A stack of pancakes with sour cherries on a light pink surface with a white background
Photography, Ben Dearnley

Oladi Pancakes With Sour Cherries

These Eastern European pancakes are served with sour cherries and yogurt or sour cream.

“Oladiki (oh-lah-dzi-ki) are Eastern Europe’s answer to buttermilk pancakes,” explains recipe developer and food education specialist Alice Zaslavsky in her new book Better Cooking. They’re traditionally made smaller (about palm-sized) and served with sour cream or yogurt and tart fruit. “They’re puffy, fluffy and everything you’d hope for from a hotcake stack, as well as a really great way of using up any ‘dodgy’ dairy in the fridge,” writes Zaslavsky. “Growing up, Mum would chuck everything from sour cream to yogurt, ricotta, quark and cottage cheese in these. The batter should have the consistency of heavy cream, and will be lumpy, so have faith — it all comes together in the pan. Once you’ve made these a bunch of times, you’ll get to know the consistency you’re after by eye, rather than any precise measuring. This recipe makes enough for a two-person household, so if there’s more of you, go double, or triple … do what you’ve gotta do!”

A stack of pancakes with sour cherries on a light pink surface with a white background

Oladi Pancakes With Sour Cherries

Alice Zaslavsky's recipe for Eastern-European-style pancakes served with sour cherries.
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine eastern european
Servings 2



  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour gluten-free works fine here
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt flakes optional
  • 1 cup room-temperature milk kefir/buttermilk/yogurt/any ‘dodgy’ dairy see note #1
  • 1 egg beaten with a fork

Sour Cherry Compote

  • 14 oz (400 g) fresh pitted sour/morello cherries, or drained jarred pitted sour cherries see note #2
  • 1 tbsp superfine sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup water or sour cherry juice from the jar
  • ½ tbsp cornstarch


  • First, make the compote. If using fresh cherries, place them in a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar and leave to macerate (soften) for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, using a whisk, mix the lemon juice, water and cornstarch into a slurry in a small saucepan, then whisk over medium–low heat for 4 to 5 minutes until it starts to thicken.
  • Tip the macerated cherries and juice, or the drained jarred cherries, into the saucepan, switch over to a spatula or wooden spoon and stir to combine. Let the mixture bubble away and continue to thicken for another 5 minutes, without the cherries breaking up. If you used jarred cherries, taste and add sugar if needed, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  • For the batter, melt the butter in the frying pan you plan to cook your pancakes in.
  • Use a whisk to incorporate the flour, baking soda and salt flakes together in a bowl. In a pouring jug, mix together your chosen milk product and egg. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and slowly pour in your dairy mixture, stirring as you go; use a flexible spatula to help get every bit of dry friendly with the wet, without overmixing. Stir the melted butter through. The batter will be lumpy, with the consistency of craft glue…be cool…it’ll relax on its own. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, wipe out your buttery frying pan with a paper towel, reserving the buttery paper for greasing purposes.
  • Heat the frying pan over medium heat, then scoop in a large spoonful of the batter. The optimum amount of pancakes in a large pan should be three – any more, and you risk overcrowding; any less, and you’re expending excess energy by the stove.
  • When the surface of the pancakes forms bubbles and a slight skin, which should take 3 to 4 minutes, flip! Repeat!
  • Serve warm, topped with the compote and yogurt or sour cream.


  1. When I say any dairy will work, I'm talkin' ANY DAIRY! Anything from cottage cheese to yogurt, mascarpone and crème fraîche will do. To make this recipe plant-based, use oat milk or coconut yogurt and 1 banana in place of the egg.
  2. Sour cherries are very seasonal, and a bit fiddly to pit (satisfying as this may be when you're in the mood). If you've a hankering but no supply, you'll find pitted sour cherries in juice at many delis, and often on the higher shelves in the canned fruit section at the store. Their liquid content is obviously far greater, but it also means you can do a quicker version of the topping by just mixing the lemon juice and cornstarch into a few tablespoons of the cherry juice, then warming it all together in a pan over low heat to thicken and relax.

A book cover in a light tan frame

Excerpted from Better Cooking by Alice Zaslavsky. Copyright © 2024 Alice Zaslavsky. Photographs by Ben Dearnley. Published by Appetite an imprint of Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Share this article:

Sign up for our Good Life newsletter and get a FREE Easy Week Night Dinners Recipe Booklet

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.