Exotic recipes: PAPANASI from Transylvania

I’ve been often told that readers get food cravings when reading my books. That’s because, being a huge gourmand and cook, I always feed my characters well. 🙂 So I decided that, from time to time, I will share some of best my recipes with all of you.

PapanasiPAPANASI is one of the best-known Romanian traditional recipes, a delicious dessert that can also be served as a snack. It’s quite easy to prepare and tastes absolutely divine. Here’s what you need to prepare this excellent dish:

  • one pound dry cow cheese
  • one cup flour
  • one cup of sour cream
  • three eggs
  • two spoons of sugar

We shred the cheese, then mix it with the sour cream and yolks. We beat the whites and add them to the mix, then we add the flour. We mix everything together with a spoon. We heat oil in the frying pan, then we shape the papanasi dough with damp hands and fry them at medium heat.

We take the papanasi out on paper towels, so the extra oil can dry. Then we serve them with powdered sugar, sour cream and jam/marmalade.

Enjoy! ❤

This recipe is encountered in my first book in the Coriola Series, A French Kiss in London. Here’s an excerpt when Linda and Gerard arrive in Romania—Transylvania, to be more precise—and they stop at a restaurant to eat. Not speaking a word of Romanian, they order randomly, but only one of them gets to enjoy the game. 🙂


The highway was quite crowded, so Gerard kept the speed to a reasonable limit, taking advantage to admire some of the scenery. As he’d expected, Romania was an extremely beautiful country, with every landform possible. The road began at lowlands level. When they weren’t crossing villages or towns, on both sides of the road they saw large fields of corn, sunflower, wheat, and other plants they couldn’t identify.A French Kiss in London

They had the feeling they hovered in an ocean of green under the clear sky. They stopped by the roadside to admire the magnificent fields and to move their numb muscles. The air was much cleaner than in London and had a special fragrance. Every breeze carried a scent of freshly mown grass.

They resumed their journey. The freeway was sprinkled with curves—the more so as the altitude grew and they entered the hills area. They both yawned and gulped to release the pressure in their ears.

After another hour, Linda spotted a sign that read RESTAURANT—a word whose meaning was unmistakable. She quickly urged him to pull over.

“I’m starving!” she exclaimed.

“Me too, darling, but you forget we can’t even read the menu,” he pointed out, but slowed down anyway and pulled into the almost-empty parking lot. They climbed out of the car and stretched luxuriously.

“We’ll figure it out.”

They headed toward the long building, which had the rustic look of a large cabin. The air smelled of pine and mountains.

The restaurant’s interior was dimly lit and cool. Everything smelled of wood and delicious food. Only two tables were occupied—one by a young couple who spoke to each other in tender whispers, and the other by three red-faced old men, who had several bottles and glasses in front of them and were chatting loudly.

Gerard and Linda sat at a table near a window, which revealed a breathtaking view—a heavily-forested valley where a few huts peeked here and there from the deep green, their wooden roofs almost swallowed by the surrounding vegetation.

A thin waiter came to bring their menus. When he concluded they were tourists and didn’t speak a single word of Romanian, the young man shrugged, helpless. He didn’t understand English, nor Gerard’s French. Linda opened the menu randomly. Everything seemed written in Sanskrit. She chose something called sarmale cu mamaliga. From the section DESSERT—another word she thought she understood—she chose papanasi.

Gerard burst out laughing. Entering her game, he also chose something randomly, indicating to the waiter what he wanted—ciorba de burta.

The young man watched them dubiously, said something that could mean anything, then left.

“I’d say I hope you know what you’re doing,” Gerard said, “but I know you haven’t a clue.”

“Come on, live a little! It’s a restaurant, so everything must be edible.”

Shortly, their food arrived. Linda had on her plate three rolls made from sour cabbage leafs, filled with minced meat. Next to them was a pile of yellowish paste, which she said was delicious.

Gerard wasn’t too excited about his food.

“It looks like baby-puke,” he told her grimacing and shuffled his spoon into the bowl filled with a white-yellowish liquid, into which were floating pieces of meat. Its origin was a mystery and he preferred it to remain that way.

Linda scrutinized his food. She smelled it, then took a spoonful.

“Mmm, it’s delicious! Granted, it’s not as good as mine, but it’s not bad. It doesn’t resemble anything I’ve tasted in my life. Here, try it!”

He took a few testing sips, then began eating more enthusiastically. Still, after tasting her food, he declared she’d gotten the better bargain.

Dessert met with mad success. They both showed their appreciation to the waiter by using signs, and made him look extremely pleased. Papanasi were some kind of fried donuts made from cheese, served with jam and sour cream. Linda noted down the names of all the dishes they had, with every intention of looking up the recipes and learning to cook them. When the waiter brought their bill, Gerard congratulated her because she had a considerable amount of Romanian leis. She’d made the exchange near the car rental center, since payments in Euros were not accepted everywhere.

Full and rested, they climbed once again into the Jeep and resumed their journey to the smoky peaks of majestic mountains, which filled the horizon.

The road had cleared some and the view was spectacular. Gerard peered into the distance at the forested ridges, which seemed to support rolls of blue and yellow clouds. Turning his head to glance at Linda, he noticed her eyes were closed. She had dozed off, probably rocked by the car’s motion and by the radio playing in the background.

If you have enjoyed this sample, you can buy the book from Amazon, or read it FREE on Kindle Unlimited: http://www.amazon.com/French-Kiss-London-Melinda-Ross-ebook/dp/B014Z8T0US/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1447255293&sr=8-4&keywords=melinda+de+ross



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