A vatrushka is a Russian/Ukrainian open-faced pastry or tart. Made with various doughs and pastries and dozens of fillings, vatrushka are a traditional Russian/Ukrainian tea-time treat. After some reading, I learned it seems the most popular type is a yeast bun topped with sweet cottage cheese filling. I first ran across these treats on Pinterest, and decided I had to make some.
I drastically changed the recipe, so much that my Tart Cherry Filled Sweet Buns more resemble a danish than vatrushka, but the intention was there to recreate the Ukrainian pastry. The original recipe substituted fresh sweet cherries sprinkled with sugar for the cottage cheese filling. I had a few bags of tart cherries in my freezer from last year that I have been itching to use up, so I decided to go that route.
I made a half batch of my quick Sour Cherry Pie Filling using those frozen cherries, and let me tell you, this stuff never disappoints me. I could eat it by the spoonful, sour cherry pie is hands down my favorite pie. EVER. Halving the recipe pie filling recipe created enough filling to fill all 16 buns, and there was a little leftover, which I may or may not have eaten directly out of the pan. If you decide to skip making your own tart cherry filling, I think 1 can of cherry pie filling is the perfect amount.
We really need to address something before I go any further here. The crumb topping. Before I decided to go all in and douse the entire thing in a cream cheese glaze I tried a bun and I found the crumb topping didn’t really add much to the sweet bun experience. The topping in the original recipe isn’t quite a streusel, and to be honest I am not sure it added much to the pastry as a whole, granted I used half of the amount of topping (because I wanted to be able to see the pretty cherry filling). It was really dry and lacking something (maybe cinnamon?) Either way, I decided to remedy this with a cream cheese glaze. If you decide to skip the crumb topping I don’t think you will be missing much, in fact when I make this again I will most likely opt out of the crumb topping also.
The cream cheese glaze is what pushes my pastry over the edge, and makes it more danish like, although it doesn’t seem to be a stretch to compare a vatrushka to a danish. The yeast dough bun is incredibly light and fluffy and perfectly complemented by the tart cherry filling and cream cheese glaze.
Everyone in my house loved these, they were a great weekend breakfast pasty when you have a little more time to spend preparing the dough and allowing for the dough to go through its rising cycles.