Sweet cheese balls with breadcrumbs (Ukrainian hombovtsi)

If you decide to travel to the Transcarpathian region, don’t miss a chance to try a wonderful dessert with a queer name – hombovtsi. This dish has Hungarian roots and represents ball-size sweets made by kneading and forming cottage cheese. Some recipes also include the addition of different fruits or berries as a filling. Ukrainian curd balls have one peculiarity – they are covered with a mixture of breadcrumbs and sugar before serving.

Today I’m going to share with you a classic recipe for hombovtsi - the simple guide to cook soft and rich cheese balls. No baking, only boiling for a quarter of an hour – and everything is done. Mild in sweetness, with a light flavor of semolina and cottage cheese, these cheese balls are the perfect snack for any holiday party.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 130 g (4,5 oz) sugar
  • 250 g (1/2 lb) semolina
  • 250 g (1/2 lb) wheat flour
  • 900 g (2 lb) cottage cheese/curds

Topping

  • 350 g (12oz) breadcrumbs
  • 100 – 150 g (3,5 – 5 oz) sugar

Cooking

Grind cottage cheese/curds through a sieve and put it in a deep bowl (it’s recommended to use heavy cottage cheese/curds). Then beat in two eggs and mix to combine. Stir in salt, sugar, semolina and sifted flour. Knead the dough with hands. According to this recipe, curd balls will have a dense texture. If you prefer to have a more tender texture, then you should add lesser semolina and flour. Using a scoop, take some mixture and shape it into a ball with hands. Repeat the procedure until you use all the mixture.

Parch breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan for 2-4 minutes, stirring the mass continuously. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a broad, deep pan. Let them cool for 1-2 minutes and mix with sugar thoroughly.

Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a gentle boil and carefully drop hombovtsi inside (you may boil half of the balls at first and then cook the second batch). Stir the balls gently first two minutes to prevent sticking. Cook hombovtsi on a low heat, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. They will puff up slightly and rise to the surface. Turn off heat and transfer cooked hombovtsi to a colander to let water drain and then coat them with a sugar-breadcrumb mixture. Serve this cottage cheese dessert with a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy your meal!

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