Pampushky – Ukrainian Donuts with poppy seed and raisin filling

Pampushky dusted with icing sugar - one sliced in half to show the poppy seed and raisin filling

Pampushky are a traditional Christmas dessert. Starting with a bread dough, they are deliciously filled with poppy seeds and dried fruit and deep fried.  My grandmother used to make prune pampushky.   But, here I’m making poppy seed and raisin filling.

It’s a recipe that only uses the Instant Pot for the rising for the yeast dough.  You can also put the dough in a warm place – like an oven.  But, this is not a quick recipe.

Jump straight to the recipe

Start with the yeast.  I’ve halved the completed recipe because it made an overwhelming amount of dough.  By making half of this massive recipe, you can proof the dough in the Instant Pot.  This last Christmas Eve, I made a double recipe and so these photos show dough proofing in a massive bowl.

Combining the yeast, sugar and water with a whisk

Dissolve the traditional yeast in warm water that’s between 105°F and 110°F (40°C and 43°C).  Mix 1 package of traditional yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons) with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 Tablespoons of warm water.

The bubbling mass of the yeast

After about 10 minutes, the yeast should be bubbling. If it’s not, stop now and check your yeast. Add ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour and ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water.

Adding the flour and additional warm water

Beat until smooth. Let this bubble again.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs, sugar, oil and salt until light and fluffy.  If you have a stand mixer, the whisk attachment is the thing to use.  Add the yeast mixture when it’s ready along with the lemon rind, vanilla and 1 cup of flour.

Switch to the dough hook or knead the remaining flour until it’s smooth.  If you’re kneading by hand, it’s easiest to do this in a large bowl in the sink.  The angle will help.

After kneading in the bowl, the ball of dough is smooth

Leave the dough to rise in an oiled bowl. If you’re using the Instant Pot, insert the wire rack and place the dough on a piece of oiled parchment paper that fills the inside of the pot. Set the pot to the Yogurt setting on Low. For proofing dough, I use the glass lid to keep and eye on the action. If you’re using the pressure cooking lid, make sure it’s set to vent.

While the dough is rising, get the filling ready.  Take ½ cup of poppy seeds and pour boiling water over them to cover.  Separately soak ½ cup of raisins in boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Poppy seeds in a BlendTec food grinder

Grind the poppy seeds in a blender along with ¼ cup of honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, 1 egg white, and ½ cup of toasted almonds.  Remove from the blender and add the soaked raisins.  Adjust the sweetness and set aside until you’re ready to fill.

Punching down the dough after the first rise

Once it’s risen to twice its size, punch down the dough and start again. After it’s risen again, punch it down again and start to roll it out.

Rolling out the dough with a rolling pin

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into no specific shape.

The rolled out dough - less than about ¼ inch thick

You’ll want the dough about a quarter of an inch thin.  After cutting out the circles of dough, you’ll be able to press the dough a little thinner as well.

Cutting the dough out using a 3-inch round cutter

 

After cutting out a small circle, you’ll pat the circle.  Add one teaspoon of the filling into the middle of the dough.

Placing the filling in the center of the dough leaving ¼ inch around the edge

There should be a dough border around the filling.  Poppy seeds tend to get everywhere so this is sometimes difficult.

Pinching the dough at the top like a tacoSeal the edge by making the border damp with some water.  I fold the dough in half and seal into a bread-like perogy.  But, you can also make filled balls. Line them up as they’re finished on a cookie sheet so they can rise again for a third time.

After a second rise the dough separatesI find it’s easier to make these things one at a time.  If you cut out all of the dough circles in one go, the dough expands and rises to fill in the slices.  After this last rise, these things may pop open (like the example above).  Just pinch the edges together again before you’re ready to fry.

Re-pinched pampushky read to be fried Heat the oil in your deep fryer or a heavy pot with a candy/deep fryer thermometer.  Slowly bring up the oil to 350°F.

Heating oil in a pot. The thermometer shows the oil temperature is around 250°FDrop in a test pampushky first.

Frying the pampushky on the first sideWhen the edge starts to brown, flip!

Frying the pampushky on the other side. The browned side is up.

This goes quickly.  I’m sure you could also try an air fryer but it’s not in my own arsenal.  Leave them to cool and drain on paper towels.

Time saved

  • This recipe is basically the same amount of time you’d spend on the traditional recipe.Finished pampushky draining on paper towels

Special equipment

  • Stand mixer with whisk attachment and dough hook (optional)
  • Deep frying / candy thermometer.  It’s also used to check the temperature of the water for proofing the yeast
  • Large bowl
  • Parchment paper if you’re doing the proofing in the Instant Pot
  • Wire rack insert for the Instant Pot if you’re proofing the dough in the Instant Pot
  • Dish towels
  • Cookie sheets
  • Heavy pot for deep frying or a deep fryer
  • Paper towels for draining

Finished pampushky dusted with icing sugar and one sliced open to show the poppy seed filling

Pampushky - Ukrainian Donuts with Poppy Seed Filling

Rating 

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Total time: 

Serves: 36

Pampushky are filled Ukrainian donuts with a sweet yeast dough filled with poppy seeds and raisins.
Ingredients
Dough
  • 1 package traditional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons warm water (between)
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon (save 1 teaspoon for the filling)
  • 1 cup icing sugar (optional)
Filling
  • 1 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ toasted almonds or walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Dissolve the yeast package with 1 teaspoon of sugar and ¼ cup warm water that's between 105°F and 110°F (40°C and 43°C)
  2. After about 10 minutes, the yeast should be bubbling. If it’s not, stop now and check your yeast. Add ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour and ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons warm water.
  3. Beat until smooth. Let this bubble again. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, sugar, oil and salt until light and fluffy. If you have a stand mixer, the whisk attachment is the thing to use. Add the yeast mixture when it’s ready along with the lemon rind, vanilla and 1 cup of flour.
  4. Switch to the dough hook or knead the remaining flour until it’s smooth. If you’re kneading by hand, it’s easiest to do this in a large bowl in the sink.
  5. Leave the dough to rise in an oiled bowl. If you’re using the Instant Pot, insert the wire rack and place the dough on a piece of oiled parchment paper that fills the inside of the pot with the lid set to Vent. Set the pot to the Yogurt setting on Low.
  6. While the dough is rising, get the filling ready. Take ½ cup of poppy seeds and pour boiling water over them to cover. Separately soak ½ cup of raisins in boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  7. Grind the poppy seeds in a blender along with ¼ cup of honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon rind, 1 egg white, and ½ cup of toasted almonds. Remove from the blender and add the soaked raisins. Adjust the sweetness and set aside until you’re ready to fill.
  8. Once it’s risen to twice its size, punch down the dough and start again.
  9. After it’s risen again, punch it down again and start to roll it out.
  10. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out circles of dough with a cookie cutter.
  11. Press the dough slightly to thin in your hand. Fill with 1 teaspoon of filling and a few raisins leaving an edge. Seal with water and arrange on a cookie sheet to rise once again. Cover with a dish towel.
  12. Heat the oil in your deep fryer or a heavy pot with a candy/deep fryer thermometer. Slowly bring up the vegetable oil to 350°F.
  13. Seal the pampushy again if they've separated and drop into the hot oil until the edge browns. Flip.
  14. Drain on paper towels and dust with icing sugar.

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