Say ‘hello’ to your new favorite way to enjoy crepes! These cheese-filled crepes, or nalesniki, are a staple dessert recipe in Eastern Europe! You’ll find these sweet cheese crepes all over in Ukraine and Russia. They’re traditionally made with a simple crepe stuffed with sweetened farmer’s cheese or quark. Since this cheese is hard to source in the United States, I’ve come up with this version that uses a blend of cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and mascarpone. Nalesniki are enjoyed warm and are great for breakfast, or can be enjoyed as an after dinner dessert!
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What are Nalesniki?
Nalesniki are THE sweet cheese crepes that everyone loves in Ukraine and Russia! They’re easy to make and can be found in most cafes and restaurants. Nalesniki are made by filling a simple crepe with sweetened farmer’s cheese or quark. The crepe is either rolled, rolled into an egg roll shape, or folded into pockets. Some versions are made with raisins or cranberries added to the filling. I like to serve mine with fresh berries, sour cream or whipped cream on top. Any way you prefer them, these cheese crepes are sure to be delicious!
Get my new and updated recipe for traditional Ukrainian nalesniki in my new cookbook, Beyond Borscht!
Simple Crepe Recipe
These delicious cheese-stuffed nalesniki start with a simple crepe recipe! I find the easiest way to make crepes is to place all the ingredients into a blender and pulse for a few minutes, until a smooth batter forms. You can also prepare the batter by hand. First, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar and butter together for a few minutes. Then, gradually begin adding the flour, whisking well after each addition. When making crepe batter by hand, it’s easier if all the ingredients are at room temperature.
To make the crepes, preheat an 8-inch frying pan or crepe pan and use 1/4 cup crepe batter per crepe. Pour and tilt the pan simultaneously to form thin and even crepes. Cook the crepes for approximately 1 minute on the first side, then turn and cook for another 30 seconds on the second side.
Assembling the Nalesniki
Assembling these cheese-stuffed crepes is super easy! First, prepare the cheese filling. Just combine the cheeses with the egg, sugar and optional vanilla in a large bowl. Mix everything together until a uniform mixture forms. Drop a few tablespoons of the filling into the center of each crepe, then roll the crepe into an egg roll shape. You can also try spreading the filling evenly to the edges and rolling the crepe into a log.
Place the shaped nalesniki into a casserole pan and top with a few dabs of butter. Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted. I love to enjoy these with a fresh berries, sour cream, whipped cream or even preserves. Growing up, we enjoyed these simply with sour cream and a sprinkle of sugar!
Enjoyed this easy Eastern European dessert? Make sure to check out my Ukrainian cookbook, Beyond Borscht! And, check out some of the recipes I have on my website!
- Honey Cake – this layered honey cake is made with a cooked dough and filled with a creamy custard filling!
- Torte Napoleon – the most famous Eastern European cake, made with flaky cake layers and vanilla custard!
- Kiev Torte – my take on the iconic hazelnut meringue cake! Made with sponge cake, chocolate frosting and crunchy meringue!
- Nutella Crepes – sweet crepes stuffed with Nutella and topped with berries, almonds and cheese!
- Tiramisu Crepes – one of the many crepes cakes I have on my site! This one has all the flavors of classic Tiramisu!