Paczki DayMarch 8, 2011
Lent starts tomorrow. I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll be sacrificing. I have time because today is all about indulging. It’s all about Fat Tuesday, or around here Paczki Day.
I love a good paczki.
The ones of my childhood, though, are nothing like the ones I see now. The paczki of my youth are small, like the size of a donut hole. Sometimes they are filled with jelly, sometimes they are plain. There was a Polish-Irish restaurant that served the best paczki at the end of every meal near my hometown. It was called Paczki-Dunn or Dunn-Paczki. I’m not sure it it’s still there.
The ones I see now are too big. Too doughy. Not light enough. These paczki are just right.
I made these in honor of Lent. I hope you try them, they are totally worth all of the steps. I used a shot glass to cut out the dough, but if you want them bigger-go for it. I stuffed some with raspberry filling, some with almond and some I left plain.
- 1 stick butter
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 C warm (room temperature) milk
- 1/2 C white sugar
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 4 eggs
- 1 T vanilla
- 4 ½ to 5 C flour
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Pour the yeast into a small bowl. Pour the warm milk into the bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, nutmeg, eggs and vanilla. Mix. Add the butter to the large bowl and mix until it is well blended. Add the milk and yeast to the large bowl. Mix well. Slowly add flour. When you have four cups of flour mixed in, the dough should not be sticky. If it’s still sticky, add a little more. (Remember, the eggs help make the paczki light, but too much flour can quickly weigh the dough down. Use only as much flour as needed.)
Knead the dough gently with your fists until it no longer sticks to your knuckles. Put the bowl of dough in a warm place; cover it with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Let it double in size. Once it has doubled, punch it down. Let it rise again. This should take about an hour.
When the dough has risen a second time, dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter and roll it out to about one half-inch thickness. Using a two and one half inch round (oblong is better) cookie cutter or regular canning jar ring, cut the dough. Carefully place the dough cutouts on greased cookie sheets, in a warm room. Let the dough rise until about double in size.
While the dough is rising, heat the oil to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry each paczki for about two minutes per side, or until deep brown. Use the slotted spoon to turn the paczki and lift each one from the oil carefully. Place the paczki on the paper towels lined cookie sheet to drain. The more grease that is drained away from the paczki the better the paczki will taste. While they are still warm, dipped them in a powdered sugar glaze. I used 2 C powdered sugar, 1 t Vanilla Extract (or Almond), and 1/3 C milk. Once they’ve been dipped, you can fill them with jelly. They are light and airy enough to be shot with a pastry filler and stuffed.
Paczki can also be frozen.
Here’s were I found it.