Unless you are Polish or live in a city with a large Polish population, you may not even know what a “paczki” is, or even more so, how to pronounce it (POONCH-key). If you are ever to find one, it’s today, which is “Fat Tuesday,” or to many, simply “Paczki Day.” Being from the Chicago area which has a large Polish population, I am very familiar with these delectable pastries. Bakeries and groceries stores in the area will be selling tens of thousands of them.
A paczki is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a somewhat flattened sphere and filled with sweet fillings such as custard, raspberry, prune, plum, strawberry, or the traditional way in Poland, with rosehip marmalade and candied orange peel. They are glazed with an icing, or sometimes just dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Some varieties have no filling at all, and are just rolled in granulated sugar while still warm. Some bakers fill theirs with almond paste which is said to bring good luck.
Although they may look like a bismarck or a jelly doughnut, that’s where the similarity ends. Paczki are made with a richer dough that has more eggs and sugar, and they are cut larger without a hole. There are so many recipes for paczki on the internet, you will have no problem finding one you prefer. To get you started, here is a video that shows how to make paczki:
But here is one thing to remember – even though a paczki is delicious and traditional, each one contains approximately 500 calories. You’ll have to dance quite a few polkas to work them off, but it is Fat Tuesday, so do it anyway. After all, everyone is Polish on Paczki Day!