Fat Tuesday is once again upon us, and for many people the Lent season kicks off with consuming some of the highest fattening foods out there.
Enter the paczki.
Sugar, eggs and fat are traditionally combined to create paczki, traditional Polish doughnuts filled with fruit or cream and dusted with powdered sugar or glazed.
A Polish tradition is to celebrate the last six days of Carnival, known as zapusty, beginning on Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek) when pączki (fried doughnuts) are eaten. In America, pączki can be found in bakeries on Fat Tuesday or Pączki Day, Feb. 12.
In St. Clair Shores, you can find them at locations including:
- Jim Bommarito Italian Bakery
- Hodell's Cake Shop
- Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace
The pronunciation varies. Some say POHNCH-kee; Americans generally say POONCH-kee. Singular is pączek, pronounced POHNCH-ek. Whichever way you say it, the bakery sales clerk will understand what you want.
The baking and consumption of paczki began as a practical matter. Pączki were made as a way to use up the lard and eggs which were prohibited during the ancient observance of Lent. Now, they’re more of a last-minute binge on sweets before the sacrifice begins.
Pączki is Polish for “little package.” And what sweet packages they are.
According to tastingpoland.com, paczki are round spongy yeast cakes, rich in egg yolks and stuffed with one of many fillings like: rose or strawberry preserves, prune, apricot, liqueur, budyn (Polish pudding/blancmange), sweet curd cheese or chocolate. The dough is deep fried like a doughnut in deep oil until dark golden color and served covered with powdered sugar, icing sugar or chocolate. Also, oftentimes it is sprinkled with orange peel. Paczki, among the most traditional Polish desserts, they appeared in Poland during the time of King Augustus III of Poland (first half of 18th century). For a recipe, click here.
What's your favorite flavor paczki? Tell us by leaving a comment.