Here’s what I promised in the previous post – a recipe for šišky (shishki) or mini-doughnuts. They are typically prepared on or around Shrove Tuesday, but we in Slovakia like to eat them all year round. I wonder if there is another country in the world that associates the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with doughnuts. Let me know if you do …
Makes 28 (depending on the cutter size)
300 g plain flour (plain wheat can be combined with wholemeal one in a desired ratio)
200 ml milk
30 g fresh yeast
1 tablespoon oil
a pinch of salt
jam (ideally home-made)
oil for frying
Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make sure you stir it well into the flour, so the yeast doesn’t come in direct contact with the yeast at the next stage.
Heat the milk in a heatproof mug over a low heat until warm. Add a little sugar to the warm milk and stir well. Transfer half of the milk into a glass. Between the tips of your fingers, crumble the yeast into the glass. Stir well until the yeast dissolves. Add a pinch of flour to kick-start fermentation. Cover the glass and leave it in a warm place.
When the yeast rises up to the brim, pour all the contents of the glass onto the flour. Add the remaining warm/lukewarm milk and the oil. Knead by hand until smooth. Pour in a little warm water, if needed, to make a dough of medium thickness. Cover and leave to stand in a warm place for an hour.
When the dough has risen, transfer it on a floured rolling board. Roll it out until it is 1 cm thick. Pat the dough with some more flour if it starts sticking to either your fingers or the board. With round pastry cutters, cut out shishki and leave them to rest on the board for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour the oil in a frying pan and heat over a medium heat. When the shishki have risen, gently press a little hole in the middle of each one with your finger. One by one, put them in the hot oil and fry from both sides until golden brown. Take them out and place on a napkin or kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.
Transfer into a bowl. Serve warm with a dollop of jam in the hole on top of each shishka.
I used my own bilberry jam made from hand-picked bilberries that grow in our forests in the summer – yummy!
An older Slovak name for šišky (shishki) is pampúšky (pampooshki). There is, or better still, there WAS a difference between the two friends. According to old Slovak cookbooks, pampooshki were larger (the size of today’s doughnuts), and shishki smaller, which is why I have dubbed them mini-doughnuts.
Anyway, if you want to get hold of doughnuts in Slovakia these days, ask or look for šišky (shishki). They are sold under this name in some supermarkets or small deli-shops.