Next Thursday it will be a crucial day. Officially it is known as Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday), unofficially Doughnut Day. For some of the people, it may be an unfortunate day. I remember once I was in a mood for a croissant with chocolate from my favorite 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 usually a choice is pretty big. All grocery shops, supermarkets, and probably even smallest stores will be selling doughnuts this day. Your employer will perhaps supply you with at least one doughnut, and your coworkers with a few more. If anybody calls you on the phone, they will ask “How many doughnuts have you already eaten?” and at the end of the day, you will take part in a contest who ate more doughnuts.
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 mixture is a rose petal jam, but you can fill them with any kind of jam. Less conventional fillings are – custard, chocolate or liqueur.
pączek – (singular) doughnut
pączki – (plural) doughnuts
Polish doughnuts - Pączki
You can buy fresh yeast in Polish or Italian shops
- 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 shortening deep-fry (you can use oil or lard)
- jam, you can also use custard or chocolate
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 3-4 Tbsp hot water
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 is shiny and less sticky. If the dough is too sticky add a little bit more flour. If the dough is too hard to add one more yolk or more milk.
Put the dough in the lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a cling foil and leave to rise for one hour.
Roll the dough to a 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 is too high, the doughnuts will burn outside but will be still raw inside, if the temperature is too low, they will absorb 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.
Just mix the icing sugar with hot water until you get a smooth mixture. If it is too runny just add more icing sugar if too thick add more water.
Glaze the doughnuts with the icing.