Paczki Recipe : Polish Baked Donuts
In Poland, Baked Paczki Day, the day when all of the last paczki are consumed, is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In the USA, Paczki Day is the day before Ash Wednesday.
The difference between these and a basic doughnuts is that paczki are made with a very rich, sweet yeast dough consisting of eggs, butter and milk. Sort of like a brioche doughnuts
Traditionally, paczki are fried in hot fat, but many people either do not have the kitchen equipment to deep fry, or they prefer not to do so due to health or safety concerns. This is a recipe for Baked Paczki that are just as delicious as their fried counterparts and baking them gives you a great kid-friendly recipe and opportunity to involve the younger members of the household in the process to introduce them to family traditions!
What is special about paczki?
Pączki are a specialty pastry reserved for once a year in honor of Fat Tuesday. It is a Catholic day of celebration as it is the precursor to the Lenten season, and the last day to indulge in foods before the traditional 40-day period of fasting before Easter.
How do you pronounce it in Polish?
Paçzki is pronounced as “pohnch-kee” and spelled with an ogonek on the “a” in Polish.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons or 1 packet yeast
- 3/4 cup milk (whole)– warm, but not too hot for yeast
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- about 1/2 cup extra flour, as needed
- 3 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup homemade custard (see below)
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- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup milk
- one egg yolk
Baked Paczki Instructions:
Place warm milk in bowl. Add sugar and yeast.
Let sit until bubbly.
Add oil, egg yolks & vanilla.
Add flour and salt, stirring with wooden spoon.
Mix by hand or with mixer for several minutes, until blended.
Add in extra flour, a bit at a time, until the dough holds together (you may need to use wooden spoon for this.)
On a floured surface, knead 5 minutes, cover with linen cloth or plastic and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
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While dough is resting, in a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.
Slowly stir in milk and egg yolk. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously for 1 1/2 minutes.
Remove from stove and pour cooked custard in bowl and place in refrigerator to cool.
On a floured surface, roll dough 1/2-inch thick. Cut circles using a 2 1/2 -inch round cutter, or water glass dipped in flour, until all dough is used.
Place paczki on greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm spot about 1 hour at room temperature, until almost doubled.
Bake for 10 -12 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven until nicely browned.
Melt butter in microwave and place 1/2 cup sugar in a brown lunch bag or bowl.
Brush each paczki while warm with the melted butter and place in bag to coat with sugar.
(I sometimes use cinnamon sugar mixture, instead of just sugar.)
Let them cool, then fill using a pastry bag with a long tip, pushing into the side. Squeeze custard filling in gently ( the paczki will grow a bit when filled with the custard.)
You may also fill you Baked Paczki with your favorite jelly/jam.