Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Time To Make the Paczki

Fat Tuesday: the day before Lent begins. Depending on where you hail from the celebration of food and drink is variously known as Mardi Gras, Carnevale, Carnival, Fasching, etc.. In Detroit Fat Tuesday is known as:

paczki day at smalls

Time to make the paczki!

more paczki

Originally made just once a year paczkis are theoretically not just doughnuts. An authentic paczki is made with eggs, flour, lard and grain alcohol mixed into fruit fillings like cherry, raspberry, apricot or – most traditional of all, prunes. They are topped with with sugar – granulated or powdered – or glazed with icing. In time New World flavors such as custard, chocolate and lemon were added to the repertoire, now you can find just about everything from PB&J filled to paczki chili dogs.

Image result for weird paczki chili dog

Back in the olden days, by which I mean the 70s and 80s, paczkis could only be had the week before Ash Wednesday and most people bought them on Fat Tuesday which meant huge lines encircling the blocks where the Hamtramck bakeries cranked them out. They still do, although this year requires masks and social distancing: and a high tolerance for the cold.

Image result for paczki day lines in hamtamck detroitNew Palace Bakery line in Hamtramck, yes I did that – once.

Nowadays you can find them in Kroger or just about anywhere else within a 200 mile radius of the Hamtramck epicenter. That’s because outside of Hamtramck, unless you’ve located an authentic Polish bakery, paczkis are just the temporarily rebranding of filled donuts. Even my neighborhood Italian grocery is selling cannoli and tiramisu “paczkis” this month.

cannoli paczkiCantoro’s Cannoli Paczki

Now regarding the pronunciation: always tricky as the Polish language doesn’t use vowels like the rest of the Western world. Correctly pronounced “paunch-key” they are more commonly called “poonch-keys” around town. So run down to your local donut shop: odds are they’ve caught on and are selling their jelly filled donuts today as “paczkis.”

Paczkis, aka donuts the other 11 months of the year

Grab a dozen or so, after all it is Fat Tuesday, and you can always share. Nobody will tell.

dog powdered sugar nosePaczkis? What paczkis?