Today happens to be Paczki Day over there and we have reports of long lines of customers waiting outside local bakeries to buy a bag of paczkis.
“I can see around 30 people who are waiting, and they are smiling…and some of them take out really huge bag of paczki I can guess that some of them have 20, or 30, or even 50 paczkis inside”.
Can you name this Central European nation, which borders the Baltic Sea and the Carpathian Mountains.
The answer is Poland, where many Poles celebrate the diet-busting tradition of Fat Thursday today.This last Thursday before Lent is an occasion to let go and dig in to paczkis, traditional jam filled donuts. They weigh in at 300 to 400 calories each. Dave McGuire sent us a postcard from Warsaw.
1 stick of butter
8 cups of all-purpose flour
4 oz. fresh yeast (Red Star or Fleischmann’s)
10 egg yolks
2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of rum
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
.5 gallons of oil for deep frying
Fruit preserves or jam (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
1. Pour the flour into a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl combine the yeast, one teaspoon sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla sugar or vaniall extract with about half a cup of warm milk until the yeast is dissolved.
3. Make a depression in the flour and pour the yeast mixture into it. Sprinkle some flour on top of the yeast mixture until covered and allow the yeast to rise.
4. In the meantime, cream together yolks and the rest of the sugar until the mixture is white. Add rum and one teaspoon of vanilla sugar or vanilla extract to the mixture.
5. Heat up the rest of the milk (do not boil it) and pour it into the flour bowl along with the yolk and sugar mixture. Beat the ingredients together by hand until smooth.
6. Melt butter and add to the dough. Beat again until smooth. At this point, the dough will be very slack.
7. Cover the dough and put it away in a warm place and allow to rise until double in bulk (about 1 to 2 hours).
Now you are ready to form the paczki.
1. Roll out the dough until 1/2 inch in thickness. Using a 3 inch (or bigger) biscuit cutter cut rounds out of the dough (re-roll and re-cut as needed)
2. Make a small indentation in the dough rounds and insert a teaspoon of fruit preserves. Pinch the sides closed so that the filling remains inside. Place the paczki aside with the pinched side down.
3. Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a large skillet.
4. Place the paczki pinched-side down a few at a time. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip over and fry for another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. If the oil is too hot the outside will brown before the interior is done. Cooking time and oil heat may have to be adjusted accordingly.
5. Drain the paczki on a paper towel.
6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
(You can also hold off on the fruit preserves and fill the paczki with it after they are fried. Poke a hole in the paczki and using a pastry bag squeeze in the filling)