One of the most common New Year’s resolution is losing weight and quitting or reducing sweets intake. Was that on your list as well? Hard as it must have been so far, soon your determination will be put to a serious test: Fat Thursday is coming!
In Polish tradition, the last Thursday before Lent is dedicated to meeting friends and family and having pączki (filled doughnuts) and faworki (angel wings) together. The more, the better!
Suddenly all the Polish pastry shops are so crowded that the lines don’t fit and people have to queue outside. The Internet abounds in ranks that tell you where to get the most fabulous pączki in Warsaw or Kraków. And be prepared to talk mostly about how many pączki you’ve devoured. It’s the only time of the year when you can be really proud of all the sugar you ingest. People will invite you to have a pączek or some faworki no matter where you go.
Pączki is a kind of fried-in-the-fat pastry that looks like puffy dough balls. They are usually filled with marmalade-ish filling (rosehip, prune, apricot, strawberry). They may be rolled in powdered sugar or covered in icing. And they are absolutely delicious!
(By the way, is it OK to spell pączki without the little tail in ą? Find out from this video: Pączki or paczki? Why do the dots and tails in Polish matter? )
On Fat Thursday the whole Poland smells of pączki. But you can have a taste of Poland in your own kitchen. Here’s a recipe that will help you make your own pączki and share them with your family and friends. Here’s what you will need:
- 1 ½ cups of warm milk
- 2 packages of dry yeast
- ½ cup of sugar
- 4 ounces of butter
- 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 5 cups of flour
- oil for deep frying
- powdered sugar
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and set aside. Cream together sugar and butter until it is fluffy. Add the egg, the egg yolks and salt and stir. Use a mixer with paddle attachment. Add the flour and the milk and yeast mixture. Beat for at least 5 minutes. Put the dough in a greased bowl, grease the other side, cover and let it rest for at least 1 hour to make it rise. Flour your countertop slightly and roll the dough to make it about ½ inch thick. Cut round shapes. Cover them and let them rise for another 30 minutes. Heat the oil, place your pączki and fry them for 2 or 3 minutes, until they get brown (be careful with the hot oil!). Flip them and fry for another 1 or 2 minutes. The oil shouldn’t be too hot, otherwise the dough will be brown on the outside before it is ready on the inside. Drain the pączki. Make a hole on the side and squeeze in the filling you have chosen. Roll them in powdered sugar or cover with icing. And now enjoy them all!