Allow me to take you on a nostalgic journey, back to the cozy Sundays of my childhood, when the sun would cast a warm, golden glow through the kitchen window. Those were the days when the scent of something extraordinary would permeate the air, and I knew without a doubt it was going to be a special Sunday treat.

My Nan, the guardian of our family’s culinary traditions, would step into the kitchen early in the morning, her apron neatly tied, and a sparkle in her eyes that could rival the sun itself. As I watched her, I knew I was about to witness a masterpiece in the making – her beloved Traditional Romanian Papanasi.

The ritual would begin with the cottage cheese, the heart of the recipe, handpicked to be the best by my Nan herself. With unwavering care, she would blend it with the other ingredients, each measured to perfection. The whisking, mixing, and kneading were like a symphony, creating a dough that was soft, yet slightly sticky, as it should be.

As the dough transformed into small doughnut-shaped patties, my Nan’s nimble fingers worked their magic, pressing each one with a thumb to create that distinctive central well, ready to embrace the blueberry conserve. These were the trademark touches of a recipe passed down through generations, and my heart swelled with pride to be part of it.

The next phase was the fryer, bubbling with anticipation, as the papanasi gently sizzled to golden perfection. The kitchen filled with a heavenly aroma, a testament to my Nan’s culinary prowess. I couldn’t help but sneak a peek at the frying pan, and her laughter echoed in the room, as she knew her little apprentice couldn’t resist the temptation.

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Traditional Romanian Papanasi - Romanian Delights

And then, the grand finale – assembling the papanasi. The blueberry conserve, deep and luscious, nestled into the center of each papanas, offering a burst of fruity delight. A final dusting of icing sugar, and they were ready, a culinary masterpiece ready to be devoured.

Those Sunday mornings were a symphony of tastes, emotions, and shared love, as we savoured each papanas together. The delicate creaminess of the cottage cheese, the tang of the blueberry conserve, and the sweetness of the icing sugar were a sensory delight.

To complete the experience, we would serve them with a dollop of sour cream, adding a rich and tangy contrast to the sweet and fruity delight. My Nan’s Traditional Romanian Papanasi were more than just a culinary tradition; they were a legacy of love, passed down through generations. Food wasn’t just sustenance; it was a journey through time and a way to connect with our roots. Today, I’m thrilled to share this cherished recipe with you, with the hope that it will fill your heart and home with the same warmth and nostalgia it has brought to mine for so many special Sundays.

Traditional Romanian Papanasi (Cottage Cheese Donuts) with Blueberry Conserve

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes



    For the Papanasi Dough:

    • 250 g of cottage cheese traditional Romanian cottage cheese is ideal
    • 1 large egg
    • 50 g of caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
    • 250 g of self-raising flour
    • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • Oil for frying

    For the Toppings:

    • 200 g of blueberry conserve
    • 200 g of sour cream or Greek yogurt
    • Icing sugar for dusting



      Prepare the Papanasi Dough:

      • a. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, egg, caster sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined.
      • b. In a separate bowl, whisk together the self-raising flour and baking powder.
      • c. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the cottage cheese mixture, mixing until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms.
      • d. Add the lemon zest and continue to mix until incorporated.

      Shape the Papanasi:

      • a. Lightly flour your hands to prevent sticking. Take small portions of the dough and roll them into balls, then flatten them slightly to create doughnut-shaped patties. Each papanas should be about 5-7 centimeters in diameter.
      • b. Use your thumb to create a small indentation in the center of each papanas. This is where you’ll place the blueberry conserve later.

      Fry the Papanasi:

      • a. Heat oil in a deep frying pan or a deep fryer to 175°C.
      • b. Carefully add the papanasi to the hot oil, frying them in batches. Cook until they turn golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
      • c. Remove the papanasi using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil.

      Assemble the Papanasi:

      • a. While the papanasi are still warm, fill the center indentation with a dollop of blueberry conserve, allowing the warm donuts to absorb some of the fruity goodness.
      • b. Dust the papanasi with icing sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.

      Serve the Traditional Romanian Papanasi:

      • a. Serve the papanasi while they are still warm, with a generous spoonful of sour cream or Greek yogurt on top.
      • b. Enjoy the delicious combination of creamy cottage cheese donuts with the fruity burst of blueberry conserve. These papanasi are best enjoyed fresh and warm.


      Indulge in the sweet, creamy, and utterly delightful experience of traditional Romanian Papanasi with blueberry conserve, and savour a taste of Romania’s culinary heritage.