When we moved to Chicagoland, almost three years ago, we had very little understanding of Paczki (want to know how to pronounce it? Happy Paczki Day can help). If we hadn't stumbled across an amazing doughnut shop in the north suburbs called Spunky Dunkers, we might still be under the mistaken idea that Paczki are simply a Polish word for plain old jelly donuts, generally eaten on Fat Tuesday. That's what descriptions of Paczki in books always made it sound like. That's what the grocery store bakery packaged Paczki have always led us to believe. Thank goodness Spunky Dunkers has shown us just how misinformed we were. Paczki are not jelly donuts. Or they're jelly donuts on some very seriously yummy steroids.
Let me show you how Paczki are different from jelly donuts. See this box of 12 Paczki? That box weight 7lbs. That's right. 7lbs. No jelly donuts I've ever seen weigh that much.
Be forewarned -- not all Paczki are created equal. Another southern family who moved north tried Paczki from the grocery store. (Click the link and look at the photos of their Paczki. Now look at mine:
I'm sure those grocery store Paczki are nice, but they still resemble jelly donuts more than I think they should. The Paczki I'm in love with are enormous and filled with a huge amount of filling. I prefer mine with that yummy cream cheese, but I'd be game to try those that are filled with brandy-laced cream cheese. I recommend you skip the grocery store version and track down a good Polish bakery or an awesome Polish grandmother who uses a recipe like one of these to make her Paczki:
If you're going to splurge before lent, you ought to really splurge, don't you think? Eat a Paczki for breakfast this morning and try Paczki Bread Pudding for dessert.
Have you ever tried Paczki? Do you have a favorite Paczki recipe or Paczki bakery?
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