This is my usual Fat Tuesday post with a few updates; I won’t be eating these today, but remember them fondly.
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.
Paczki Day — taking place this year on March 1 — is a good reason to satisfy your sweet tooth. Bakeries, bars, and markets across metro Detroit are offering classic favorites, like custard-filled versions of the Polish donuts, to inventive treats, like vodka distilled with raspberry paczki.
DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s that time of year again – Fat Tuesday, or as we call it in Metro Detroit, Paczki Day.
It’s long been a Polish-American tradition to celebrate the final day before Lent – the 40-day Christian fasting period between Ash Wednesday and Easter – by indulging in paczki (pronounced “poonch-key”).
They’re going to be a hot commodity in Metro Detroit on Tuesday, with people heading out in droves to bakeries and anywhere else they can get their hands on some, like a church in Mt. Clemens that’s giving them out for free.
Here is a list of some of the best places to get paczki in Metro Detroit:
• New Palace Bakery – 9833 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck
• New Martha Washington Bakery – 10335 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck
• Family Donut Shop -11300 Conant St., Hamtramck
• Donut Villa – 5875 Vernor Hwy., Detroit
• American Polish Cultural Center – 2975 E Maple Rd., Troy
• Apple Fritter Donut Shop – 741 E 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale
• Daily Dozen – 32701 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak
• Donut Cutter – 28173 Woodward Ave., Berkley
• GM Paris Bakery – 28418 Joy Rd., Livonia
• Randazzo’s Fresh Market – Locations in Warren, Clinton Township and Macomb
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.