Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Fritters

This afternoon my friend and I made New Year's fritters (Portselkje) by Jennie Jost Duerksen from Mennonite Foods And Folkways From South Russia, Volume 1 cookbook.  These oddly shaped fried balls of dough are the perfect way to celebrate the New Year, like funnel cake, but better.  It is a perfect treat to make with a friend, one fries and the other one sprinkles the fritters with sugar.  These fritters are extra delicious served warm and best the same day, but I have toasted them up in the oven the next morning and they are still good.

Ingredients for New Year's Fritters (Portselkje), based off of Mennonite Foods and Folkways From South Russia, Volume 1:

-2 cups whole milk
-1/3 cup unsalted butter
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 tablespoon active dry yeast
-1/2 cup lukewarm water
-6 large eggs
-1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for yeast
-4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
-3 cups plumped raisins
-Vegetable oil for frying (a lot)

Begin by heating milk, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan, over medium heat.  Heat until butter is melted and is very warm.  Let cool until lukewarm.
Meanwhile, combine yeast, sugar, and water.  Stir briskly, and allow to stand until yeast is bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until frothy.  Add 1/3 cup sugar gradually and continue beating until thick and lemon-colored.  Add cooled milk and yeast mixtures.  In small additions, add the flour and beat well.  After all the flour is combines, add the raisins.  Cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and set in warm place until the batter has doubled in bulk (about an hour).
Stir down batter, and cover and let rise again (about an hour).  This makes a lighter fritter.
Place about 4 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy pot.  We used a dutch oven.  Bring oil to 300 degrees F.  Using a tablespoon, gently drop the batter into the hot oil.  Fry until lightly browned, and then turn and brown the other side.
Remove from oil and let dry on a wire rack, with baking sheet underneath to catch excess oil.  Roll in sugar while fritter is still warm.  I like them without sugar too :)
Happy New Year everyone!  Click here to learn how to make Two-Hour Nut Rolls, another Russian tradition.


  1. Jennie Jost Duerksen is my grandmother! She is now 91 years old and an amazing woman! I told her I found this online and she was SO excited! She has made these treats for our (huge) family all our lives... and I can tell you... they are AMAZING!!! Enjoy them! Grandma would be happy to know how you enjoy them! Sincerely, Tanya Duerksen

  2. How wonderful to find this recipe! I was at the Mennonite Relief Sale yesterday, and this is always one of my favorite things to buy. Now I don't have to wait a year. The only difference I can see is that they used currants in their fritters instead of raisins.