Ponchiki – Russian Donuts – Творожные Пончики

Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-8Ponchiki are a walk down memory lane for me. My Mom used to make them quite often when I was a little girl. I just happened to have some farmer’s cheese in my refrigerator and this was the perfect recipe to use it in. Sergi and I couldn’t stop eating them. They turned out even better than I remembered. Golden and crunchy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside, these Ponchiki are absolutely perfect.

I actually avoid frying as much as I can. Not only because of the health issues, but because I just hate messing with frying. However, this recipe is absolutely worth it. It only takes about 20 minutes total for the whole process, from mixing the batter to gazing at the puffy, golden Ponchiki lying in a delicious jumble on a plate. You won’t be gazing at them for long though, because you won’t be able to resist taking a bite. 

Ingredients:

2 cups farmer’s cheese or ricotta cheese

3 eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 quarts oil, for frying the donuts

powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top of the donuts

Instructions:

Ponchiki- Russian Donuts2-1Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, mix the farmer’s cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a standing mixer, using a hand mixer or mixing it by hand.

Ponchiki- Russian Donuts1-1-2Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix to combine.Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1

Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-2Using two teaspoons, take a small scoop of batter in one spoon and use the other spoon to scrape it off the spoon and into the oil. Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-3

Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-4

Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-5Cook the Ponchiki until they are golden brown on both sides.Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-6

Make sure the oil is about 350 after you add the batter to the hot oil. If the oil drops in temperature too much, the Ponchiki will soak up too much oil and will be greasy, if the temperature is too high, the Ponchiki will brown too quickly on the outside and won’t be cooked through on the inside.

Take out the Ponchiki and let them drain on a paper towel or paper bag. Keep frying the Ponchiki in batches until you have fried all the batter. Sprinkle the Ponchiki with powdered sugar.Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-7

Ponchiki - Russian Donuts-1-8

Ponchiki - Russian Donuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: about 50 ponchiki
Ingredients
  • 2 cups farmer's cheese or ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 quarts oil, for frying the donuts
  • powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top of the donuts
Instructions
  1. Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the farmer's cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a standing mixer, using a hand mixer or mixing it by hand.
  3. Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix to combine.
  4. Using two teaspoons, take a small scoop of batter in one spoon and use the other spoon to scrape it off the spoon and into the oil. Cook the Ponchiki until they are golden brown on both sides. Make sure the oil is about 350 after you add the batter to the hot oil. If the oil drops in temperature too much, the Ponchiki will soak up too much oil and will be greasy, if the temperature is too high, the Ponchiki will brown too quickly on the outside and won't be cooked through on the inside. Take out the Ponchiki and let them drain on a paper towel or paper bag. Keep frying the Ponchiki in batches until you have fried all the batter. Sprinkle the Ponchiki with powdered sugar.

76 Comments

    • olgak7

      Wouldn’t it be nice if little treats would just appear when we wanted them? That’s kind of my secret to not eating too much sweets – I try to only eat homemade sweets, which I don’t want to do too often. It really helps:).

  • Julia

    My kids would be all over these.. I don’t see these lasting very long at my house at all. Will definitely have to try these some lazy weekend!! Beautiful photo, for sure!

  • Valentin Goncharenko

    These ponchiki are fabulously delicious! Me and my wife were honored to try these directly from the source of “wholesome cooking made simple”.
    Thank you Olga and Serge for the finger-licking treat!!

  • Galya V.

    Olga, if you convert 350 Fahrenheit oil to High-Medium-Low temperature, what range would that be? I just don’t have what to measure an oil temperature with. Thanks 🙂

    • olgak7

      Galya, I can’t say for sure, because I always use a thermometer. It’s very hard to guess the temperature that you need to use, since different pots will heat up differently as well as stoves are different too. Thermometers are very inexpensive. I bought mine for about $10 and I use it all the time.

      • Oksana K

        Olya, you answered here on my question too, before i asked. (glad i read all comments first)… 😉 There are some delish recipes here on your blog that i was going to do, but when saw that it requires termometer – had to skip, cuz i don’t have one… But now i’ve had it! Going to buy this gadget as soon as i’m in department store, and make THESE BEAUTIES FIRST, and then go search for those recipes of yours that i wanted to do and make them happen too, since i’ll FINALLY have the termometer! 😀 Many many thanks to you for your blog, and your ability to keep posting yummy recipes even with babies at home, wow! i’m so amazed by your “superpowers”. 🙂 😉

  • Julia

    Oh. Just made them. Amazingly good. Making another batch as soon as done frying first one. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Jan Murry

    Just finished making these – they are delicious! Wish mine looked as pretty as yours – I ended up with a lot of tails – not nice and round like yours. I guess I’ll just have to keep practicing! Can these be frozen?

  • Sasha

    Olga, this was so timely this evening…I had farmers cheese to use up. Also my daughters birthday is tomorrow. So, I thought I’d check your website. The minute I pull up your website here pops up this recipe…
    Well, needless to say I barely got first batch out…my whole family surrounded me. I have 5 young kids. Between hubby, kids and me, we ate half already…
    I am going to have to bake more in the meantime…
    Maybe you can suggest something…love this recipe, quick, easy, and tasty….
    With kids 6 years of age and under I need to do things quick ;)))
    I’d appreciate any ideas 🙂

  • Anna

    Hey Olga, thank you for posting this easy recipe for ponchiki. I have a quick question can I use cottage cheese for this recipe instead of farmers?

    • olgak7

      I’ve never made it with cottage cheese, so the measurements of the ingredients might be a bit off. I would suggest draining the cottage cheese and pureeing it in the food processor first before using it in the recipe.

