PAPANAŞİ (Romania)

PAPANAŞİ (Romania)

Ingredients
  • 500 g/ 1.1 lbs/ 2 ¼ cups cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • a few drops rum aroma
  • 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ ⅓ + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar
  • 230 – 250 g/ 8.1 – 8.8 oz / about 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (regular teaspoon, not measuring one)
  • cooking oil for frying the doughnuts
  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz smetana/ about 1 cup (or crème fraiche) to serve
  • whole fruit runny blueberry jam to serve (or sour cherry, blackberry, black currants jam etc)
Instructions
  1. Drain the excess water from the cottage cheese. Give the cottage cheese to a bowl. Add the eggs and the rum aroma, the granulated and vanilla sugar. With an immersion blender, blend the ingredients until you obtain a rough paste. The cottage cheese should not be turned into a smooth paste, just blended a little bit in order to make the cheese balls a little finer.
  2. Mix about 230 g/ 8.1 oz of the flour and the baking soda and give them to the cheese mixture. Mix with a spoon.
  3. Flour the working surface and your hands generously. Turn the dough onto the floured surface and
  4. knead it lightly to form a ball. The dough should still be somewhat sticky, yet manageable. Add the remaining flour only if absolutely necessary, only if the dough sticks so much that you will not be able to work it at all.
  5. Divide the dough into 9 balls. Roll 8 of the balls into thick sausages and unite the sausage ends to get a circle with a hole in the middle. Use the last ball to make 8 little balls, which will be used to top the papanasi.
  6. In the meantime, heat the oil in a pot. Use enough oil to have about 5-6 cm/ 2- 2.3 inches of it in the pot. To check if the oil has reached the right temperature, insert a toothpick in the oil, if there are blisters forming around the toothpick, you can start frying the papanasi.
  7. Only fry two or three papanasi at a time, depending on the size of your pan, do not overcrowd the pan, the papanasi should be able to move around freely. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Turn the doughnuts with a slotted spoon a few times in between and fry until the papanasi are golden brown. It took me about 5 to 7 minutes for one batch, but keep a close look and take them out as soon as they have a nice golden color. Or leave them longer if necessary. The little balls will need less time, about 3-4 minutes or so.
  8. Place them on plates lined with kitchen paper and pat them dry in order to absorb some of the excess oil.
  9. Serve warm topped with smetana and blueberry jam. Place the little balls on top and top them with a little smetana and jam as well.