Light and airy donuts made with farmer’s cheese, the traditional Polish oponki are popular for Fat Thursday! Easy to make in just 10 minutes, they’re perfect for a quick snack!
What Are Oponki?
You can’t have Tłusty Czwartek in Poland without seeing some form of donuts. Apart from the traditional paczki which are donuts filled with custard or jam, we also make the regional pączki like Silesian donuts or oponki.
Oponki are made with a dough of farmer’s cheese or twarog, these ring-shaped donuts look like American donuts, but are light and fluffly inside. They are also called oponki serowe sometimes because they are made with cheese.
Did you know that in the early 1900s you could buy donuts at street corners on Fat Thursday? The sellers with their wicker baskets would wait at the Kercelak Market near the current day Okopowa Street. They didn’t have food stalls, just baskets full of fresh donuts to sell!
The first cookbook that has a recipe for donuts is from England in the 1803. But even before that, paczki donuts have been eaten since the Middle Ages, and some versions were made with pork scratchings.
German donuts from the 15th century were made with meat. Arabian donuts from Medieval times were coated with sugar. Before that, the Greeks and Romans made donuts and coated them with honey.
Donuts have been around in many cultures for centuries; so when these cheese donuts were invented is anybody’s guess!
Polish Farmer’s Cheese Donuts: How To Make Oponki?
Oponki donuts are a lot easier and quicker to make than paczki. You simply mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough.
At the same time, start heating some oil in a large pot.
Roll the oponki dough to about one cm thickness. Use glasses or cookie cutters to cut holes in the dough. Reroll the dough from the centers to make more oponki.
Once the oil is hot, fry the cheese donuts on both sides for a few minutes. Remove the oponki with a sieve and allow to drain on paper-towel-lined plates.
Sprinkle the tasty oponki with icing sugar and serve!
Tips For Making Polish Cheese Donuts Tastier!
- Collect the centers of the donuts to the side and reroll them later to make more oponki.
- Use this recipe to make your own farmer’s cheese!
- Add a little vodka or vinegar to the dough so that less oil is absorbed.
- If the dough is too wet and sticks to your hands, add a bit more flour.
- Add spinach if you want healthier oponki!
- Make sure the frying pan is deep enough for the donuts to float and not touch the bottom.
- If you don’t want to use round cookie cutters, use shot glasses to make the center holes!
Polish Oponki Recipe: FAQs
How To Pronounce Oponki?
Oponki is pronounced o-pawn-kee.
What Does Oponki Mean?
Oponki literally translates to ‘little tires’.
Can I Add Flavor To Oponki?
Traditionally, oponki are made simply with sprinkled sugar. But you can add flavor if you want to. You can add lemon zest, orange zest, or vanilla extract to the Dough.
Or you can add any of the following toppings:
- Glazed sugar
- Chocolate glaze
- Lemon curd
- Raspberry sauce
What Other Dishes Are Served On Fat Thursday?
How To Serve Oponki?
These cheese donuts can be served hot or cold. It’s up to you!
How To Store Oponki?
Store the donuts in an airtight container on the countertop for 4 to 5 days. You can reheat the donuts before serving. Wait till just before serving to add the sugar!
Polish Cheese Donuts Oponki Recipe
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of farmer's cheese
- 2 ½ tbsp of sugar
- 4 ½ tbsp of butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 4-6 cups of oil to fry
- icing sugar to sprinkle on the oponki
- Mix all the ingredients for the dough together until you get a smooth consistency.
- In the meantime, start heating up the oil in a wok or a wide pot.
- When the dough is ready, roll it out to ½ inch (1 cm) thickness.
- Use a round cookie cutter or a big glass to cut the circles from the dough.
- Use a shot glass to cut the small holes in the middle of each circle.
- Check if your oil is hot enough by throwing a small piece of dough into it. If it rises straight up to the surface, it's ready to fry.
- Gently throw the oponki into the oil.
- Fry them for 1-2 minutes on each side.
- After frying, place the oponki on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Sprinkle the oponki with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold!
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