Deep-fried doughnut goodness.
That’s the pączki (pronounced "pownch-key") in a nutshell. They are deep-fried pieces of dough shaped into flattened spheres and filled with fruit and cream fillings — everything from strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, apricot, custard, chocolate and cream.
Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or granulated sugar. Traditionally, grain alcohol was included in the recipe to prevent the pastries from getting oily.
“Pączki is our basic doughnut dough but with some added richness,” including extra eggs, sugar and shortening, said Jennifer Evans, owner at Evans Bakery in Old North Dayton.
The pączki is a “Polish twist” on the doughnut that has a lot to do with the Catholic faith, said Theresa Hammond, owner of Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood.
In Poland, pączki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In American, that takes place on Fat Tuesday.
“The pączki even though they’re Polish in ethnicity, they’re a lot like our American filled doughnuts; the dough is just a lot richer and sweeter than a typical doughnut,” Hammond said. “Keep in mind this is your last big treat if you’re going to give up something for Lent as far as a sweet treat.”
Find pączki on Fat Tuesday at the following local bakeries:
- Ashley’s Pastry Shop, 21 Park Ave., Dayton. Open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Info: 937-293-1719. Cost: $1.25 each.
- Evans Bakery, 700 Troy St., Dayton. Open 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Info: 937-228-4151. Cost: $1.25 each; $15 per dozen.
- Dayton-area Kroger stores; locations vary. Cost: 4 for $2.99, a dozen for $8.99.
- Dorothy Lane Market stores, multiple locations: 2710 Far Hills Ave, Dayton | 6177 Far Hills Ave, Dayton | 740 N Main St, Springboro. They’re carrying paczki from the iconic Milton’s Donuts, and come in custard, lemon and raspberry fillings.