These homemade Paczki are soft, pillowy delectable morsels filled with jam, custard or lemon curd! Paczki are traditional Polish donuts, popular on Fat Tuesday aka Mardi Gras.
What Are Paczki
These Paczki are the bane of my existence. I simply love them. I’ve been making them and eating them for years. They are popular around Mardi Gras which simply means Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday which is a day of preparation for the penitential season of Lent.
Paczki are Polish deep-fried donuts that are filled with some sweet filling such as jam, custard, lemon curd or chocolate. They are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing, glaze or dried orange zest. They are simply and utterly delicious.
What’s the Difference Between Paczki and Donuts
Paczki are made of a very rich, sweet yeasty dough which consists of eggs, butter and milk. Regular donuts are not usually as rich. While donuts usually have a hole in the middle, Paczki don’t and instead are filled with jam or other goodies.
How to Make Paczki
My recipe for making Paczki couldn’t get any easier and it really is fool proof. To make the dough there are two simple steps. Mix the wet ingredients together, then add this to the flour and mix.
Make sure your milk is lukewarm. I usually pop it in the microwave for about a minute. You don’t want the milk too hot because this will kill the yeast, so make sure it’s just warm to the touch. While you could knead this by hand, if you have a stand mixer, add the flour and the milk/egg mixture to the bowl of your mixer and using the dough hook mix until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl.
The dough should be very malleable and soft. Place it in an oiled bowl then cover it with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in size. I usually place my bowl in a warm oven, this will speed up the rising process.
On a floured surface start rolling the dough until it’s about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (1 cm) in thickness. This dough should make about a 16 donuts.
Using a glass, or if you want a cookie cutter, start cutting out rounds from the dough. Repeat this with remaining dough until there’s no dough left. Place the donuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise until doubled in size.
Fry them in hot oil until they’re golden brown on both sides. Watch them carefully because they fry quickly. Place them in a bowl lined with paper towels and allow them to cool until you can easily handle them.
All that’s left to do is to fill a piping bag with your favorite filling, fill them then sprinkle or roll them through some powdered sugar.
What to Fill Paczki With
That’s the great thing about Paczki. You can fill them with anything! I love filling mine with various jams such as seedless raspberry or strawberry. I’ve even filled them with Saskatoon berry jam, which is to die for. Other favorite fillings of mine include lemon and lime curds, custards, chocolate cream or Nutella.
However, the sky’s the limit though, when it comes to Paczki. Did you know they make Pina Colada and Mocha Paczki, just to name a few! How about a chocolate Paczki!
Why Is Everyone Freaking Out About Paczki
Because they’re just that good! When I worked in Detroit, there wasn’t a Fat Tuesday that went by without someone bringing in a box of Paczki for everyone to enjoy! They’re so popular that Fat Tuesday is even sometimes referred to as Paczki Day!
And what’s not to celebrate. We’re talking delectable fried treats filled with prune, jelly, lemon or lime curds, strawberry, raspberry, custards, chocolate, or Nutella! If you’ve never tries these before, I strongly urge you to give them a try.
Looking for More Donut Recipes? Try These:
- Baked Jelly Filled Donuts
- Mandazi, African Donuts
- The Porky Monkey Donut
- Cherry Jam Filled Donuts
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Paczki (Polish Donuts)
- Mix wet ingredients: In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, milk, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Add the yeast and mix well.
- Make dough: Add the flour to the bowl of your mixer, then pour in the milk/egg mixture. Using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated. You will know that the dough is done when it comes clean from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be a soft dough.
- Prepare dough and let rise: Turn over the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a couple minutes, then place the dough in a bowl that's sprayed with cooking spray. I also like to spray the dough with some cooking spray so that it doesn't dry out. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for a couple hours. The dough should double in size.
- Roll dough and cut rounds: Roll out the dough on a floured surface so that's it's about 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut out rounds using a glass or a cookie cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the donuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise again for about 30 minutes until doubled in size.
- Fry donuts: Add about 3 inches of oil to a deep frying pan, I used a Dutch Oven. Before frying the donuts make sure the oil is hot, it needs to be 350 F degrees. Fry the donuts, about 5 or 6 at a time until golden brown on both sides. Make sure you turn them on both sides to fry them evenly.
- Cool: Transfer the donuts to a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain some of the excess oil. Allow them to cool until you are able to handle them.
- Fill: Using a piping bag and a filing tip, pipe your favorite filling into the sides of the paczki.
- Roll the donuts in powdered or granulated sugar then serve.
- These paczki are best the same day they are made. If having leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- If using active dry yeast, please make sure you activate it first by dissolving it in a bit of warm water. If it does not begin to froth up, do not continue with the recipe. Subtract the quantity of water used from the milk.
- Always check the expiration date on your yeast and make sure it hasn't expired. All your yeast products whether it’s in a jar or a package should be stamped with a “Best if Used by” date. Always make sure you check this date, even when you purchase the yeast, who knows it could have been on the shelf past its expiry date.
- To keep your yeast fresh and longer lasting, unopened yeast packages or jars should be stored in a cool or dry place such as your cupboard. However, you can also store your yeast in the fridge or freezer. If you do store it in the freezer and need to use yeast for your baking, make sure you take out the amount you need and let it sit at room temperature for at least half hour before using.
- Once your yeast package or jar has been opened, you must refrigerate the yeast or freeze it in an airtight container.
- One thing to remember about your yeast, is that it is a living organism and over time it will lose activity, even if you’ve never opened the jar or package. So if you don’t bake often, buy the smaller yeast packages rather than a big jar of yeast.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.