Paczki in Phoenix – Mardi Gras, Fat Thursday and Where To Get The Polish Pastry

Culture

It’s almost time again for Fat Thursday – Tlusty Czwartek (February 27th in 2014) – a big day in the Polish community, and stuffing yourself silly with those Polish pastries called Paczki. So where can you find these: check out the listings at the bottom.  They are worth the extra few calories.

The Polish community in Phoenix which seems to be growing exponentially as people flee the cold of New Jersey, Connecticut and Chicago, to new plush homes, plenty of parking and of course the warm weather, has brought with it the paczki and every year we have several thousand people find this site because of this post. The Paczek is the king/queen of Fat Thursday. This fried dough filled with jam symbolizes this day and there are more places to get them now then ever before in Phoenix.

A pączek is a deep-fried piece of dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with confiture or other sweet filling. Pączki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing 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.

→ From Paczki on Wikipedia.

How to say it?

  • PACZEK-say (PAWn-checK) singular
  • (PAWn-chkee) plural

polish pastry

Photo: Artur Ciesielski

My parents in law who still live in Poland speak often of this day when they hand make dozens of Paczki and eat all of them themselves: gobs of fresh made ones from local ingredients.  While dough is always specific to a location, i.e where the ingredients come from, a well crafted soft ball of filled dough will delight and thrill a prove to be extremely satisfying.

It does not sound like anything, but eating these is as unhealthy as it’s delicious.  Just thinking of fresh paczki wets my appetite. It may look like a doughnut with no hole or a doughnut filled with something, but it’s not.  It’s crispy and much different with the traditional filling, that you must try them.

Now where do you get them in Phoenix. I don’t know. There used to be a couple of places like Europa Pastry Cafe, but like many family businesses, this one closed. So I’m going to make my own.

UPDATE

This last weekend I made my own Paczki. It was the first time and they turned out really good. I used Canola oil for frying and no alcohol. They were moist, not oily at all and they had that distinct paczki taste. Search for how to make paczki on the internet and you’ll find lots of ways to do it.

Aside from the waiting time for them to rise, I spent a total of 20 minutes making them plus the fry time.

Well worth the effort to make them on you own.

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