European Doughnuts (Gogosi, Paczki, Beignets, Berliner)

These doughnuts are a traditional Romanian dessert better known in the US as Paczki. I guess each European country has it’s recipe and they are all delicious; I’ve tasted them as paczki, beignets, berliner. When I bite into one I can see myself in my grandmother’s kitchen waiting for them to be ready so I can indulge.  They are best when served warm and nothing beats a home-made doughnut.

If you have them plain, the way you tell they came out right is that they have a big air pocket inside and I remember always asking my grandmother how do they come out with that air pocket inside. The answer was always the same – The air pocket comes with the age. The truth is, there is probably no grandmother in Romania that does not master this recipe, so I really trust my grandma is correct.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups flour (4 to start the dough and 2 extra for kneading and when rolling the dough)
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • ¼ cups melted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 TBS dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 TBSP rum
  • 1 TBS oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 1/2 cups sparkling water
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • oil for frying the doughnuts
  • Confectioner’s sugar to dust the doughnuts
  • Optional for Paczki and Berliners – jam, nutella

Preparation:

  • In a bowl mix the yeast with 2-3 TBS flour and 1/2 cups warm milk, set aside to rise (1)
  • Using an electric mixer combine the egg yolks, salt, and sugar (2)
  • Add (1) and (2) mixtures over 4 cups of flour and start kneading the dough, add the rest of the milk gradually. Add the vanilla and sparkling water. Keep kneading the dough for 2-3 minutes until everything is well combined. (you can also use an electric mixer with the hook attachment to knead)
  • Add the melted butter, the oil,  lemon zest and rum and knead the dough until everything is incorporated
  • Make the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl (use more flour if it’s too sticky), Dust flour over the dough, cover it and let it rise for about 1 hour
  • Once it doubled its size, punch it down and knead the dough for a couple more minutes
  • Roll the dough in a ½” thick sheet
  • Take a glass or a large round cookie cutter and cut the dough in round shapes
  • Heat oil and fry the doughnuts until golden on each side (frying should be done over low-medium heat so the doughnuts don’t burn)
  • Drain on paper towel and dust with confectioner’s sugar

Optional you can fill the doughnuts with jam or nutella. To fill them you poke a hole on the side and pipe the jam or nutell inside.

ENJOY warm!

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