Happy Fat Tuesday!
Or better yet…
HAPPY PACZKI DAY!
It is Polish tradition to indulge in these delectable donuts on the last Tuesday before Ash Wedensday, which is also the last day of Mardi Gras!
SO DEVOUR EVERYTHING! GORGE YOURSELF! EAT LIKE A COW!
Now here I should clear one thing up…
I don’t exactly honor Lent, and I’m not Polish.
I do love honoring other cultures food traditions, obviously.
I found this Pączki recipe on this Eastern European Food site posted by Barbara Rolek. She explains her busia, or grandmother, used to make this Pączki recipe without a filling, and dusted with granulated sugar.
Her recipe is easy to follow, and is typed below.
I did find this dough to be extremely tacky and hard to work with, so where it says ‘lightly floured’ be a little generous. My dough kept sticking to my lightly floured non-stick mats, and to my floured fingers. Hence why some of my pączki are not the prettiest. I also used a 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (aka my English Muffin rings), so my pączki ended up a little larger than her recipe describes. The rises also only took me 2 hours total.
I made most of mine with a Blackberry filling (I let Wills pick it out), and dusted with powdered sugar. I also dusted some in granulated sugar and cinnamon. YUM.
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon brandy or rum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 gallon oil for deep frying
- Granulated sugar (optional)
- Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
- Fruit paste for filling (optional)
- Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, brandy and salt until well-incorporated.
- Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. My grandmother used to beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it blistered. Dough will be very slack. If too soft, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, but no more.
- Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again (about 30 minutes).
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
- Heat oil to 350 degrees in large skillet or Dutch oven. Place pączki top-side down (the dry side) in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot so the exterior doesn’t brown before the interior is done. Test a cool one to make sure it’s cooked through. Adjust cooking time and oil heat accordingly.
- Drain pączki on paper towels or brown paper bags, and roll in granulated sugar while still warm. Note: You can poke a hole in the side of the pączki and, using a pastry bag, squeeze in a dollop of the filling of choice. Then dust filled pączki with granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar or glaze.
Enjoy while still warm!