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The last time we were in Romania we went out for a late night coffee, and although we weren’t hungry, eagle eyed Cosmin spotted papanaşi on the menu and insisted on ordering six. They were much larger than expected, the size of grapefruits and we only managed one between us before giving up. Cosmin was displeased, ‘they’re supposed to be small!’ he raged. Seriously he was yammering on about them for days afterwards.

These are they, papanaşi, mine are the size of pool balls, as in the balls used in the game of pool not those found in a swimming pool.

Makes Dulcie's List   Makes Cosmin's List


  • 250g cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 275g plain flour


  •  250ml sour cream200g blackcurrant jam


  • Calories | 172
  • Fat | 9.7g

Serves | 25 portions

Prep Time | 10 minutes

Cooking Time | 10 minutes


  1. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the cottage cheese by squeezing it through a muslin. Transfer to a bowl and mash with the back of a spoon until it is smooth.
  2. Stir in the egg and then the salt, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.
  3. Add three quarters of the flour and stir well, add the rest a spoonful at the time until you have a malleable dough.
  4. Split the dough into two. Roll the first half into snakes no thicker than a pencil and three inches long, press together the ends to make a ring.
  5. Roll the other half of the dough into balls an inch in diameter.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the dough in batches until they’re golden. Soak off the excess grease with kitchen roll.
  7. Put the jam in a bowl, stir and then blitz in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir again.
  8. To assemble put a doughnut ball in each doughnut ring and drizzle over sour cream and jam.

Based on a recipe found at

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