Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (2024)

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (1)

When I first heard about curd cheese doughnuts I thought they sounded very strange. I had a vision of a chunk of cheddar sandwiched between two sides of a sugary ring doughnut, similar to a filled bagel. I’d been making cheesecake with cream cheese (which is really just curd cheese blended with cream) for years, so I don’t know how it was so difficult for me to get my head around. It wasn’t until I tasted one of the little fluffy delights freshly made at a farmers’ market here in Lithuania that I was sold on the idea.

Lithuanian curd cheese doughnuts are actually much easier to make than their American counterparts as they don’t use any yeast and so don’t require any time to rise. Instead, they get that wonderful airy centre from a combination of whisked egg and a little baking powder. The batter can be whipped up and ready for frying in less than 15 minutes.

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (2)

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (3)

The hardest part about making these doughnuts is probably going to be sourcing Lithuanian style curd cheese. Also known as quark in English, curd cheese comes in a variety of styles and can vary considerably from country to country. Lithuanian curd cheese is quite dry and fine. It is available in many countries in Baltic, Polish, Russian or Eastern European food stores. Look for “varškė” (Lithuanian), “twaróg” (Polish) or “biezpienu” (Latvian). It comes in a variety of packaging, from loose bags to little blocks a bit like Philadelphia cheese.

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (4)

Recognising that true Lithuanian curd cheese might not be universally available, I set to finding some alternatives. I have often seen Lithuanian curd cheese translated to English as cottage cheese but really the two are nothing similar. Cottage cheese is usually covered in a milky liquid and the pieces are quite large. That said, the tastes are similar so I decided to test the recipe using cottage cheese, strained and mashed to resemble the consistency of Lithuanian curd cheese. The results were not good. While the flavour was similar, the batter was too wet and so the balls did not hold their shape. They were also quite heavy with grease. I tried to adjust the consistency with more flour but the resultant batter was gluey and the doughnuts tough and chewy. My conclusion – cottage cheese does not work as an alternative to Lithuanian curd cheese in these doughnuts.

I asked a group of Lithuanian cooks in the US what they used as alternatives to curd cheese and suggestions included farmer’s cheese, ricotta and Spanish queso fresco. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on any of these to test them, so I can’t vouch for the results.

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (5)

Lithuanian doughnuts are much smaller than American doughnuts and are almost always round balls. They are so light and airy it is very hard to eat just one!

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos

  • Servings: 20 doughnuts
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (6)

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (7)
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A national dish of Lithuania, kugelis is a rich and hearty potato pudding. My version is made with chicken pieces, which steam inside the potato mixture, making them moist and delicious. (View recipe)

The national dish of Lithuania, cepelinai are hearty, nourishing and delicious. Written for cooks making cepelinai for the first time, this recipe includes step-by-step instructions with photos. (View recipe)

This garishly pink soup is both light and nutritious, perfect for warm sunny days or for weekday lunches when your tummy needs a little TLC. (View recipe)

These delicious dumplings are the perfect comfort food – quick to cook, mild in flavour and served with a dollop of sour cream and a salty bacon and onion topping. (View recipe)

Another of Lithuania’s national dishes, these cabbage rolls are stuffed with seasoned ground pork and served with a creamy, tangy tomato sauce. Recipe includes step-by-step photos. (View recipe)

