Papanasi (Romanian Cheese Doughnuts) Gluten-Free Recipe
Updated: Sep 11
Papanasi is a traditional Romanian dessert. They are Cottage Cheese Doughnuts (one ring-shaped and one ball-shaped) topped with creme fraiche/sour cream, and cherry or blueberry preserve and are best served warm. This recipe will make 8 Papanasi.
You will need:
For the 'doughnuts':
300g cottage cheese
300g gluten-free flour (plus a bit extra for the work surface)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla flavouring
2 tsp sugar
For the topping:
two tablespoons of sour creme or creme fraiche for each of the Papanasi
two or three teaspoons of sour cherry/blueberry/whatever fruit preserves you prefer for each of the Papanashi
1. In a bowl, mix the cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla flavouring and lemon zest
2. Slowly add the baking powder and flour. You should have a slightly sticky dough.
3. Sprinkle some flour on your working surface, then place the dough on it.
4. If the dough is too sticky you can add a bit more flour. Usually, I would divide the dough into 8 large and 8 small balls and you would use your hands/fingers to shape the larger one into a doughnut with a hole in the middle. With the gluten-free flour, I've found that it's easier to gently roll the whole amount of dough ( about 1 cm thick) and shape them using one large and one super small cookie cutter (or a cup and a shot glass if you don't have any cutters). Again, if you plan on doing this with flour containing gluten, the dough can definitely be thicker.
5. The doughnuts need frying on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden-brow.
6. When they're done, make sure to place them on kitchen roll/paper towel, so some of the oil can be absorbed. Once they're all fried you can start assembling and serving them.
7. Place the larger doughnut on a plate, put a teaspoon of creme fraiche in the middle of it, place the ball-shaped doughnut on top of that and top it with more creme fraiche then sprinkle the preserve on top of everything.
I prefer them with either sour cherry preserve or white cherry preserve, but you can serve them with whatever preserves or jam you like or have available.
They're easy to make and they disappear in no time. They're best served fresh and warm. I wouldn't recommend freezing them. If you think you won't need as many, you can make half of the batch using half of the measurements for each ingredient. Following the recipe above gives you medium-sized Papanasi so I serve two 'assembled' ones in a portion.
I hope life is treating you well.