Ponchiki

Until a few days ago, I was sure Polish Pączki have something to do with Easter bread Paska because for a Russian speaking person this word looks like it should sound the same. I was wrong and I was wrong. Apparently, Pączki are pronounced POONCH-key [ˈpɔnt͡ʂkʲi] and are similar to what I know as Ponchiki from my childhood. Only now I discovered their name came from the Polish language!

Tłusty Czwartek Tradition

Polish Paczki are made for Fat Thursday in February to celebrate the last day before Lent fasting begins. In North America, Paczki Day typically occurs on Fat Tuesday. The dough for Pączki is enriched with eggs, fats, sugar, yeast, and milk.

Pączki

“Pączki are deep-fried pieces of dough typically filled with confiture. They are covered with powdered sugar, icing, glaze or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally, Spiritus) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough. The common opinion is that the ideal pączek is fluffy and at the same time a bit collapsed, with a bright stripe around – it is supposed to guarantee that the dough was fried in fresh oil.” — wiki

Polish doughnuts pączki
Polish doughnuts pączki

Tips and Tricks

Dough. The dough is soft and sticky. For the perfect crumb, it needs gentle care on all steps.

Filling. Most of fruit preserves and jams are not thick enough for the filling. I made my own prune filling (for 10 pączki) by blending together the following ingredients until smooth:

  • 150 g prunes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tbsp amaretto
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (without added sugar)

Shaping. The method of shaping pączki shown in this recipe is not the one an the only. It is the fastest and easiest if you care the filling is in the center with an even layer of dough aroun it, but you will end up with scraps of dough. The best way to use these dough scraps is combining them back together into a ball, giving it at least 30 minutes to rest, and making plain doughnuts.

Deep Frying. The temperature of the oil is crucial. That’s why it is more difficult to fry pączki to perfection without professional frier. Ideally, you want to place the whole batch of doughnuts into the hot oil at the same time, so the temp of the oil drops for all of them at the same time. When placed one by one, the first doughnut gets the highest temperature and puffs too fast. When it happens, its shape deforms and it is more difficult for it to float in the oil the way both sides are fried equally. In other words, it puffs like crazy and keeps turning so the only one side is browning all the time.

Experienced cooks who made pączki many times suggest piercing once both sides of the doughnut before frying and placing each doughnut bottom side first into the hot oil for the same reason — to control their puffing.

Polish doughnuts pączki
Polish doughnuts pączki

Polish Doughnuts | Pączki

Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time4 mins
Total Time2 hrs 4 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Eastern European, Polish
Keyword: dessert, doughnut, Pączki
Servings: 20 doughnuts

Ingredients

for dough

  • 1000 g wheat flour all-purpose, King Arthur brand
  • 20 g Saf Instant Yeast
  • 150 g sugar
  • 480 ml milk whole, room temp
  • 6 each egg yolks large
  • 1 each egg large
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 2 each lemon zest and juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 100 g butter softened

for filling

  • ~430 g jam or fruit preserves, 17-18g per doughnut

for coating

  • ~50 g confectioners powdered sugar

Instructions

  • In a bowl of stand mixer, combine sifted flour and Saf instant yeast. In a separate large bowl, the rest of ingredients for the dough and whisk until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add liquid mixture to the flour. Using paddle attachment, combine all ingredients.
    Dough for Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes (for KA: speed 2 for 5 minutes + speed 4 for 2 minutes), until a very soft dough comes together.
    Dough for Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
    Dough for Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Dough for Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and turn out onto a floured work surface. With your fingers, gently pat it to make an even layer, sprinkle with flour, and gently roll a rectangular 1/2" thick. Divide it into two halves. Let it rest for 5 minutes, covered.
    Dough for Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Roll both halves 1/4" thick. Using a 3" D cookie cutter, mark 10-12 rounds on one of them, and spoon 1 tsp of filling in the center of each round.
    Shaping Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Place the other half of the dough on top. Using the same cookie cutter, cut out circles around the covered filling. The edges will stick together during the process of cutting. Note: they won't stick well if you have too much flour on the inner side of the dough.
    Shaping Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Lightly oil a baking sheet. Arrange shaped doughnuts on it leaving enough space around each one to double.
    Making Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Cover and leave at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.
    Making Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Fill a large shallow pot with oil 2 1/2" deep and heat it to 175C/350F. Right before frying, pierce the top and the bottom of each doughnut with a toothpick once on each side to prevent forming a bubble around the filling.
    Deep frying Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Fry for about 2 munites on each side, starting bottom (wet side) down, until dark golden brown.
    Deep frying Polish doughnuts pączki
  • Remove from oil to paper towels to drain off excess oil. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
    Polish doughnuts pączki

Notes

About: https://www.seasonsandsuppers.ca/polish-paczki-donuts-recipe/
Source recipe: https://www.mojewypieki.com/przepis/paczki-przepis-i
Shaping method: http://rozik1965.livejournal.com/39292.html
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next to try: Апельсиновые карнавальные пончики
Polish doughnuts pączki