Zapekanka – Sweet Cheese & Custard Pasta Bake (video)

a square tray of baked sweet pasta bake with dried berries, on a table

If you grew up in a Ukrainian or Russian household, you’ve probably had this delicious, sweet pasta bake, called Zapekanka. Zapekanka was an inexpensive and easy dessert to prepare during the Russian soviet era when many ingredients were either expensive or hard to procure. This sweet pasta bake is made with farmer’s cheese, cooked pasta, eggs, a bit of sugar, and dried raisins or other fruit. It’s easy to make, not too sweet, and makes for a great snack or after dinner dessert.

Watch My Sweet Pasta Bake Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube Zapekanka video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and more tips. 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 Zapekanka

Here are my tips for the main ingredients you’ll need to prepare this sweet pasta bake. You can find the full list of ingredients with measurements in the printable recipe card below.

  • Farmer’s Cheese: also known as quark, and called ‘tvorog’ in Ukraine and Russia. This soft, crumbly cheese isn’t too salty, making it perfect for this dessert.

Large curd cottage cheese will also work for this recipe. You’ll want to use the same amount of cheese (14 oz) and reduce the amount of sour cream down to 3 to 4 tablespoons.

  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Sour Cream: you can also use Greek yogurt in its place. This adds a little bit of acidity to the custard mixture.
  • Pasta: I like to use thin angel hair pasta for this recipe, but it will work with just about any variety. Cook your pasta according to package instructions before adding it into the recipe.
  • Dried Fruit: raisins are the most traditional dried berry used for this recipe. I personally enjoy dried cranberries because I love their tart flavor.

Supplies & Tools for the Recipe

Need some supplies or tools to make this easy sweet pasta bake 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 zapekanka - sweet pasta bake on a plate

Cooking the Pasta

Zapekanka is so easy to make and comes together in no time! Here’s how to make this unique, Eastern European pasta bake.

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. You can also use a 9-inch round pan, or a 13×9-inch brownie pan.
  2. Bring a medium-sized pot of unsalted water to a boil. Break the angel hair pasta into smaller pieces, then add to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
  3. Drain the pasta and set it aside while you prepare the custard.

How to Make Zapekanka – Sweet Pasta Bake

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Whisk the eggs and cream together vigorously for a few minutes, until a smooth mixture forms.
  2. Add in the farmer’s cheese, dried cranberries or raisins, and cooked pasta next. Using a spatula, mix all the ingredients together until uniform.
  3. Pour the prepared batter into your linked baking pan.
a square baking pan on a table filled with zapekanka - sweet pasta bake

Baking Instructions for Pasta Bake

Bake the zapekanka at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the custard is completely set and golden on top. If using a larger brownie pan, reduce the baking time down to approximately 35 minutes, or until set.

Serving Suggestions for Zapekanka

Remove the zapekanka from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Slice the pasta bake into squares or wedges and enjoy warm. Enjoy the zapekanka with additional sour cream or apricot jam on the side.

a woman standing in a kitchen with a dessert pan

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this easy and delicious Ukrainian dessert? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy. I also have more Eastern European desserts in my books, The European Cake Cookbook and Beyond Borscht.

  • Easy Lemon Sirniki: these Ukrainian cheese pancakes are the best! They’re perfect in the morning with sour cream and jam.
  • Nalecniki: another traditional Eastern European recipe. Sweet crepes filled with a creamy cheese mixture and baked in the oven.
  • Poppy Seed Rolls: fluffy and butter yeast dough rolls filled with poppy seeds, walnuts, and apricots. These are so delicious with a cup of tea!

Share it on Pinterest!

a pinnable image of cheesecake with text overlay - 'Zapekanka Custard & Cheese Sweet Pasta Bake'
Print
a square tray of baked sweet pasta bake with dried berries, on a table
5 from 1 vote

Zapekanka – Sweet Pasta Bake (video)

10 mins prep + 45 mins cook
9 pieces
You'll love this quick and easy recipe for Zapekanka – a Ukrainian cheese and custard sweet pasta bake recipe, dotted with dried cranberries!

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 lb angel hair pasta, about 3 cups cooked pasta
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 14 oz farmer's cheese
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, or raisins

Instructions

  • Start by preheating your oven to 350F/177C. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. You can also use a 9-inch round pan, or a 13×9-inch brownie pan.

Cooking the Pasta:

  • Bring a medium-sized pot of unsalted water to a boil. Break the angel hair pasta into smaller pieces, then add to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
  • Drain the pasta and set it aside while you prepare the custard.

Preparing the Batter:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Whisk the eggs and cream together vigorously for a few minutes, until a smooth mixture forms.
  • Add in the farmer’s cheese, dried cranberries or raisins, and cooked pasta next. Using a spatula, mix all the ingredients together until uniform.
  • Pour the prepared batter into your linked baking pan.

Baking Instructions:

  • Bake the zapekanka at 350F/177C for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the custard is completely set and golden on top. If using a larger brownie pan, reduce the baking time down to approximately 35 minutes, or until set.
  • Remove the zapekanka from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Slice the pasta bake into squares or wedges and enjoy warm. Enjoy the zapekanka with additional sour cream or apricot jam on the side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1square | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 107mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 260IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg