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Paczki day


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Paczki have been a big deal in this area (western Mass) for a couple of weeks now. The local large supermarket chain has a big billboard that proclaims "The Paczki are Here!"

There's a pretty large Polish population in this area (Palmer, Ware, Chicopee, Indian Orchard), though not too many bakeries are still in operation. A local author, Suzanne Strempek Shea, has written several novels about growing up in the Polish-American community:

Selling the Lite of Heaven, Hoopi Shoopi Donna, Lily of the Valley. Great reads.

I've never quite figured out the real differences between paczki, jelly doughnuts and Israeli sufganeyot. Maybe I need to do some more research :biggrin:.

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How do these differ from jelly doughnuts?

I'm not sure what the "real" distinction is, but from what I can tell paczkis are bigger and have more filling than normal jelly doughnuts. And the dough seems denser, heavier. Seriously, these things feel like they weigh a ton.

Now I'm trying to digest this thing. Time to hit the gym at lunch today, I guess!

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  • 1 year later...

growing up on the east end of long island they were big - especially in southold and bridgehampton. now here in new jersey you did have to do a bit of a trip down to around near trenton/jamesburg to get some good ones - especially mendokers bakery. the local pathmark had some but they looked pathetic and they still have cruishiki? WTF?

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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There are generally 2 differences: 1) the percentage of fat in the dough is about twice that of a doughnut 2) size should be about 30% larger than typical doughnut.

I made a whole lot of these in culinary school as I always seemed to be in bakery rotation on Fat Tuesday.

Tobin

It is all about respect; for the ingredient, for the process, for each other, for the profession.

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...

Now I'm trying to digest this thing. Time to hit the gym at lunch today, I guess!

That's what Ash Wednesday fast is for... :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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It's a BIG day for paczki in Chicago!

:biggrin:

Up and down Milwaukee Avenue, you'll find Polish bakeries selling paczkis, kolackys and whatnot.

I call the bus that traverses this street "The Warsaw Express." Lots of little Polish ladies clad in babushkas climb aboard and read the Dziennik Związkowy.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Wow....yet another thing we don't have in Canada (as far as I'm aware).

I doubt I could stop at just one, though, if they were available.

Ling, they are in Canada, just not in Western Canada.

We have them here in Ontario.

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The only real difference between paczki, jelly doughnuts, sufganyiot and, for that matter, Berliner pfannkuchen, is the name. Maybe there are slight variations in dough and flavors of jam fillings, but that's about all. The best paczki are made in the bakery, A. Bliekle in Warsaw, Poland. Most Lenten special cakes are fried, a throwback, I have been told, to times when cooking fats were saved throughout winter and used up at this season, before fresh ones became available. Maybe that's even true....

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  • 11 months later...

they're back in nw new jersey...

going to have to check out the bakery in wharton. they changed hands during the holiday and supposedly the new owners are from poland...

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Back when I was growing up in Chicopee, Mass going to Polish Catholic church in Holyoke, we called these "jelly doughnuts." None of my extended Polish family ever called these paczki or made them. Me and my Mom think it's a marketing ploy. It's certainly not a tradition from where we came from (Southeastern Poland aka Galicia). I never heard of them until the Big Y grocery chain in Western Mass (mentioned above) started making a big deal out of them. Maybe it's a more recent Polish tradition from the newer immigrants coming over. The concept of using up sugar and fruit before Lent assumes that you were rich enough to have sugar and fruit! That sure wasn't my little Polish farming family.

I've eaten them, but you have to eat them real fresh or they become like little hockey pucks. Not even the birds will touch em once they go stale.

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Mmm, my Babcia (little old Polish grandmother, requisite babushka) used to bring me these, from time to time. Our Polish butcher, Joe, would get them on certain days, and she would buy a bunch when they were fresh. My favorite were the prune, too, because you can't find anything similar anywhere else.

They were so good...it was like eating deep fried sugarcoated prune stuffed whipped fat. Ohhh yes.

I didn't know they had an actual Day, though. There's a holiday I can endorse.

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The only real difference between paczki, jelly doughnuts, sufganyiot and, for that matter, Berliner pfannkuchen, is the name. Maybe there are slight variations in dough and flavors of jam fillings, but that's about all.  The best paczki are made in the bakery, A. Bliekle in Warsaw, Poland.  Most Lenten special cakes are fried, a throwback, I have been told, to times when cooking fats were saved throughout winter and used up at this season, before fresh ones became available. Maybe that's even true....

Real Paczki are NOT JELLY DOUGHNUTS, they are divine morsels from the depths of 375 degree oil. They are best when fried, which is why home-made really surpass the kinds of jelly doughnuts that get passed off as paczki, even on Milwaukee Avenue. They have to be fried until they are as dark as can be or the interior won't be fluffy (i.e., properly cooked). My grandmother used to make these without any filling at all, just pinch off bits of dough and fry them up. They have no shelf life whatsoever. And yes, that's what Ash Wednesday and the next Friday (two fast days in one week) are supposed to be for.

Many of these "Shrove/Fat Tuesday" traditions began in the middle ages when many things were scarce due to the dwindling pantry and/or forbidden by the church (basically for the same reason) as preparation/participation in Lent. The beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs were a way to utilize the eggs that the hens continued to lay through the winter months without eating them.

As for Jewish traditions...the only equivalent I can think of are Hamentashen for Purim or Gelt for Channukah.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Is there any Jewish Polish tradition of these? I'm unfamiliar with them.

Traditionally what oil would have been used for deep frying a 'sweet' dish in Poland or other northern climes while keeping kosher?

I think the most common fat for frying there and in other North European countries was lard. I'm not familiar with recipes for sweet goods that were deep fried in chicken or beet fat, and I'm not sure if there were vegetable oils appropriate for frying available then. Clarified butter could be used for shallow frying (eg. blintzes) and further south, olive oil would have been an option.

Pardon me in advance, if I'm blanking out on something obvious!!! :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Wow....yet another thing we don't have in Canada (as far as I'm aware).

I doubt I could stop at just one, though, if they were available.

Ling, they are in Canada, just not in Western Canada.

We have them here in Ontario.

Saw them at SuperStore the other day. DH wanted to try them but we thought they were just regular jelly doughnuts. May have to give them a try now...

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