    • olgak7

      I haven’t made it with cottage cheese, so I can’t say for sure. Make sure to drain it well first and I would probably pulse it in food processor first, to get the lumps out before making the batter with it. It should work out fine if you do that, Elen.

  • Norma

    I want to make these for my grandchildren . . . . I think they will love making them. I live in a very small community so will have to get ingredients the next time I “go to town!” Please clarify what you mean by farmer’s cheese . . . . is there a particular brand that I need to look for? I have “Farmer’s Cheese” in my frig but it is pretty hard, and I am wondering if that will work; do I need to soften it or at least bring it to room temp?

    Thank you for your time! I am looking forward to trying these at our next family gathering!

    • olgak7

      Hi Norma,
      If you click on the link in the ingredient list to farmer’s cheese, you will see exactly what kind of farmer’s cheese I am talking about. I have the recipe for homemade farmer’s cheese too. I buy the “Friendship” brand of farmer’s cheese at the store and it’s the perfect texture. If your farmer’s cheese is really hard, you can pulse it in the food processor to make it softer and break it apart. Softening farmer’s cheese won’t make much of a difference, since it’s a different texture than cream cheese or butter.

  • Michelle

    can i use quickmelt cheese instead of farmer’s cheese since farmer’s cheese is not available here?

    • olgak7

      I’m not sure what quick melt cheese is, but you can substitute it with cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, as long as you wring out any moisture, Michelle.

  • valentina

    Olga thank you for this recipe. We live in America for 22 years and i could not find this recipe anywhere. Back home in Moldova we used to call them GOGOSHI. Everything turned out just like you described it above. Great taste and very tender dough.

    Molodets, Spasibo bolishoe

    • olgak7

      Don’t you just love when you find a recipe that brings back great memories? I’m thrilled that the Ponchiki were just how you remembered them. I’ve never heard about Gogoshi; thanks for sharing.

  • Innessa

    Hi Olga! Do u have a recipe for ponchiki with milk instead of cheese? I want to make these with poppy seeds..

  • Dina

    Just made these ponchiki and I am so glad I did.
    They are so good I can’t stop eating them.
    Thank you so much for sharing amazing recipes with us:)

  • canadian cowgirl

    I am teaching Story Hour at my local library for kids ages 3-12 years old and am doing a theme of Around the World. We are going to be learning about Russia next week and I thought they might like to try these. However, I’ve never fried before. I have a cupcake iron (sort of like a waffle iron!) that I can make these types of desserts in. Do you think I can use that instead of frying?

  • Pernille

    I just found your delicious recipe.
    I am to bring some russian themed goodies to a party, but will have to travel some to get there. Will these little darlings hold up for a day or do they get stale?

    • olgak7

      They won’t taste as great as fresh, but they should still be in great shape for another day:). You can absolutely make them the day before. I hope you have fun at your party. It sounds like a lot of fun. I’d love to hear how it goes.

  • Lisa

    I found that 350 was a tad too hot :-/ wonder why mine were different. Worked great on 340. My thermometer said to use 360 for doughnuts. Glad I didn’t!

  • Lena

    Hi Olga. Thank you for this recipe. Im so excited to try it:). Do you know how to get the right temp on stove? All I know is my stove does not show how hot it gets degree wise. Is that high temp , medium or in between if you had to guess?

    • olgak7

      Hello Lena. The only way to get an accurate measurement is to use a thermometer, either a candy thermometer or I use my husband’s infrared laser thermometer. Candy thermometers are very inexpensive and I use thermometers in the kitchen all the time. Without a thermometer, it’s very hard to see if the oil is hot enough or not too hot, as you already said yourself. The temperature will be influenced by the stove you are using, the size of the pot, the type of pot you are using, how many donuts you add to the oil, etc.

  • Ros

    Hi Olga, we were looking for Russian recipes to eat while watching the Russian grand prix race! We think the ponchiki are outstanding, so tasty. My daughter age 9 helped to make them and says “they are amazing, I kept coming back for more”. My son age 12 really likes them too. We also made the Belorussian cheese and potato bake, it was great too. Thanks for your recipes!

    • olgak7

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the Ponchiki, Ros. They are so addicting:). My husband and I love them.
      The cheese and potato bake is a favorite in our family too. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  • Saskia Tilou

    This look wonderful! I remember them from the old days, I plan on making some of these, just like mum used to!

    • olgak7

      I usually keep them covered at room temperature. They don’t last very long at our house, only a day or two. It really tastes best on the same day that they are made, but they can last for 3 days or so.

  • Angel Lambert

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! I homeschool my 4 sons and we have Geography Club today. This month we are studying Asia, and our family’s country was RUSSIA! I found this recipe to take to club today (since we eat our way around the world, basically), and I am pleased that the recipe is easy, quick, and delicious! I am happy to take this today!

  • Tzivia

    Olga love this ponchiki recipe was such a blast from the past for me I remember my mom’s mutual friend making these for special occasions or holidays made these today for my bff and also for my dad half are like gone we ate a lot of them used three different kinds of oils for the frying because I didn’t have enough so combined extra light tasting olive oil organic peanut oil and grapeseed oil together and wow they came out really great awesome yummm didn’t have farmer’s cheese so used ricotta cheese and wow omg my bff and I were totally blown away definitely a keeper for company and also the Jewish holiday chanukah they are also highly addictive I bet they would be really seriously awesome great with coffee or tea thanx so much for sharing hun cheers

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