Muffins and pastries, Polish food, Shrove Tuesday

Polish doughnuts – Pączki

February 10, 2012

Next Thursday it will be a very important day. Officially it is known as Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday), unofficially Doughnut Day. For some of people it may be very sad day. I remember once I was in a mood for a croissant with chocolate from my favourite bakery, but it was Fat Thursday, so the only thing you can buy are doughnuts with different filling and chrusty/faworki (I will tell you about them in few days). That is it, nothing else, even though normally a choice is pretty big. All grocery shops, super markets and probably even smallest shops will be selling doughnuts this day. Your employer will probably supply you with at least one doughnut, and your coworkers with a few more. If anybody will call you on the phone, they will ask “How many doughnuts have you already eaten?” and at the end of the day, you will take a part in a contest who ate more doughnuts.
Polish doughnuts - paczki
Apparently doughnuts have been known in Poland since the Middle Ages. They are a deep-fried piece of dough filled with jam or other fillings  and glazed or sprinkled with icing sugar. The most traditional filling is a rose petal jam, but you can fill them with any kind of jam. Less traditional fillings are – custard, chocolate or liqueur.

pączek – (singular) doughnut
pączki – (plural) doughnuts

Polish doughnuts - paczki


Recipe from White Plate Blog
Makes around 14

  • 20 g fresh yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 230 ml lukewarm milk
  • 430-500 g plain flour (it depends how big are eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optionally)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 yolks
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 packets of Frytex or different shortaning deep-fry (you can use oil or lard)

For filling

  • jam, you can also use custard or chocolate
For glazing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp hot water
You can buy fresh yeast in Polish or Italian shops

Add yeast, 3 tablespoons of lukewarm milk, and one teaspoon of sugar, stir to dissolve and set aside for 15 minutes.
Place the 400 g of flour, salt, vanilla extract and the rest of sugar in a bowl. Add the egg, yolks and butter. Start kneading the dough slowly adding the yeast mixture and the rest of milk.
Knead the dough until it will be shiny and less sticky.
If the dough is too sticky add a little bit more flour.
If the dough is too hard add one more yolk or more milk.
Put the dough to the lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a cling foil and leave to rise for one hour.
Roll the dough to 1-cm thickness and cut it with a glass or a round cookie cutter.
Transfer the doughnuts to the baking sheet. Keep 3-4 cm distance between them as they will rise. Leave to rise for 30 minutes. They should get bigger.
Heat Frytex or oil in a big pot or saucepan to 175°C. Use enough oil that doughnuts can float freely. If the oil temperature will be too high the doughnuts will burn outside, but will be still raw inside, if the temperature will be too low, they will absorb to much oil.
Fry doughnuts around 1-2 minutes on every side (or until golden brown). Don’t overcrowd the pan, as the oil temperature will drop down. Flip them using wooden skewers.
Take them out of the oil and put it on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
To put filling, simply use a pastry bag, insert a tip into the side of the doughnut and gently squeeze a bag. A special filling tip works best, but if you don’t have it, just use the normal one and try to be gentle.
Make icing.
Simply mix the icing sugar with hot water until you get smooth mixture. If it is too runny just add more icing sugar, if too thick add more water.
Glaze the doughnuts with the icing.
Polish doughnuts - paczki. Fat Thursday

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  • Reply veru February 10, 2012 at 08:58

    Wow, love doughnuts. In Italy we also have this kind of tradition and we fry everything during February! :D

    • Reply Magda February 10, 2012 at 09:01

      Thankfully for us, we only fry during Fat Thursday, I don’t think I could take it through the whole month :D

  • Reply Cross My Apple Tart February 10, 2012 at 09:22

    I think I celebrated a personal Fat Thursday yesterday as I ate so many bad things! I LOVE jam doughnuts but I’ve never tried to make them, but now that I have your recipe I think I should. Lovely photos, as always!

    • Reply Magda February 10, 2012 at 10:24

      Thank you. Ha ha, so we both had Fat Thursday yesterday. It was my first attempt to make them at home, in Poland in most of bakeries they are pretty good and it’s better to buy one than have 14 to eat ;)

  • Reply Anonymous February 10, 2012 at 20:26

    witam witam! w Anglii, o ile mi wiadomo (nie wiem jak w innych krajach), odpowiednikiem naszego Tłustego Czwartku jest “Shrove Tuesday”- “Pancake Day”, “Fat Thursday” chyba nie istnieje :)
    Ale to chyba nie ma znaczenia, pączki zjeść trzeba!

    • Reply Magda February 11, 2012 at 18:22

      Tak, tak, w Irlandii też obchodzą Pancake Day. Całe szczęście, że nikt nie wpadł na pomysł obchodzenia dwóch świąt na raz, mogłoby być ciężko! ;)

  • Reply Anonymous February 10, 2012 at 20:54

    Your story reminds me of growing up in Metro Detroit. Paczki are everywhere on Fat Tuesday and on that day everyone’s first question when answering the phone is, “how many donuts/paczki have you eaten?” I’ve been away from home for 10+ years now, and I’ve been longing for paczki every year since. I can’t wait to try these! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

    • Reply Magda February 11, 2012 at 18:22

      Ha ha :) Good luck with trying recipe, I hope you will like it

  • Reply Paula February 11, 2012 at 09:26

    They look delicious. We have these in my home country too but filled with a sort of custard cream, they’re delicious. I’ve never tried making them though.

    • Reply Magda February 11, 2012 at 18:28

      Paula, I think I will probably always be jam filling fan, but if you like custard cream, have you ever though about mixing it with some liquor like Advocaat?

  • Reply Colette February 11, 2012 at 13:53

    Hi Magda, you are one of my 5 Winners of the Liebster Blog Awards. I’ve posted details on my blog – – Colette x

    • Reply Magda February 11, 2012 at 18:28

      Thank you Colette. I’ve just posted my 5 winners :)

  • Reply Colette February 15, 2012 at 18:16

    I have the piping tip for filling doughnuts, and now, thanks to you Magda, I have a recipe. Beautiful pictures too :)

    • Reply Magda February 16, 2012 at 08:41

      Good for you. I was looking for a piping tip, I found one, I tried it, I found out it was too small and jam got stuck in it, I got mad, changed the tip for standard one, filled doughnuts. So I hope yours is proper one (mine looks like a toy)

  • Reply Donna Currie February 16, 2012 at 08:21

    Those look great. Haven’t seen good paczki in a long time!

    • Reply Magda February 16, 2012 at 08:58

      Thank you Donna. It is so nice to hear it from a specialist as you :)

  • Reply Anonymous February 16, 2012 at 17:09

    Please tell us how to say this…I have heard it is pronounced “poonchki”. Is that right?

    • Reply Magda February 16, 2012 at 17:38

      Ha, there is a simple trick. Go to Choose Polish voice. I like Ewa ;) Write any Polish word and click play.
      Because I would rather say it’s punch-key or even pawnchkey. As ą sounds quite as awn and cz sounds like ch
      So it will be easier to listen to it ;)

  • Reply Dina February 16, 2012 at 21:06

    yes i could eat these for fat tuesday or any tuesday for that matter!

    • Reply Magda February 16, 2012 at 21:23

      Dina, if you only want you can eat them everyday :D

  • Reply zosia August 4, 2013 at 15:42

    Nie widze tu nigdzie przepis na nadzienie? Co uzywasz? Powidla sliwkowe?

    • Reply Magda August 4, 2013 at 17:51

      Słuszna uwaga, już dodałam. Ja zazwyczaj używam dżemu truskawkowego lub wiśniowego, ale powidła śliwkowe będą jak najbardziej na miejscu

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