Doughnuts with Plum Jam and Bacon Sprinkles

recipe from The Witcher Official Cookbook

yeast based fried pastry with plum jam, glaze and crunchy bacon sprinkle, called "pączki" in Poland


"Fat Thursday" — it's the last Thursday of Carnival when it’s okay to indulge oneself, usually eating treats such as doughnuts. As nothing lifts the spirit quite like warm, fluffy doughnuts that came all the way from Gors Velen to Novigrad so we invite you to celebrate Fat Thursday with us and CD PROJEKT RED - together with this doughnut recipe that comes straight from our The Witcher Official Cookbook!

As each recipe in our cookbook has its own short story based on the Witcher lore and narrated by the main character of our cookbook, we also share here this little piece of storytelling connected to the recipe for doughnuts!

"One thing that never fails to lift my spirits or deliver a pleasant reprieve from my duties is a warm, fluffy doughnut. And never do I pass up the chance to try a new flavor. Topped with crunchy bacon bits, this variation on the dessert, specific to Novigrad, proved slightly richer than I’m accustomed to, but also tastier! Served from a small, family-run shop, these doughnuts filled with plum jam and fried in lard are made according to a recipe passed down over generations. The family enterprise began with a market stall in Gors Velen, offering sweets to all who passed, among them young enchantresses-in-training en route to Thanedd Island. The stand quickly grew into a shop. The enterprise continued to expand and soon the family’s doughnuts began to appear in other cities as well. The Novigrad branch has proudly continued the family tradition, now offering not only sweet treats for sale, but also workshops for all lovers of the confectionery arts."


This recipes comes from The Witcher Official Cookbook: Provisions, Fare, and Culinary Tales from Travels Across the Continent, made in cooperation with CD PROJEKT RED and Ten Speed Press. If you’re interested in more dishes from the Continent, check out the full cookbook:

TIME: 3h

SERVING: about 16 doughnuts



Buttermilk Yeast Starter:

2 1/2 tsp instant yeast, or 25g fresh yeast, crumbled
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp buttermilk, at room temperature
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour



3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup / 120ml buttermilk, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups / 350g all-purpose flour, with more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
Kosher salt
1 Tbsp plain vodka


2 1/4 cups / 220g confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup / 60ml water, or as needed
2 or 3 drops lemon juice


3 1/2 oz / 100g slab bacon, thinly sliced
1 qt / 1L melted pork lard or vegetable oil (see Note)
Plum jam for filling

To make the starter: In a medium bowl, combine the yeast*, granulated sugar, and buttermilk and stir until the yeast is fully dissolved. Add the flour and mix with a fork until well combined. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the starter sit until doubled in size, 15 to 20 minutes. It may take longer time for starter to froth up and double the volume depending on the room temperature. *We prefer using fresh yeast in this recipe.

Lightly flour a work surface.

To make the dough: Add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, flour, granulated sugar, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt to the bowl with the starter. Using a fork, stir together, then add the vodka and stir again to form a sticky dough. Transfer to the prepared work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour while kneading so it becomes smoother and less sticky at the end of the kneading process. Form the dough into a ball, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise on the work surface until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours (or longer, depending on the room temperature).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then oil the parchment.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead it a few times. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle or circle about 1/2 inch / 1.5cm thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch / 6cm* cookie cutter, cut out ten circles and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing the circles 2 inches / 5cm apart. Re-roll the scraps and cut out another five (or more) circles. Cover the circles with a kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 20 minutes (or longer, depending on the room temperature). *You can cut out bigger circles to get bigger doughnuts, but it's way easier to handle frying and get properly fried inside of the pastry when they're of smaller size, as suggested.

To make the icing: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, water, and lemon juice until smooth and thick like sour cream. Add more powdered sugar if needed. Set aside.

Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels.

Bacon sprinkle: In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, combine the bacon and a splash of cold water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes. Fry until the fat melts and the bacon is heavily browned on one side, about 4 minutes, then flip the strips and fry until the second side is browned, about 2 minutes more. It should be well fried at this point to create a crunchy sprinkle. Place the bacon on the prepared plate to drain, let cool for 2 minutes, and then coarsely chop into sprinkles. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Re-line the plate with a double layer of paper towels.

Frying doughnuts: In a deep heavy saucepan, add enough lard to reach halfway up the sides and then set over medium heat for a few minutes. Check the temperature by submerging a pea-size ball of the dough in the lard; if it bubbles immediately and the dough becomes brown in 1 minute, then the oil is ready. If using an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should read 350°F / 180°C.

Place two dough circles in the oil, cover for 30 seconds, uncover, and continue to fry until nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes on one side. Flip and fry on the other side; look for a pale, thin stripe to appear in the middle of each doughnut as an indicator that it is perfectly fried. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried doughnuts to the prepared plate to drain, 1 to 2 minutes, then dip each doughnut halfway in the bowl with the icing and place icing-side up on a wire rack. Scatter the bacon sprinkles on top of the icing.

Using a pastry bag with a tip, or a large syringe with a thick tip, squeeze 1 to 2 tsp of jam inside each doughnut. Let the doughnuts cool completely before serving.

Note: A 50/50 mixture of lard and vegetable oil gives the doughnuts a milder, lighter flavor.