In a large bowl, crumble yeast in lukewarm milk. Add 2 cups flour. Stir well, and allow to rest 1 hour in a warm place.Advertisement
Soften chopped raisins in warm water for 30 minutes.
Beat egg, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, melted butter, salt, and orange zest. Add to yeast sponge. Stir in raisins; add egg mixture and mix until combined. Add 4 cups flour and mix well, forming smooth ball. Dough will be somewhat soft, but not batter-like. Cover dough, and allow to rise until fully doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, let rise until double again, about 45 minutes to an hour.
On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, divide it into 12 pieces; keep other pieces of dough covered while you work. Roll the pieces into 1/2 inch balls; set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Continue shaping remaining dough.
Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Drop 2 or 3 at a time into hot fat, turn when deep golden brown. If removed too soon, dough will be under-done inside. When doughnuts are browned, drain briefly on paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar or cinnamon sugar (see Cook's Note).
Coat the ponczki with plain sugar, a cinnamon-sugar mix, or powdered sugar. Grandma used a large paper bag and dropped them in immediately after removing from the fryer; the bag absorbed a lot of the oil. Then, she transferred them to another clean bag, added her choice of sugar, poured it in, and shook the bag to coat the doughnuts.
We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount may vary depending on cook time and temperature, ingredient density, and the specific type of oil used.