With the holiday season almost in full swing, it’s time to pull out everyone’s favorite Christmas recipes and indulge in amazing food that does wonders for the soul. Sure it’s greasy and not exactly healthy for you, but it’s perfectly fine to give yourself a break and have a warm and cozy treat to raise your holiday spirit.
We are particular fans of small and tasty bites, fresh from the oven. These festive pastries taste like heaven and have a profound ability to remind us of the fond memories from our childhood.
The recipe we are going to share with you today is for a traditional and authentic doughnut-like dessert. This dessert is called Ustipci, and believe us when we say, your taste buds will thank you once you try them.
But don’t take our word for it, try out the recipe for yourself and tell us all about it in the comments below. As always, before we jump into the recipe for these yummy seasonal creations, here’s a quick explanation of Ustipci and why are they so prevalent in the Balkans.
What Are Ustipci and Why We Love Them
Ustipci are basically dough balls that are deep-fried and served as an appetizer or as a dessert, depending on whether they come with a side of delicious Kaymak or are sprinkled on top with powdered sugar.
Think of Italian Zeppole without the cannoli-style cream, although Ustipci mixes well with various types of cream like hazelnut cocoa spread, marmalade, or even honey. These scrumptious doughnut-like pastries are extremely popular throughout the Balkans, with each country having its own variation.
For instance, in Bosnia, Ustipci and Kaymak are two inseparable components of a savory breakfast meal. In Croatia, Ustipci are called Fritule and are always present when Christmas time comes around.
The difference is that Fritule are usually made with rum and citrus zest, making them more of a dessert on their own. Serbia also has its own twist on these delicious small bites. Ustipci are most popular in the northern part of the country, where their sweet and doughy aroma spreads through the streets all year round.
Ustipci should be about 2,5 inches in diameter, ideally. You don’t want to make them too small else they’ll end up being overcooked and tasting like cardboard. The exterior should be thin and crispy, while the interior should be fluffy and full of air pockets.
Ustipci taste best when they are still warm and fresh. As they cool down, they turn more chewy and gummy, so make sure to serve them right away and enjoy them while they are warm and crunchy.
Let’s get on to the recipe!
Traditional Ustipci Recipe
In order to make the most mouth-watering and soft Ustipci, you’ll want to follow our traditional Serbian Ustipci recipe.
For our recipe you will need:
- Vegetable oil
- 350 grams of flour, sifted
- 2x eggs
- 40 grams of dry yeast
- 1x teaspoon salt
- 400 ml of lukewarm water
- 1-2x teaspoon white sugar
- Take a deep mixing bowl and combine water, yeast, and sugar. After about 15 minutes, you can add eggs and salt to the mixture. Finally, add the flour to the mix and stir it until the dough is soft.
- Time to start frying. Take a deep pan and heat up a generous amount of vegetable oil. Lower the heat to medium and start adding the dough. Now, the easiest way to make your Ustipci the perfect size is to take a tablespoon and scoop up a decent amount of batter.
- Let them fry until the exterior starts looking crispy and yummy. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a temperature of 350 F while frying. It should take a couple of minutes but not too long.
- Use paper towels to collect the oil and serve your fresh and scrumptious Ustipci with Kaymak, cheese spread, sour cream, or just dip them in powdered sugar.
Were you successful in reproducing this recipe? Tell us about it in the comments below. You can also order a side of Ustipci from our breakfast menu at our Rakija Grill restaurant in downtown Miami. For more comfort food recipes, make sure to follow our blog