Fried Cheese Balls Recipe Called Papanasi
One of the most famous Romanian desserts
- 300 g cottage cheese
- 150 g semolina
- 10 g sugar
- 10 g vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 15-20 hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp flour
- oil for frying
- your favorite jam
- a couple of tbsps double cream for serving
- Mixing bowl
- Frying pan
This fried cheese balls recipe called 'papanasi' that you are about to read about is one of the most famous Romanian desserts ever. If you enter any restaurants in my country, you have 95% chances of finding them on the menu.
Unfortunately, most of the restaurants prefer to make these, let's call them Romanian donuts, more doughy than cheesy. And that, for me, is totally unacceptable.
This is why I want to tell you how to make this classic cheese ball recipe the way my mother and grandmother used to make them for me. Plus, I added a little nutty extra for the texture, so let's see what the fuss is with dessert.
- First of all, you will need to really dry out your cheese. In Romania, we have something we simply name 'cow cheese.' This is what we normally use for this recipe. However, you can definitely use cottage cheese. But try to get as much moisture out of it as possible. You can do this using a cloth or a strainer.
- Once you have dried out your cheese, mix it with the semolina, egg, sugars, and vanilla. Stir well to combine.
- Take a tablespoon of the composition and put it in your hand. Add the hazelnut in the middle, then gently form the ball.
- Repeat the process until you finish all the mixture.
- Heat up the frying oil.
- Take each ball and gently roll it on the all-purpose flour, then fry it in the hot oil for a minute or two on each side or until they become golden brown.
- They are best served while hot.
- Plate them and top them with your favorite jam and some double cream.
When it comes to Romanian cakes, I can't say we have many traditional ones. However, we do have traditional desserts such as our sweet bread known as 'cozonac,' our many pie recipes, and of course these papanasi.
If you want to stay away from fried food, you can also boil them. The process is the same up to the actual cooking moment.
To make boiled papanasi, just bring a pot of water to a boil, turn the heat down and add them to the hot water. When they have risen to the surface, they are ready. Take them out and coat them in some roasted breadcrumbs. In the end, they should look something like this.
I personally prefer the fried version better, but you can try them both and let me know what you think.
* The most common jam used to serve this dessert is a blueberry jam. Even so, I do prefer a cherry or a sour cherry one.
** You can try making them with ricotta cheese as well. They won't taste as traditional, but I am sure they will be very good.
*** Don't forget to tag us on Instagram when making this dish.
Nutrition Facts / Serving
- Calories 487
- Total Fat 27 g
- Cholesterol 63 mg
- Sodium 370 mg
- Potassium 65 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 46 g
- Sugars 21 g
- Protein 15 g