Pączki (Polish Doughnuts)

Polish Dessert

PĄCZKI
(Doughnuts)

INGREDIENTS

1½ tablespoons yeast
1 cup milk, warm
1½ tablespoons water, warm
⅓ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon rum extract or 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
6 cups flour (2 more tablespoons later)
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart lard or vegetable oil
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup of your favorite jam or jelly

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater (with dough hook, if you have it)
sonic obliterator

Makes 20 doughnuts. Takes 3 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add yeast, milk, and water to large mixing bowl. Stir with whisk until yeast dissolves. Add butter. rum extract, salt, sugar. and vanilla. Stir with whisk until sugar dissolves. Add eggs. Mix with electric beater on medium setting until well blended and mixture thickens. Add 6 cups flour gradually and blend with electric beater set on low. (Use beater’s dough hook if you have one.) Mix until dough is smooth and will not stick to your hands. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Roll out dough until it is ¾” thick. Cut dough into 3″ wide circles. (A cookie cutter and upside-down glass work well here.) Let rise for 1 hour on until dough circles double in size.

Add lard to large pan. Heat lard using medium-high heat until a tiny bit of dough dances in the lard. Carefully add as many dough circles as possible without having them touch each other. Fry for 1-to-2 minutes or until the bottom of the dough circles turn golden brown. (Please monitor to prevent burning.) Carefully flip dough circles. Fry for another 1-to-2 minutes or until the second side turns golden brown as well. Remove and place on towel-covered plate. Repeat for the following batches. (Please note that frying times tend to go down with successive batches.)

Let doughnuts cool until they can be handled. Add confectioners’ sugar to mixing bowl. Add doughnut. Turn doughnut until covered with confectioners’ sugar. Use sharp knife to cut a 2″ slit in the middle of a doughnut’s side. Use spoon to insert ½ tablespoon jam into doughnut. Use sonic obliterator on anyone who gives you guff in any way. I mean, geezo flip, you’ve been working with hot grease to make them a super yummy dessert. And no jury would ever convict you.

TIDBITS

1) German bombers attacked London during The First World War, 1914-1918, and World War Two, 1939 -1945.

2) The British, understandably, didn’t like this at all, no not one bit. But what to do? Until the advent of the British radar defense system, the RAC, and later the RAF, found it nearly impossible to find and intercept the German bombers. So, the bombing continued unmolested.

3) Then, on May 19th, 1915, Polish immigrant and master baker, Jan Kowalski, made 20,000 pączki (using this very recipe according to culinary historians) to celebrate the wedding of Antoni Adami and Maja Bartosz.

4) Unfortunately, just before the wedding the father of Antoni told a “Your Mama” joke to the Maja’s mom. It was now well received. Maja’s mom told her husband. Words were said. A few fist fights broke out. The Bartoszes cancelled the wedding. Jan the baker didn’t get paid.

5) Jan’s friend, Bazyli Blaszak, owner of Blaszak’s Catapults was also at the wedding. “I know you feel. I have 500 catapults doing nothing. The British army put in a big order for catapults, but at the last moment they decided to go for75 millimeter artillery pieces instead. Wanted to modernize their army, they said.” He spat. “Dranie.”

6) “Well pierdolić,” said Jan. “We might as well use your catapults to fling my pączki as high as they can go into the sky.” So, the two friends flung up one paçzek after another into the heavens.

7) As contrived luck would have it, a squadron of German Gothas dropped by that very moment to bomb London. The squadron cleared the barrage balloons designed to keep Hun bombers away.

8) But they did not pass through Jan’s and Bazyli’s Polish Doughnut barrage unscathed. Pączek after pączek went through the bombers’ wings, shredding them completely. 31 bombers fell from the skies.

9) The British Army noted the failure of the barrage balloons and invested in anti-aircraft guns, a beefed up fighter force, and 500 polish catapults because hey, they worked.

10) The German air force also took note. All future planes would be designed to fly higher than any catapulted doughnut could achieve. Once the spirit of innovation spread through the Luftwaffe, it never really stopped. Their air planes got better and better. And in May, 1940 the German aircraft played a vital role in overrunning France. Aerial combat had gotten real. So next time, make sure you pay your doughnut caterers.

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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