It is this time of the year again! On Fat Thursday, all people can indulge themselves guilt free with the delicious, soft pastry sprinkled with candied orange peel – Pączki.
The popular tradition appeared in Poland and eastern Germany already in the 17th century, however, its origins are much older. Some say that Fat Thursday began already as a pagan celebration announcing the end of winter and upcoming spring. The abundance of food was supposed to elicit prosperity and good crops for the whole year. In the course of time, however, Fat Thursday became a catholic custom celebrated on the last Thursday before the beginning of the Lent. The merry celebration was followed by the 40-day long fasting season which begins on Ash Wednesday, during which people ate mostly potatoes and buckwheat while focusing on work and prayer.
The doughnuts eaten on Fat Thursday a few centuries ago differed significantly from what we now today as delicious “Pączki”. They were usually sprinkled with pork rind and filled with different kinds of meat. In some regions, they were prepared without yeasts what made them much harder and crunchier. Today Pączki are sweet and soft. According, to a survey conducted a few days ago 37% of Poles are going to eat at least 3 doughnuts on Fat Thursday and only 5% of respondents are not going to eat them today. How about you? Are you ready to try out this traditional Polish pastry yourself?
- 25g fresh yeast
- 0.5 glass of warm milk
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 full egg
- 4 teaspoons of vanillin sugar
- 275g flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 35g butter
- oil for frying
- 3 tablespoons of candied orange peel
- 0.5 glass of confectioner’s sugar
- Crumble yeast into a big mug. Add 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 0.25 glass of warm milk. Stir and let it rise for 15-20 minutes.
- Mix egg and egg yolks with vanillin sugar. Mix flour with salt in a big bowl. Add the yeast extract and the rest of warm milk to the flour. Stir slowly. At the end add eggs with sugar. Knead the dough for 15 minutes. Add the melted butter and knead for another 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place.
- After the dough doubles its size (approx. after 1.5 hours), roll the dough (it should be quite thick). Using a glass cut 10 circles out of the dough and let them rise for about 45 minutes.
- Fry the dough in a preheated oil until they become browned. Turn them to the other side in the middle of frying. Afterwards put them on a paper towel to get rid of excessive oil.
- Pour the icing over the doughnuts and sprinkle them with candied orange peel.