Today I share the traditional Polish Paczki. Â Pronounced "Poonch - kee", these delights are often made on Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras which is the day before Ash Wednesday that marks the beginning of the Lenten fast.
Soapsmith's Traditional Polish Doughnut Paczki
1 1/2 cups warm milk - 110 degrees is ideal for the yeast to bloom
2 packages active dry yeast Â
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of room-temperature butterÂ
6 egg yolks room temperature
2 tablespoons brandy Â
1 tablespoon lemon or orange rind
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying.
Â Powder or granulated sugar for dusting
Optional fillings - vanilla custard, stewed and sweetened fruits or jellies.
Dissolve yeast in warm milk, stir and set aside to proof - the yeast mixture should become foamy. I use my kitchen aid mixer with paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, brandy, lemon rind and salt until well-incorporated.Â
Add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat well until smooth. You can also do this by hand with a wooden spoon if you prefer. Dough will be quite soft. Â You can add a little more flour if needed up to 1/2 cup.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until filled with air bubbles and doubled in bulk, depending on the warmth of your kitchen this will take up to two hours. Once doubled and airy, punch down and let rise again.Â
Work on a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with glass or biscuit cutter. Cover and let Â rise until doubled in size - about 30 minutes.
Heat oil to 350 degrees in large heavy bottom pot. If the oil is too hot the outside will over brown and the center will be under cooked. Â Gently put theÂ PaczkiÂ in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes until the bottom is golden brown. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.Â
DrainÂ PaczkiÂ on paper towels Â and immediately roll in granulated or powder sugar while still warm.Â
They can be served as is or filled with a variety of fillings with a pastry bag, Â Here is a nice custard cream filling, you can use fruits and jellies or purchased fruit paste. Â Prune is traditional but you can use raspberry, lemon curd, strawberry, apricot, cherry, pineapple, poppy seed etc.
Custard Filling for Paczki or Cream PuffsÂ
2 T butter
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt butter. Blend in corn starch, sugar and salt. Gradually add milk. Heat to boiling over direct heat. Stir into slightly beaten egg yolks. Return to heat and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vanilla. Cool thoroughly. Makes 2 cups. Â If you want to fill all of the Paczki, you will need to double the cream filling recipe.