Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

Ponchiki Collage Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

Q: What do you get when you cross a Russian doughnut with a Timbit? A: Ponchiki!

Russian Doughnuts 7 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

I had never heard of these dense, cheesy fritters before yesterday, but they seemed appropriately Russian-Canadian-snackable to serve up while planted on the couch glued to hockey or snowboarding or luge. We’ve already started to call them Those Little Russian Doughnuts.

Russian Doughnuts 6 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

They’re made with farmers’ cheese, a dry, crumbly cheese that looks like ricotta would had it been pressed a little more. Ricotta would work just as well – I added some sour cream to the farmers’ cheese to moisten it a bit. Some recipes I came across called for raisins in the dough – I used currants, which are more easily dispersed and seem like an ingredient my grandmother would have used. Not that she was Russian – they went into her butter tarts. But someone’s Russian grandma must have used them. Perhaps when I’m a grandma I’ll make Russian ponchiki. And Ukranian peroghy and Belgian beef carbonnade, and Danish Æbleskiver.

Russian Doughnuts 5 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

The dough is dense and cheesy – I had more than a cup of farmers’ cheese left, and so went ahead and used it – most recipes called for the spoonfuls of relatively wet batter to be rolled in flour before being lowered into the the hot oil, but mine wasn’t sticky enough to need it – it could be rolled into neat balls by hand without making much mess. Either way.

Russian Doughnuts 4 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

Once nicely deep golden, set them on a double thickness of paper towel and douse in icing sugar.

Get yourself a fresh cuppa coffee and eat warm.

Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

1 cup farmers’ cheese or ricotta
2-3 Tbsp. sour cream (if the cheese is very dry)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup raisins or currants (optional)

extra flour, for rolling
canola or other mild vegetable oil, for cooking
icing sugar or cinnamon sugar, for dusting

In a medium bowl, stir together the cheese, sour cream, sugar and egg. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until you have a thick batter. If you like, stir in some raisins or currants.

Put some flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Scoop medium spoonfuls of batter and roll in flour to coat. Heat a couple inches of oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking – a crust of bread should sizzle if you dip it in. Gently lower a few ponchiki at a time into the oil – don’t crowd the pot – and cook until golden on the bottom. Flip and cook for a few minutes on the other side, until deep golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Dust with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar while still warm. Makes lots.

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February 11 2014 11:12 am | dessert and snacks

8 Responses to “Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts”

  1. Laura C on 11 Feb 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Julie, did you know that ponchiki means ‘little ponchki’? And the Poles make the ponchki too? My husbands favorited are filled with plum jam !

  2. Julie on 11 Feb 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    YUM Laura! I saw a version filled with chocolate too… so much experimenting to do!

  3. Sue.D on 11 Feb 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Oh YES PLEASE! These sound amazing – shall aquire ingredients and set forth asap!

  4. erin on 11 Feb 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    Ah! So this explains your tweet yesterday about the microwaved cheese and raisin snack – which I have to admit, did not sound very appealing to me. These, however, look delicious! I might just have to make them for an Olympic brunch on Sunday. (I asked my boys what our theme should be; Russian, around the world, or Olympic, and they want Olympic….so now I am wondering if Olympic athletes would eat french toast casserole and drink prosecco…..probably yes?)

  5. Julie on 12 Feb 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Actually Erin, these had nothing to do with that tweet! I had been talking about weird snacks – my first confession was chocolate cake with sour cream – but people said that wasn’t weird! so I brought up my mug o’ melted cheese with raisins.. something I started doing when I was a kid, and still occasionally do!

    And yes.. I’m sure Olympic athletes would eat french toast casserole and drink prosecco! totally.

  6. Jan @ Family Bites on 13 Feb 2014 at 7:20 am #

    Nice! I can’t wait to give them a try with all of the fillings suggested above.

  7. Stephanie on 13 Feb 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    This looks soooo good. My mom is first generation Lithuanian and growing up she would make Varšk??iai which are savory cheese cakes sort of like these ones. I haven’t had it in years though!

  8. Mamie on 22 May 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this amazing site needs much more attention.
    I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!

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