Yesterday, even though I rarely deep fry food, I decided to give my hand to this traditional Russian New Year's delight. I took some videos and images for a step by step process and, when breaking it down, it isn't too difficult. Just get the Mise en place and it goes quite quickly.
First, soak the raisins in hot water and then dry on a tea towel in a slightly warm oven to plump up. Set aside. Second tip, I warmed the milk, butter, saffron and sugar together. To cool the milk mixture enough so as to not kill the yeast, I added in the cooled raisins.
Third tip, separate the eggs and whip the whites prior to needing to mix them in and set aside. Fourth tip, add salt at the end of the mixing of the second rising with the additional flour, again, so as to not kill the yeast.
Fifth tip, cook in a pot that will allow the portzelki to turn over and deep enough to hold enough oil. If cooked at the correct temperature, the fritters will not absorb much oil or burn.
2 pkgs (~4 1/2 tsp) yeast in 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
Let stand for 10 minutes
2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 lb raisins or currants (soak and then gently dry on low oven on paper towel until water is off but plumped)
Flour for soft batter (~5 cups)
Optional: good pinch saffron in warm milk
Combine milk, salt, sugar, baking powder, raisins and egg yolks. Add 2
cups flour to yeast and milk and stir. Let stand until bubbly. Add
remaining flour. Beat egg whites to stiff peak and fold into batter.
Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil (375ºF). Space evenly and do not over
crowd. Allow room for portzelky to turn over. When fully cooked, drain
Serve with small bowls of sugar for dipping.