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INGREDIENTS: For the dough: 400 g | 14 oz Lithuanian style curd cheese 50 g | 2 oz sugar 4 eggs200 g | 7 oz plain flour (all-purpose flour) 1 tsp baking powder To fry: 1 litre | 1 quart sunflower oilNote that you will need either a deep fat fryer or a sugar (candy) thermometer to perfectly fry your doughnuts. To serve: Icing sugar (powdered sugar), for dusting 
METHOD: Place the curd cheese, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Whisk together until smooth, pale and creamy – about 5 minutes. I use an electric hand mixer for this, but you could also use a stand mixer or even a hand whisk. Do not use the blade of a food processor as this will blend the ingredients but not incorporate the air required for a fluffy doughnut. Add the flour and baking powder and gently fold into the cheese mixture with a metal spoon. Attach a sugar (candy) thermometer to the side of a 2 litre (2 quart) saucepan, add the oil and heat over a high heat until the temperature reaches 170˚ C (340˚ F). If using a deep fat fryer ensure your oil is clean and has not previously been used for frying meat or other strong-tasting foods as this will alter the taste of your doughnuts. Taking 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, form the dough into small balls about the size of a golf ball or table tennis ball. This quantity of dough should make 20 40 g (1.5 oz) doughnuts. Use slightly damp hands to smooth the edges of the balls so that they form an even crust. When the oil has reached the required temperature, carefully drop your dough balls into the oil with a metal spoon. Don’t overfill the pan as the doughnuts will move about and expand while cooking. For this size saucepan I recommend no more than 4 doughnuts at a time. Cook the doughnuts for 7 minutes, ensuring the temperature of the oil does not fluctuate – adjust the heat as needed to maintain the temperature. Due to the baking powder, the doughnuts will “fizz” quite a bit and move around the pan. They will also turn themselves over several times during cooking, ensuring even cooking on both sides. (If you notice that any of your doughnuts are not flipping by themselves, just tip them over with a metal spoon.) When the doughnuts are cooked, carefully lift out of the oil with a metal spoon. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain and cool. Continue to cook the doughnuts in batches until they are all cooked. Note that the mixture keeps well in the fridge for 1-2 days, so if you prefer you can keep some dough and make a fresh batch of doughnuts another day. Allow the doughnuts to cool for at least 20 minutes before eating. This ensures that the outside is dry and crisp and the inside light and fluffy. Just before serving, dust the doughnuts generously with powdered sugar. These doughnuts are best eaten on the day they are made. However, they will keep until the next day if stored in an airtight container once fully cooled. Ideally, don’t dust them with sugar before storing, but instead dust them just before serving. When the oil has fully cooled pour it back into the bottle (or better still, into a glass bottle), close the lid tightly and save for another use.
Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe] (2024)


What is varskes spurga in english? ›

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos.

What makes doughnuts airy? ›

There's only one way to make doughnuts even softer and fluffier and that is by scalding some of the flour. Scalding is a technique used to not only make bread softer, but also to make it stay soft for longer.

What is the best flour for donuts? ›

Use real cake flour – not DIY cake flour!

DIY substitutions don't really cut it, and AP flour will not create doughnuts with that same soft texture. Also, bleached cake flour will work best. Unbleached (like King Arthur Baking) won't absorb as much moisture, and you may end up with doughnuts that crumble while frying.

What makes Krispy Kreme donuts so fluffy? ›

A batch of original glazed starts with Krispy Kreme doughnut mix, water and yeast, the same single-cell fungi used to make bread rise. The yeast is what makes the original glazed so light -- it puffs the dough up with air, so it's not dense like a cake doughnut (more on this later).

What does egg do to doughnut? ›

Eggs are also added to the dough to provide flavour, texture, and structure. The proteins in the egg coagulate when heated, which helps to set the structure of the doughnut and create a fluffy, tender texture. Finally, the leavening agent (yeast or baking powder) is added to the dough to help it rise.

What makes a doughnut fluffy? ›

But to make light and fluffy doughnuts we need a dough that is more soft and smooth. So add a little more more water to the dough and knead it once again. I added 1/2 tbsp water of extra water into the dough. As the dough contain moisture, you will find the dough to be sticky in the beginning of kneading.

What are the airy donuts called? ›

Yeast Doughnut

These doughnuts are also known as "raised doughnuts," as yeast is used as a leavener, which creates the air pockets when frying the batter that results in their signature light and airy texture. They're less likely to be crumbly, due to their spongy consistency, and can be glazed, frosted, or filled.

Why didn't my donuts puff up? ›

The liquid was too hot, or not hot enough.

It will usually tell you to use “warm” water. The water temperature should be between 110 - 115 F degrees. If your liquid is too hot (i.e. boiling) it will kill the yeast and prevent the rise. If it's not hot enough, the yeast won't have the heat needed to bloom.

Why are my homemade donuts so dense? ›

Stiff/Dense Donuts: Under proofed dough. Poke the dough, if it springs back too quickly they are under proofed and need more time. Cracked Donuts: The donuts could be under-proofed, you didn't get a clean cut on the donuts when cutting them out, or the dough was too cold.

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