Paczki, pronounced POONCH-kee.

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Fat Tuesday, but many areas of Michigan, including where I’m from, its Paczki Day. Celebrated by feasting on the traditional Polish jelly-filled pastry, the paczek (PON-check); more commonly, paczki (see above), the plural form.

Paczki are made from a rich yeast dough and are deep fried-yum- and filled with fruit or cream, then topped with a light dusting of sugar. Traditionally, the fruit filling is prune, but other flavors include lemon, blueberry, raspberry, custard, and my husbands favorite strawberry.

 

A Bit of History

Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent, more commonly known as Mardi Gras, which simply is Fat Tuesday in French. This was considered the last day to eat/use up milks, sugars, lards in preparation for the 40 days of Lent, when you traditionally gave up these things. Some places call it Pancake Day, others Fat Tuesday, but again, we call it Paczki Day.

In larger cities in Poland, paczki are sold in bakeries every day, just smaller than the ones sold in the United States. Paczki are a special pastry, reserved for once a year in honor of Fat Tuesday. The Polish Immigrants brought these traditions with them when they immigrated to American, so places with strong Polish roots hold on to those important celebrations.

Michigan’s own “Poletown” Hamtramck, near Detroit, is the places to be, since Polish Immigrants came to the area back in 1914. Naturally, Paczki is the star of the annual Paczki Day Festival.

You can join the group on Facebook to see which bakeries participate who has been voted best Paczki!

If don’t want to deal with the crowds, or if you’re like me and didn’t special order some, you can make your own. Just be forewarned, it takes some time… lots of time.

I’ve never made them before this week, so I looked on pinterest (the Spruce Eats) for a recipe…. remember I’m awful at following directions though. 😉

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup warm milk (warm, no warmer than 110 *F)
  • 2 packages of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Half stick of butter, room temp.
  • 1 large egg, room temp.
  • 3 large egg yolk, room temp.
  • 1 TBSP Rum (I used vanilla flavor)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 gallon oil for deep frying (I use vegetable oil)
  • Optional: confectioner sugar
  • Optional: granulated sugar
  • Optional: fruit jam/jelly or filling

 

Make and Cut the Dough

  1. Gather ingredients
  2. Warm milk, no warmer that 110*F
  3. Add yeast to warm milk, stir until dissolved and set aside
  4. In large bowl (stand mixer with paddle attachment), cream together butter and sugar until fluffy
  5. Beat in egg, yolks, rum, and salt until well mixed
  6. Add the milk and flour, alternating, and beat for 5 more minutes with machine, longer by hand until smooth
  7. Place dough into a greased bowl, flip to grease both sides
  8. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 1/2 hours
  9. Punch down and let rise again
  10. On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness
  11. Cut rounds with a 3 inch biscuit cutter, close together for less scraps
  12. Repeat 10 & 11 until you no longer can with scraps
  13. Cover and let rise to double the size (about 30 minutes)

Time to Fry them…

Frying the Paczki

  1. In a large skillet, or Dutch oven, heat oil to 350*F
  2. Place paczki top side down (the dry side) and fry 2-3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
  3. Flip them over and fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown Do NOT let the oil get too hot or the exterior will cook before the inside!
  4. Drain on paper towel
  5. Poke a hole in the Paczki and use a pastry bag to squeeze in desired filling
  6. Dust with granulated sugar, confectioner sugar, or glaze

 

Custard Filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavored rum

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan, combine milk and 1/4 cup of sugar; bring to a boil
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk egg and yolks til well beaten
  3. Stir remaining sugar and the cornstarch into the egg mixture until smooth
  4. When milk comes to boil, drizzle into mixture while continuing to stir
  5. Return mixture to sauce pan; stir constantly until mixture thickens
  6. Remove from heat; stir in butter and rum until completely blended

 

 

 

Eat right away or freeze for later consumption. =]

This was a delicious recipe, I look forward to making it again. 🙂

 

 

Share your photos with us on Social Media of you and your family enjoying your own paczki and don’t forget to color in today’s activity on the calendar.

 

Happy Paczki Day from us at BuzzyMoms!

 

-C