pies · sweet · traditional Russian recipe

Family Recipe: “Terty” Tvorozhnik or Sweet Cheese Pie

Midsummer at dacha

Before sharing with you our family recipe – here are some slightly belated midsummer shots taken at our dacha. Just to remind me that St Petersburg is not always rainy and windy 🙂

Midsummer at dacha

New dwellers of our garden this summer:

Midsummer at dacha

This one in particular looking like a hair pin all girls would wear in the 1990s 🙂

Midsummer at dacha

Mom’s been extra-creative these days and this is one of the pillow cases she made out of various bits and pieces – employing her truly Soviet practicality:

Midsummer at dacha

And here’s the recipe – “Terty” Tvorozhnik or Sweet Cheese Pie. The recipe requires for grating the chilled butter first – hence its name, Terty or Grated. Tvorozhnik is basically a type of a dish with tvorog (cottage cheese) as the main ingredient. It’s a bit hard to identify the type of this Tvorozhnik  – this is not a pastry pie, it’s more of a crumble pie though it keeps shape.  Khmmm 🙂

“Terty” Tvorozhnik or 'Grated' Cheese Pie

I don’t have a slightest idea of whether this recipe is actually Russian or not, I just know that it once came from a family friend. I guess it might be from the Soviet era, judging from the simplicity or rather availability of the ingredients – but not sure here either. This has been our family’s staple for years, though it’s been some time since we last made it. Mom had an idea of baking it some days ago – and so we did!

“Terty” Tvorozhnik or 'Grated' Cheese Pie

A year ago – Two Sourdough Bread Recipes

Two years ago – Greek Briam with Danish Rye Rolls

Three years ago – Moscow and Courgette Pies

“Terty” Tvorozhnik or ‘Grated’ Sweet Cheese Pie adapted from our family friends’ recipe. Will make a soft and crumbly cheese pie. Best eaten warm! See my remarks in italics.


For the dough:

  • 100 margarine straight from the freezer – I used butter, see Remarks
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • sugar
  • soda
  • vinegar

For the filling:

  • 250 g cottage cheese (tvorog) – mine was 5% fat
  • ½ cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla


Grate the butter, add the flour and a bit of sugar, then pour just a little bit of vinegar over about ¼ of tsp soda and add it to the mixture. The ‘dough’ part is ready – it should resemble crumbs but it won’t be homogeneously crumbly. Divide the mixture in two parts – one will go for the bottom layer and the rest – for the top.

Mix the filling ingredients. I also added some flour as the mixture seemed too runny.

The best way to bake this pie is in a round pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle one part of the dough mixture onto the bottom, leveling it out. Then spread the filling (don’t worry if it is runny) and finish off with the rest of the dough on top. Bake on the bottom rack at 180 ‘C for 25 minutes and then some more time on the top rack with the ‘top heat’ option, if there’s one in your oven.

“Terty” Tvorozhnik or 'Grated' Cheese Pie

Remarks: I think one of the key ingredients of this pie is the butter. I suggest you’d rather not use margarine but butter of good quality. Don’t overdo the sugar part – I added too much to the dough I guess. The top layer will get crunchy if you go for the additional baking time using the top rack. Some bits of the crumble will fall off – but no worries, the rest will be gobbled down!

“Terty” Tvorozhnik or 'Grated' Cheese Pie

Result: Pretty sweet and crumbly – at the same time very soft and addictive! Will make a great supper, especially if served warm straight from the oven – the sweet cheese matches the floury crumble perfectly.

See another terty pie from our family recipe collection.

Adding this to Sweet and, well, to Russian recipes too.



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