|Strawberry Paczki with coffee|
Pączki (Polish pronunciation [ˈpɔnt͡ʂki]) ( pronunciation (help·info)) are pastries traditional to Polish cuisine (the word pączek is sometimes translated as doughnut). Pączki is the plural form of the Polish word pączek [ˈpɔnt͡ʂɛk], though many English speakers use paczki as singular and paczkis as plural.
|Paczki photo from Wikipedia|
A pączek is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally, Spiritus) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough.
Although they look like bismarcks or jelly doughnuts, pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar and sometimes milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and can be glazed, or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. Powidła (stewed plum jam) and wild rose hip jam are traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including strawberry, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, raspberry and apple.
Pączki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jędrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, pączki dough was improved, so that pączki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.
|Paczki from my local grocery store|
In the large Polish community of Chicago, and other large cities across the Midwest, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. In Hamtramck, Michigan, an enclave of Detroit, there is an annual Pączki Day (Shrove Tuesday) Parade, which has gained a devoted following.This year, 2011, with Easter being later in April, Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day will be celebrated on March 8th in the Detroit Area.
These donuts are richer, thicker, and chewier than traditional donuts. The Lent thing - of having to use up all the lard and sugar in one's house - being the excuse to make fabulous donuts. Or in modern time, the excuse to eat fabulous donuts during the dreary winter season that is hanging on longer than it should before Spring's arrival. More snow is on the way for us today, but at least our tummy's are full.
|preparing for the autopsy shot|
For some reason, my box of Paczkis didn't include nutritional information - which makes me grumpy! I thought it was a law or something, seeing as these were prepared and packaged in some industrial facility and sold in the box as-is. I didn't pick out each individual donut and place it in my box from a high-end bakery.
|autopsy shot - loads of jelly|
Using generic nutrition information gleaned from the Internet, each one of these is worth approximately 14 Weight Watcher's Points Plus...here's my bite for the year, not quite a quarter donut, or 4 Points. Each of these is over 500 calories! Turn away while you still can.
|My yearly taste of polish donuts|