Romanian Desserts

Warning: The following article is dangerously delicious!
It’s been a while since we posted a recipe on our blog so we thought it might be the right time to talk a little about the Romanian cuisine.
There are many traditional recipes handed down from generation to generation in Romania: each and every region of this country has their own recipes with specific ingredients and unique cooking style. Yet, you will see that there are many influences coming from neighboring nations, so if you visit the Danube Delta region, for example, you will have the opportunity to taste one of the best fish soups (chorba) ever; in Moldova you will be served the traditional Moldavian meatballs (parjoale) and cheese pie (poale-n brau), while a nice bottle of apple brandy (palinca) might be the most wanted souvenir from Maramures.
Today we thought we would share some very tasty and easy to prepare dessert recipes that you can try in just about any Romanian restaurant. Anyway, before you go on searching for one, you might want to try the following recipes in your own kitchen and tell us what you think.

Cottage Cheese Donuts With Sour Cream and Jam (Papanasi)


Cottage Cheese Donuts With Sour Cream and Jam (Papanasi) - photo by Fotoconcerte

This is a traditional Moldavian recipe, but every region of Romania has its own version for this dessert.
To prepare 8 portions of Papanasi you need the following ingredients: 500 g of cottage cheese, 200 g of flour, 2 eggs, 100 g of sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla sugar and the zest from 1/2 lemon. Mix these ingredients (make sure to mix the baking powder with the lemon juice first) until you get a soft dough that would not stick to your hands. Using a spoon, form 8 pieces of dough and then roll each one of them until they take the shape of a disc, about 1 cm thick; make a hole in the middle of each disc and use the extra dough to form another 8, smaller, round-shaped pieces. The 16 pieces of dough will be fried in hot cooking oil for about 5-6 minutes, until they get a golden-brown color. At the end of this process you will have eight large donuts and eight small ones. Let them cool for a few minutes, then put each small donut on top of a large one and add sour cream and jam (you will need 300 g of sour cream and 200 g of jam for the eight servings). There you have it: 8 super delicious Papanasi!

Cheese Pie With Raisins

Cheese Pie

Cheese Pie With Raisins - photo by Sara & Mike

This is an easy recipe, and probably the most popular Romanian dessert.
For this recipe you will need two sheets of dough and a mixture consisting of 500 g of cow cheese (telemea), 300 g of cottage cheese, 5 eggs, a cup of raisins, 100 g of sugar, 1 table spoon of vanilla sugar and the zest from 1/2 lemon or orange.
To get the two sheets of dough you will need: 400 g of flour, 250 g of margarine, 200 g of yogurt, 1 table spoon of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix these ingredients until you get a soft dough and let cool several hours or overnight. Cut the dough in half and roll both pieces until you get two sheets. Butter a cooking pan lightly and place the first sheet of dough, pour the mixture you have prepared earlier, then place the other sheet of dough. An alternative is to fill each sheet with the mixture and then roll them up. The pie is baked in the oven for approximately one hour, until it gets a golden-brown color and served with a glass of white wine.

Romanian Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Apple Cake - photo by ComeUndone

A tasty and refreshing dessert (and one of our favorites, too).
First, you’ll need 3 peeled and cored apples. Fill them with a mixture of jam and chopped nuts and place them in a lightly buttered pane. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon on top of them, then bake the apples in the oven for 30 minutes.
For the cake dough you need: 8 eggs, 500 g of flour, 250 g of sugar, a pinch of orange zest, one tablespoon of vanilla sugar. Mix these ingredients until you get a soft dough, place it over the baked apples and put them in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the cake from oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, there’s one more secret ingredient you have to add: the sweet syrup that you pour over the cake. To do this you need 300 ml of water, 3 tablespoons of sugar, few drops of vanilla extract, one tablespoon of orange juice and another pinch of orange zest – the mixture is heated to a simmer, stirring until the sugar melts.
Pour the syrup over the cake, cover with whipped cream and a few thin slices of apple. Bon appetit!

We would love to know your oppinion about these recipes or any other Romanian dishes you’ve tried, so go ahead and start the discussion here.

*Photo credits: Fotoconcerte, Sara & Mike, ComeUndone

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7 Responses to “Romanian Desserts”

  1. Abby says:


  2. Oh gosh, I can’t decide which one looks best! I also now have a hankering for meatballs and apple brandy, thanks 🙂

    • Adrian B. says:

      Thanks, Debbie 🙂 Maybe you should look for a Romanian restaurant near you and ask for parjoale and palinca, or better yet, come to Romania sometime, if you haven’t yet – there are tens of other delicious traditional dishes you will want to try, not to mention the wonderful scenery: Romania has so much to offer when it comes to natural attractions.

  3. […] popular post: Romanian Desserts – we shared some traditional dessert recipes from our home contry and we were very happy […]

  4. cheese pie?! cottage cheese donuts?! i’ve never given much thought to visit romania, but i think i’ve just found two reasons to take a trip there one day. sounds like they’d be good with coffee. mmm.

    • Adrian B. says:

      Thanks, Mack.
      Romania has a delicious cuisine and this could be a great reson to take a trip to our country, but don’t forget about the natural attractions: this country has the most various landforms in this part of Europe – everything from sea, lakes, deltas and lowlands to hills and wonderful mountain landscapes. The natural reserves and historical sites are also great places to start.

  5. […] with honey and walnuts (clatite cu miere si nuci), but being a fickle customer I may switch for the traditional doughtnuts (papanasi) when I […]

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