Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Paczki Day 2009: A Pictorial How To Shape, Fry, and Fill

Welcome to the 2009 installment of Paczki Day at The Sour Dough!

As a good Michigan girl with some Polish relatives (on my father's side of the family), eating Paczki isn't a new thing for me and I've blogged about Paczki before.

This morning I introduced my office to them. With the exception of Mark and Mike, the two guys in the office next to me who both have Polish and Midwestern roots respectively, no one else has ever heard of a Paczki. Like most days when I bring something good in to the office, they didn't last long.

To get you in the mood for Paczki Day, take a look at the whole process of shaping, frying, and filling this delectable sugar bomb of a treat. I'll bet before you are through with all the pictures, you are already plotting where to find a Paczki in your area!

Paczki Cut Out and Ready to Raise
All cut out and ready for a last raise.

Raised Paczki
Paczki, raised and ready to fry!

Paczki in the Oil
In the hot oil! Only about 1 minute a side please...

Frying Paczki in Batches
Just about half way through

Fried but Not Filled
All fried and ready to fill

Paczki Filling Tools
Everything you need to fill your Paczki. Raspberry this year.

Pile o' Paczki
A Pile o' Paczki! All filled and ready for their powdered sugar dusting


And, since around this time of the year my Google Analytics tells me "calories in paczki" is one of the most searched for phrases, there are about 420 calories and 25 grams of fat in each one.

But don't let that stop you from having one today. After all, tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. You can diet then...


1 1/2 packages active dry yeast
10 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 ounce rum or whiskey
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup melted butter
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups canned prune filling or cherry jam
(Note: you can substitute any flavoured jam to your liking, just be careful to avoid the really sweet ones as they will be overpowering. Some recipes I’ve found also use poppy seed paste)
1/2 cup milk, scalded & cooled
1 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar

Step 1: Make the sponge

Activate the yeast by dissolving in the 1/4 cup lukewarm milk( milk will become slightly bubbly and frothy in about 5-10 minutes). Scald the 1/2 cup milk while waiting for the yeast to become activated and gradually add the flour into the scalded milk (I sift my flour before adding it to the scalded milk). Add the yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Cover and let rise until very bubbly (about 1/2 hour)

Step 2: Make the dough

Beat the salt into the egg yolks. Then add the sponge to the egg yolks and salt. Mix very well until smooth. Add the sugar and rum again mixing well. Knead in the bowl until a nice smooth dough ball forms. Next, form a well and pour in the melted butter and combine with your hands until thoroughly mixed. Place in a greased bowl, coat with nonstick cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours). When dough is doubled, punch it down and let rise until double or triple (about 2 hours).

Step 3: Form the paczki:

Divide dough in half, set one half aside in covered bowl so it doesn’t dry out. Roll out the half you are working into a rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a glass (2″ or larger) cut as many rounds as possible. Place a about 3 tsp of filling in the center of one round. Brush edge of round with egg white and cover the filling with another round. Seal edges very well so filling won’t leak out and rounds won’t separate during last rise. Place the filled paczki greased baking sheets. Leave about 4 inches of room between each paczki to allow for rising. Repeat the process until all the dough is used (this recipe will make between 10 - 12 good sized paczki depending on amount of dough). Lightly cover with greased plastic wrap and let the paczki rise until doubled (about 1 hour).

Step 4: Fry the paczki
(note: if you have a deep fryer, make sure you change the oil if you have fried anything other than pastries)

Pour a neutral tasting oil into a deep fryer or deep pan (about 7 inches if you are using deep pan ). Heat the oil until it is about 360 to 370 degrees. Deep fry the paczki for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown on both sides and it floats to the top. Let drain on cooling rack covered with paper towel to absorb any excess oil (flip over after about 2 minutes or so) Dust with powdered sugar when slightly warm. Let cool completely before serving as filling will be very hot otherwise.