Donuts are a traditional food the week before Lent or the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. For many Polish families pączki are a treat for Sundays, holidays and other special occasions.
A plate of donuts with steaming coffee, tea, or chocolate will delight everyone. Anytime from now until hot weather is good pączki weather, so try them now.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
2 rises: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 51 minutes
Makes 2 dozen
1 1/2 cups warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast (remember to proof yeast before you begin)
1/2 cup sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
1 large room-temperature egg
3 large room-temperature egg yolks
1 tablespoon brandy or rum
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 gallon oil for deep frying
Granulated sugar (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Fruit paste for filling (optional)
Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, brandy and salt until well-incorporated.
Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. If too soft, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, but no more.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
Heat oil to 350 degrees in large skillet or Dutch oven. Place pączki top-side down (the dry side) in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot so the exterior doesn’t brown before the interior is done. Test a cool one to make sure it’s cooked through. Adjust cooking time and oil heat accordingly.
Drain pączki on paper towels or brown paper bags, and roll in granulated sugar while still warm. Note: You can poke a hole in the side of the pączki and, using a pastry bag, squeeze in a dollop of the filling of choice. Then dust filled pączki with granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar or glaze.
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)