Week 93: Pączki

POLAND: Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek) is celebrated in Poland on the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Poles celebrate by eating pączki, doughnuts filled with rose jam or plum preserves. The tradition has carried over to Polish-American communities across the country, and many bakeries have long lines Fat Thursday mornings, with customers waiting to get their pączki fix. Unique to pączki is the addition of a small amount of alcohol that’s added to the dough before frying, supposedly to prevent the dough from absorbing too much alcohol.

Bennison's Bakery in Evanston hosted a paczki eating contest on March 2, 2019.
Bennison’s Bakery in Evanston hosted a paczki eating contest on March 2, 2019. Article here.

My best effort was from a video on “In Ania’s Kitchen” YouTube channel, linked below. I really liked it because her method has you wrapping a disc of dough around a dollop of jam to form a ball, instead of injecting the jam into an already shaped ball (disaster on my part!). I’ve listed the ingredients so you can measure them out ahead of time and then follow along as you watch the video.

The traditional fillings are plum jam or rose jelly. Personally, they’re not my thing, but these are two good brands if it’s what you want!
  • 3 tsp of instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp for yeast
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated suga4
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Shot of vodka
  • 1 cup of lukewarm  milk
  • 3 tbs of melted butter
  • 4 cups oil
  • jam or jelly (traditionally plum jam or rose jelly)

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