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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.

button print gry20 Russian Ponchiki Doughnuts

February 11 2014 | dessert and snacks | 9 Comments »

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

gingerbread caramel corn Gingerbread Caramel Corn

Gingerbread caramel corn! It had to be done. It’s crunchy. It’s munchy. It’s gifty and eat-on-the-couchy. Perfect for Christmas week, don’t you think?

Every time I make caramel corn, I forget 1) how easy it is, and 2) how delicious it is. Just make sure you use a saucepan or pot with enough room for the sugar mixture to foam up (it will about triple in size) when you add the vanilla and baking soda – this is what makes it light and crisp, and not so tooth-breakingly heavy. This stuff will not compromise your dental work. Nor does it require a candy thermometer, which is a good thing if you haven’t found one in your stocking yet.

This is the perfect sort of thing to have on the coffee table whilst reading/movie-watching/playing Scrabble, or to bring along a bag of if you’re heading to a skating party. It’s wintertime snack food.

Gingerbread Caramel Corn

8-10 cups popped popcorn
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup or Rogers Golden syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. dry ginger

Preheat the oven to 250F and put the popcorn in a big bowl.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, molasses and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and boil without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla – it will foam up at first. Stir in the cinnamon and ginger and quickly pour over the popcorn; stir with a heatproof spatula or tongs to coat well.

Spread out onto a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool and break apart. Serves a medium-sized crowd.

pixel Gingerbread Caramel Corn
button print gry20 Gingerbread Caramel Corn

December 26 2013 | snacks | 6 Comments »

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