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Doughnuts of the World Unite: Poland's Paczki!

Fat Tuesday: The day that we Christians shove our faces with food before we begin fasting for the season of Lent. This seems like a great idea until your plate is empty, and the bloated feeling sets in. But when you’re young you can eat basically whatever you want and however much of it you want with no consequences; I took advantage of that as a kid.

Every year on Fat Tuesday I would assist my grandmother in making pączki(pohnch-kee), a Polish doughnut. This sweet treat originated as a way to use up all of the sugar, lard, and eggs kept in the house before fasting for Lent began.

Fat Tuesday is even known as Pączki Day and is celebrated around the world, specifically in the Midwest part of United States. There are often parades and huge lines of customers outside bakeries across Michigan. While Pączki Day is not as popular here in West Virginia, I still try to continue this tradition of making pączki with my children. The warm, comforting smell of the dough frying reminds me of my childhood when I would watch my grandmother make this dessert in the kitchen. It was always a way to bring us together, despite how busy our lives were. We were not only making a delicious dessert, but we were also making beautiful memories that I will cherish forever. When I would take a bite into that crispy yet soft doughnut, I could almost taste the love and care that my grandmother felt towards me. She put her heart into her cooking, and I try to do just that every time I make a meal.

I hope this recipe allows you to create a wonderful tradition with your family just as it has with mine.



  • 2 packets of dry yeast

  • 1 ½ cups warm milk

  • ½ cup sugar plus an additional 1 cup for rolling

  • ½ cup butter softened

  • 1 egg

  • 3 egg yolks

  • 1 tbsp light rum

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 5 cups flour

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 ½ cups jam, {I like Nutella} for filling

What to do:

1. Set out butter and eggs to come to room temperature

2. Add yeast to warm milk (110F degrees)

3. In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment cream sugar and butter.

4. Add egg and one yolk at a time

5. Add rum and salt

6. alternate adding flour and milk-- mix until smooth

7. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 ½ hours

8. While dough is rising mix additional sugar and powdered sugar and set aside

9. Punch down dough, cover, and allow to rise for another hour

10. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to ½ inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter

11. Place doughnuts on parchment paper and cover with a damp cloth and allow to double in size

12. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep frying pan with high sides to 350 degrees F

13. Fry doughnuts until golden brown flipping once, about 1-2 minutes

14. Remove from oil, roll in sugar mixture, and fill with jam using a squeeze bottle or syringe or pastry bag.

Traditionally paczki is served with strong black coffee known as czarna , literally the word for “black” or czarna kawa which, in its most extreme form, is equivalent to espresso. Coffee with milk is kawa z mlekiem.

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1 Comment

mark singo
mark singo
Feb 25, 2022

Awesome post!! Know what I'm making this weekend...

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