Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's Paczki Day!

In our family, Mardi Gras means paczki!  If you don't know what it is, paczki is a Polish donut that is traditionally eaten the day before Lent begins (A.K.A. Fat Tuesday).  No, we're not Polish, but when I was growing up our next door neighbors were.  Mrs. Guzik taught my mom how to make pierogi (stuffed Polish dumplings), but my mom got her paczki recipe from an article in the Detroit News printed in 1985.  
Here's what happened with our paczki today---

At 7:15 this morning, I rolled my bum out of bed, went down to the kitchen and scalded myself some milk.  Then, I had to wait and wait and wait for it to cool down to room temperature.  I even tossed the whole pan in the fridge at one point.  Finally, I got the dough going and got it to do its first rise in the oven.  Here's my dough rising secret --- turn on the oven at 350 for 2-3 minutes, shut the oven off and throw the covered dough in.  It's warm enough to get the yeast rising but cool enough to not cook it.   Then, I made my little balls and put them in the oven for rise #2.  Here they are just waiting to become yummy paczki!
My mom showed up just in time with her deep fryer and pastry bag with the attachment to fill the paczki.  She was in charge of the frying...

...and I was in charge of the filling.  There are no photos of that because it was such a MESS!  The metal attachment used to put the filling in the paczki wanted to keep going inside the pastry bag!  I had strawberry jam all over my hands and thus my sweatshirt (I accidentally wiped my hands on it) when all was said and done.  

We quickly whipped up some glaze and the kids did the glazing for us.  I have no idea whose hand that is in the first picture.  Grandma trying to steal a paczki before they're glazed?

The Cobbler showed up just in time to take a photo of all of the paczki makers and eat a warm one.  Yum!  We finally finished up around noon.

There's still time!  You can make some paczki today!  Here's my mom's recipe:

Homemade Paczki
3 c. milk
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) butter, softened
1 t. salt
3/4 c. sugar
12 egg yolks
1/2 jigger rum (or 2 t. vanilla or rum flavoring)
1 t. grated lemon rind
2 packages (or 5 t.) rapid rise yeast
1 t. sugar
1/4 c. warm water
12 c. all purpose flour (approximate)
shortening or canola oil for deep frying
fruit butter or preserves for filling

1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 c. orange juice

Scald milk then cool to room temperature.  Add butter, salt, and sugar and mix well.  Add yolks, rum, and lemon rind.  Dissolve yeast and 1 t. sugar in 1/4 c. warm water.  Add to mixture.

Begin adding flour one cup at a time, stirring until mixture is too thick to effectively stir with a utensil.  At that point, work mixture with your hands.  When dough comes away from the bowl, stop adding flour and knead briefly.  

Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover.  Put in a warm place and allow dough to double in volume.  You can punch down and do a second rising at this point to make more airy paczki, but it's not necessary to make a good end product.  Spread work area with waxed paper and lightly oil surface or spray with cooking spray.  Also, grease your hands for the following procedure.

Form dough into balls about twice the size of a walnut and place a few inches apart on greased wax paper.  Cover and allow balls to rise until light and puffy.

Heat oil in deep fryer to 350-360 degrees.  This takes some practice.  If the oil is too hot, the paczki will brown too fast on the outside and the inside will remain raw.  Drop balls into oil and allow to fry until lightly browned on all sides.  Turn with tongs.  Gently remove paczki with a slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. When cooled, inject each paczki with about 3 T. of filling of your choice.  Makes between 2-3 dozen depending on size of dough balls.

Glaze: Combine a 1/2 c. orange juice, 1 T. rum, and 1 1b. confectioners sugar.  Mix together until smooth.
Drizzle glaze on top of paczki or dip each paczki in glaze.  

Alternate Glaze: Add 1 T. milk and 1 t. vanilla extract to 1 lb. confectioners sugar.  Continue adding milk until mixture is smooth.

Happy Paczki Day!

1 comment:

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Looks like a fun morning with a delicious result! What great memories and family traditions you're giving your children.