Pyshka – Sweet Roll and a Baby Kitten

Calling all cats and their humans:


To celebrate, I am repeating a post I wrote four years ago, when little Pyshka was about four weeks old. Now she is a big and beautiful four-year old kitty girl, heavier than Auntie Beba, who is 12, but still playful and mischievous like a little kitten. Here is her story:

Pyshka is a sweet roll, baked or deep-fried, with or without filling, made with yeast or as a quick bread, i.e. yeast-less. Sort of a Russian doughnut with a Polish name (most sources derive the name from Polish pączek  – sweet roll). Another theory attributes the name to Russian pykchat’ which is archaic for deep-frying, but since the method of deep-frying was not discovered in Russia until 1835 (, while pyshki had been frequent already on Ivan the Terrible’s table three hundred years earlier, as recorded in the palace kitchen accounts, this one does not hold water. Neither does the legend about a Dutch captain Gregory Hanson (is that a Dutch name? Curious!) who never let a sweet roll out of his hand until one day, during a violent storm, the waters were so turbulent that he had to grab the wheel with both hands, so he pinned the roll onto one of the spokes of the wheel, and thus a doughnut was born. If you believe this one, I have a nice little bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.


For the record, pyshka is NOT a doughnut! Without getting into a pyshka vs ponchik debate, I’ll just state that the latter is definitely made with yeast and fried in oil; therefore, that’s a doughnut, no matter what you call it. My humble pyshka, however, is made with prostokvasha (clabbered milk, for recipe click here) and baked.

Pyshka 8.jpg

Before we get to the recipe, though, I want to introduce you, Beautiful People, to Pyshka the kitten.  This is how she came into our lives exactly a month ago (please click on the link below to read about her harrowing escape, then come back for the recipe):

The reason for the name was her color – she looked like a delicious sweet roll right out of the oven!

Pyshkas 1.jpg

All you need is some flour, sifted and mixed with baking powder, a pinch of  salt, and sugar or xylitol, and a cup of prostokvasha gradually added to the dry ingredients and gently mixed in. For our purposes, white spelt flour is gluten free, but if you have an allergy or celiac disorder, do consult your doctor. My home made prostokvasha is non-dairy; you can use store bought coconut kefir, if you don’t want to bother, or use dairy kefir / buttermilk, if you don’t mind dairy products.

Pyshkas 2.jpg

Turn your dough onto a well-floured board or working surface and gently kneed. It will be extremely soft and will stick to your fingers. In short, it will be as unruly as a curious baby kitten, but you’ll deal with it as best as you can by constantly dipping your hands in flour. Don’t over-kneed it, as you want it soft and airy. Flatten your dough and cut circles. Place them on a lightly misted with oil baking sheet and bake them at 450 F for about 25 – 30 minutes.

Pyshka 12

While sweet pyshki are resting in the oven, little Pyshka is resting on the coach.

Pyshkas 3.jpg

When they reach her color, they are ready. Remove them and dust them with xylitol or powdered sugar while still hot.

Pyshkas 4

I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t insert chocolate somewhere, even just a few drops of chocolate syrup on the plate. As you see, pyshki are golden brown and crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside, with those hollow spaces  – a true hallmark of good quick breads. Looking at baby Pyshka who bears an uncanny resemblance to my husband’s baby pictures – same golden coloring, same bright inquisitive green eyes – and watching my husband sneak a bite of a hot pyshka set up to be photographed is the best of both worlds!


  • 1 cup prostokvasha room temperature (alternative dairy or non-dairy kefir / buttermilk)
  • 11/2 cup spelt or GF flour and more to kneed
  • 1 tablespoon xylitol or sugar and more to dust
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 450 F. Lightly mist baking sheet with oil.
  • Sift dry ingredients together. Gradually add prostokvasha while gently mixing. Turn onto generously floured board, kneed softly. Dough will be very soft, almost like batter.
  • Flatten dough to 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thickness, cut circles, place on oiled baking sheet. No distance necessary.
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove, dust with xylitol or powdered sugar while hot.
  • Best served hot, but could be reheated in oven or microwave.


38 Comments Add yours

    1. 😻 yes, and all three are rescued.
      Thank you for stopping by, dear Dorothy!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a lovely cat, she was blessed to be found by the right people.

    It may be that i have the ingredients for your pyshka at home, so i’m going to see what i can do. Right now i need some comfort baked goods!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for a lovely comment, dear Mimi. We feel that we are blessed by having found our feline friends. They are such joy!
      I am sending blessings your way for all the comfort you crave, darling!


  2. Leah says:

    What fun to see your kitties on International Cat Day!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Leah!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awwww…. so cute! 😻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, David, that she is, and a big troublemaker!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well a big troublemaker is easier to find than a little troublemaker 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You don’t even know how right you are, David! She used to get into unimaginably tiny spaces, and we looked for her for hours. She also used to ride the Rumba, but I have never caught her on video.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A_Boleyn says:

    Cute kitty. Saw the title and it made me think of a Romanian children’s poem that I still remember learning many many years ago. Or at least I remember the first few lines. 🙂

    Rough English translation


    Kitten, cat, cat, cat,
    I saw you last night in a dream.
    I was washing you, combing you,
    I was putting a red bow on you.

    But you were upset,
    You scratched my cheek.
    Kitten, my dear,
    Why are you so bad?

    I’m not bad, but I’m small.
    Let me give you another paw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adorable cartoon, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love food but the kitten wins hands down ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She certainly does, thank you very much, dear Susie.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gail says:

    Kittens are such a joy to hold, cuddle, and play with on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. This makes me happy. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Gail!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. BERNADETTE says:

    Thank you for your post full of sweetness, a darling cat and a tasty treat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Bernadette!


  8. 15andmeowing says:

    Both of your kitties are adorable. Thank you for the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, darling.


  9. Garfield Hug says:

    Lovely seeing you and THANK YOU for including Garfield 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by, my dear, and best regards to Garfield!


  10. A good rescue job – and debunking of the origins of the word 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. iamthesunking says:

    “When they reach her colour they are ready”. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Your Majesty.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Kitty hugs right back to you, darling.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Charlee: “Awww, what a cute baby Pyshka!”
    Chaplin: “And a tasty-looking pastry!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pyshka: Mama always says I was a cute baby that grew into a big rascal. Do you know what it means?
      Thanks for stopping by, dear friends! Meows and Purrs!


  13. purpleslob says:

    Yummy!! So cute!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear purple person, and Meow! from Pyshka!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        Purple meows back!! ❤ to you, dear Dolly!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Much love to you, darling, and many blessings! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

  14. lifelessons says:

    Ah sweet.. Thanks for the explanation that somehow I had missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pleasure is mine, Judy.


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