Lithuanians (and Poles) Love Donuts

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Perhaps because we were once a “United Kingdom”,  Lithuanians and Poles both love donuts (spurgos), especially before Lent begins. In Poland the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday is celebrated as Fat Thursday, and donuts are the main culinary feature. Lithuanians celebrate on Pancake Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, and donuts are also popular.

Apparently Poles eat at least one and a half donuts each on Fat Thursday. The donuts are not the North American softies, often with a hole as in a bagel, but crispier and darker, with a plum or apricot filling, and a sprinkling of icing sugar on top. Apparently the tradition goes back to the 16th century. By the 1800’s, a Polish historian (Jędrzej Kitowicz) wrote about “modern” light and fluffy donuts which were unlike “old-fashioned” ones which were so hard that they would leave a mark on your face if you were hit with one.

Here is one a recipes from bernardinai.lt. If you have a good one, please share it with us at [email protected]! We will gladly post it and give it a try. This is a European recipe, so ingredients are in metric. The cottage cheese should be the drier kind, in a package, not a plastic tub.

 

Spurgytės (Little Donuts)

Makes about 30 small donuts.

Ingredients:

180 g  cottage cheese

1 large egg

100 g flour

50 g sugar

Dash of salt

15 g vanilla sugar

3 g baking soda

5 g vinegar

1 litre of oil for frying

Beat egg, sugar, salt and vanilla sugar with a mixer. Add cottage cheese and beat again. Weigh out the flour. Take the baking soda, add the vinegar and add to the dough. Immediately add the flour and beat once more. Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a pot. Grease hands and form walnut-sized balls, deep-fry until golden brown. Add a slice of potato to the oil to keep the donuts from absorbing too much oil. Once they cool, sprinkle them with icing sugar.

 

Mom’s Spurgos with Yeast

Ingredients:

½ cup milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 packages dry yeast (8 g each)

½ cup warm water (105-115oF)

3 egg yolks, beaten

3 ¾ cups all purpose flour, sifted

Jam of preferred type

In a large bowl dissolve the yeat in warm water, let stand for 5 minutes. Add milk, butter and beaten yolks to yeast mixture. Combine flour, sugar and salt, stir well. Gradually stir flour mixture into yeast mixture. Dough will be soft. Turn dough into well-greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place, allow to rise until doubled. Punch down dough, turn out onto lightly-floured board, knead until smooth. With a rolling pin, roll half the dough about ¼ inch thick. Cut out 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter or glass rim. Place 1 teaspoon of jam in the centre of each round. Brush the edge with lightly beaten egg white and then top with another round. Press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.

Cover donuts with a dishcloth and allow to rise until doubled. Meanwhile, heat 2 inches of oil in a pot or deep fryer to 350 oF. Drop the donuts to the hot oil, and fry, turning gently, until golden brown – about 4 minutes. Lift out and place on paper towels to drain. Makes about 14.