m. c. de marco: The New Kitchen Cookbook

Ricotta Ponchiki (Russian Doughnuts)

This recipe is adapted from an online recipe for ponchiki. They usually call for “farmer’s cheese,” while describing something entirely unlike what’s sold as farmer’s cheese in the US. Rather than strain my cottage cheese, I went for a ricotta version, somewhat cut down and otherwise adulterated.

Makes 24–48 doughnut holes, depending on size.



  • 1 ⅓ c. ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ c. sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅙ c. flour
  • ½ T (1 ½ tsp) baking powder
  • dash salt


  • oil for frying
  • granulated or confectioner’s sugar for dusting


  1. Heat 4 inches of oil to 375°F.
  2. Mix wet and dry dough ingredients separately, optionally putting the wet ones into a small stand mixer at medium speed.
  3. Add dry ingredients gradually.
  4. Scoop into the oil with a small portion scoop or two table spoons.
  5. Fry up to 2 minutes per side (turning over halfway through if they don’t turn themselves) until brown. Keep the oil at 325°–350°F while cooking.
  6. Return oil to 375°F between batches.
  7. Drain on or over paper towels.
  8. Dust with sugar.

These can be served cool but should be eaten within two days.


Farmers cheese and cottage cheese are options, though the former is drier and the latter wetter so the recipe needs adjusting.

I couldn’t resist adding a dash of pumpkin pie spice mix. Presumably you could add a larger quantity of cinnamon or another pie spice to the dough.