two oven racks, place the second pan into the refrigerator to keep the dough from over-proofing.

Once the buns are done, remove them onto a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. The cheese filling will be very hot at first!

Storing Tips for Sweet Pastries

You can enjoy these delicious cheese buns while they’re warm with a cup of coffee or tea. Once they’re cooled, place the buns into a sealed container or closed bag. Store these at room temperature for up to 2 days, then in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I like to reheat mine for a few seconds in the microwave to they’re nice and warm again.

a woman standing in a kitchen, holding a sweet pastry

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this delicious Eastern European pastry recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Poppy Seed Rolls: buttery and fluffy rolls made with yeast dough and a poppy seed, walnut, and apricot filling. You’ll love this easy recipe!
  • Pistachio Baklava Rolls: super easy recipe for pastries using pre-made puff pastry, a pistachio paste, and simple syrup. These are addictive!
  • Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls: a fruity twist on classic cinnamon rolls, with fresh and dried blueberries. Plus, an easy glaze!
  • Apple Piroshki: Ukrainian sweet hand pies made with a soft yeast dough that’s filled with an apple and cranberry filling, then baked. These are my favorite!

Share it on Pinterest!

a pinnable image of sweet buns on a tray, with text overlay - 'Blueberry & Cheese Vatrushka Buns'
Print
Ukrainian Vatrushka buns with cheese and berries, on a tray
5 from 3 votes

Blueberry & Cheese Vatrushka Buns (video)

1 hour prep + 30 minutes cook + 2 hours 30 minutes Proofing Time
16 buns
The most delicious Ukrainian blueberry and cheese vatrushka buns, made with a soft yeast dough, cheese filling, and berries!

Ingredients 

For Yeast Dough:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour

For Cheese Filling:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups farmer's cheese, tvorog
  • 1/3 cup blueberry preserves, or other fruit or berry jams

For Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed & chilled
  • 1 tbsp cream

Additional:

  • 1 large egg, well-beaten

Instructions

Making the Yeast Dough:

  • Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until it’s between 120°F and 130°F. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl, whisk in the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over the top, mixing it lightly with the milk. Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes, until it’s bubbly and foamy.
  • Next, add in the salt, vanilla, eggs and egg yolks, and the melted butter, cooled. Whisk until the mixture is uniform. Gradually begin adding in the flour, whisking well after each addition. Switch to a spatula once the dough starts to pull together.
  • Sprinkle your work surface with flour, then turnout the dough. Knead and add in the rest of the flour. Knead for 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic; about 20 minutes using a mixer.
  • Place the kneaded dough back into your mixing bowl for proofing.

First Proofing:

  • Find a small pot and fill it halfway with boiling water. Make sure the bottom of your bowl doesn’t touch the water! Place a towel over the dough, then let it proof in a warm corner of the kitchen for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until doubled in size. Replace the water every 30 minutes, keeping the dough warm.
  • I like to keep my dough next to the stove where it’s nice and warm, especially if I am using the oven.

Making the Cheese Filling:

  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for a minute, until it’s smooth. Add in the egg, vanilla, sugar, and salt next. You can use between ¼ and ½ cup sugar; adjust to taste. Mix these all together.
  • Next, add in the tvorog or farmer’s cheese. Beat again until a uniform, creamy mixture forms.
  • Need to use cottage cheese? Line a large strainer with a cheesecloth and add about 3 cups of small or large curd cottage cheese. Rinse the curds with cold water, then let the liquids drain. To ensure the curds are extra dry, wring the cheese inside the cheesecloth.

Making the Vatrushka Buns:

  • Gently turn the proofed dough out onto a clean work surface. Using a table scraper or a sharp knife, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball, without over-kneading the dough!
  • Line two, large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats. Evenly space out each ball a few inches apart.
  • Next, make hollows for the filling. Use the bottom of a glass or jar (about 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter) and press into the center of each ball. This will flat the dough and create a space in the center.
  • Pierce the hollow with a fork, then fill it to the top with the cheese filling. Add a teaspoon of preserves on top.

Second Proofing & Streusel Topping:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place your sheet pans with the buns onto the stove top where it’s nice and warm. Proof the buns for 30 to 45 minutes, until the dough is fluffy.
  • For the streusel, place the flour, sugar, and cold butter into a food processor. Pulse until fine crumbs form. You can also do this step using a pastry blender.
  • Slowly add in the cream, a few teaspoons at a time with the processor running. Add just enough cream for the flour and butter to form small crumbles.
  • Use a pastry brush to gently apply the beaten egg onto the dough, around the filling. Sprinkle the prepared streusel topping over the filling and the top.

Baking Instructions:

  • Bake the blueberry and cheese vatrushka buns at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re a rich, golden-brown color. To bake the two pans at the same time, space out your oven racks and stagger the pans so they’re not on top of each other. This will allow for more even baking.
  • If you don’t have two oven racks, place the second pan into the refrigerator to keep the dough from over-proofing.
  • Once the buns are done, remove them onto a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes. The cheese filling will be very hot at first!

Storing Instructions:

  • You can enjoy these delicious cheese buns while they’re warm with a cup of coffee or tea. Once they’re cooled, place the buns into a sealed container or closed bag. Store these at room temperature for up to 2 days, then in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bun | Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 889IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg