A repeat post with a few minor updates; I won’t be eating these today, but remember them fondly.
It’s Pączki Day, and in Detroit that means you should be sure to wear your stretchy pants or, as my old friend Denise used to say, your expando clothes!
Pączki, or Polish doughnuts, are eaten on Fat Thursday in Poland and Fat Tuesday in the United States. It’s the last splurge before Lent begins.
When I was still working, my employer provided huge boxes of them with every available filling next to the coffee machines in various areas of the building. Considering that the company is owned by Italians, I thought that was darned nice of them. My personal favorites are custard-filled and lemon-filled, but they are all delicious (and fattening.) Yum!
Depending on the size and filling, each pączki will be from 400 – 700 calories. Since they are deep fried, they aren’t low-fat either, up to 20 grams per serving.
According to Wikipedia:
Pączki are made from especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar, yeast and sometimes milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and can be glazed, or covered with granulated or powdered sugar. Powidl (stewed plum jam) and wild rose hip jam are traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including strawberry, Bavarian cream, blueberry, custard, raspberry, and apple.
The traditional reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because their consumption was forbidden by Christian fasting practices during the season of Lent.
In North America, particularly the large Polish communities of Chicago, Detroit, and other large cities across the Midwest and Northeast, Pączki Day is celebrated annually by immigrants and locals alike. With its sizable Polish population, Chicago celebrates the festival on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesday; pączki are also often eaten on Casimir Pulaski Day. In Buffalo, Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Windsor, Pączki Day is celebrated on Fat Tuesday.
The Pączki Day celebrations in some areas are even larger than many celebrations for St. Patrick’s Day. In Hamtramck, Michigan, an enclave of Detroit, there is an annual Pączki Day (Shrove Tuesday) Parade, which has gained a devoted following. Throughout the Metro Detroit area, it is so widespread that many bakeries attract lines of customers for pączki on Pączki Day.
If you wish to indulge in this treat on February 25, Hour Detroit recommends some novel twists on the traditional:
Paczki Day is upon us, and metro Detroit bakeries and eateries sure know how to celebrate. Whether you prefer a classic flavor like Paris Bakery’s Lemon filling or something more creative like Sister Pie’s paczki-pierogi hybrid, here’s where to get your fix this year.
Avalon International Breads
Avalon’s Paczkis are baked instead of fried and contain house-made fillings that are crafted without artificial ingredients and preservatives. Some specialties on Paczki Day include a Vanilla Custard paczki topped with ganache, Lemon Curd with a dash of powdered sugar, and Slow Jams Raspberry Jam coated with glaze. Visit avalonbreads.net for locations.
Rose’s Fine Food
This charming diner is offering paczki by the dozen with flavors including the Plum Butter Paczki — a potato donut filled with roasted plum butter and topped with poppyseeds — or the Rose Custard Paczki, which is filled with creamy rose custard and topped with dried red rose petals. Rose’s Fine Food, 10551 E. Jefferson Ave, Detroit; 313-822-2729; rosesfinefood.com
The Apparatus Room
Claiming the title as the “Paczki Pit Stop” this Fat Tuesday, The Apparatus Room at the Detroit Foundation Hotel is offering paczki in flavors such as Plum, Lemon Meringue, and Dark Chocolate Custard. The tasty treats are made by the hotel restaurant’s pastry chef, Duncan Spangler, and are $3 per paczki or $15 for half a dozen. Orders can be placed now for pickup on Feb. 25. The Apparatus Room, 250 W. Larned St., Detroit; 313-800-5600; detroitfoundationhotel.com
New Palace Bakery
Opening bright and early at 3 a.m. this Paczki Day, New Palace Bakery offers traditional pączki flavors, but also many specialty flavors including Beer & Pretzels. The unique packzi is filled with non-alcoholic beer buttercream and coated with a beer glaze and crushed pretzels. Also new for 2020, is the Banana Cream Cheesecake paczki, which is filled with banana buttercream, cream cheese filling, and graham cracker crumbs before being topped with even more banana cream and graham cracker crumbs and sprinkled powdered sugar. New Palace Bakery, 9833 Joseph Campau St., Hamtramck; 313-875-1334; newpalacebakery.com
Eastern Market Brewing Co.
The Detroit-based brewery is hosting a Paczki and Beer Pairing event from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 25. The paczki are being made by Eastern Market Brewing Co., and beer flights will be available for $20. Eastern Market Brewing Co., 2515 Riopelle St., Detroit; 313-502-5165; easternmarket.beer
The Hamtramck spot is offering up vegan raspberry paczki. Order a half dozen for $18 on Nosh Pit’s website for pickup between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 25. The restaurant, which is typically closed on Tuesdays, will also host a special lunch service. Nosh Pit, 2995 Yemans St., Hamtramck, 313-486-0777; noshpitdetroit.com
For Paczki Day this year, the West Village pie shop will carry Malted Lime and Salted Maple paczki as well as Pieraczki — a pastry that combines a pierogi and paczki. Sister Pie opens at 8 a.m. Sister Pie, 8066 Kercheval Ave., Detroit; 313-447-5550; sisterpie.com
Since I have no pączki at my house, I will just savor the memories! If you would like to try making them yourself, here’s a YouTube video for a less caloric baked version:
Whatever we indulge in today to celebrate the last hurrah before Ash Wednesday, it all represents preparation for the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting, self-examination and penitence, leading up to the death and rebirth at Easter.
It is a season in which we follow Jesus the Savior from His temptation in the wilderness, to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and to the cross on Good Friday. Lent is a season of hope. It looks to the sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of the world and anticipates the joy of His resurrection on Easter Sunday.