Paczkis (Polish Mardi Gras donuts) (this one is unfilled)
Paczki (Polish Mardi Gras donuts)
Servings: 20
Author: Leona Konkel
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 3 egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or rum (I used rum)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • oil for frying
  • filling of your choice
  1. I started by proofing my yeast in the warm milk. I stirred the yeast into the milk and let it set for about 20 minutes (the length of time it took for a leisurely morning stroll with my dog).
  2. I creamed together the sugar and butter in my stand mixer using the paddle attachment. To that I added the egg, egg yolks (that I'd frozen previously), rum, and salt. I added the 4 1/2 cups flour and milk with yeast in stages, beginning and ending with flour. I continued to use the paddle attachment to knead the dough for about 5 minutes longer. It was still a little too sticky, so I added 2 tablespoons more flour.
  3. I scraped the dough into a large greased metal bowl, covered it with greased plastic wrap, and placed in it a slightly-warmed oven to rise. I let it rise for about an hour and a half, until it had doubled in size. Right now I can't decide if the original recipe calls for a single rise before shaping or two, but when I made it I decided it called for two rises; at this point I gently kneaded the very slack dough, deflating it, and covered it to let it double in bulk again. This second rise only took about an hour.
  4. It was around this time that I made pastry cream to fill them with. I'll talk about this a few minutes.
  5. I turned the dough out onto a floured surface and rolled it out until it was 1/2 inch thick. The dough is very slack, so you barely have to roll it out at all. I don't have biscuit or cookie cutters (or if I do, I've forgotten all about them), so I used a glass dipped in flour that is roughly 3 inches in diameter to cut the paczki. I placed them on Silpat-lined baking sheets so I could move them to a convenient place to let them rise. I rerolled the scraps of dough, and shaped 2 regular donuts with the scraps left at the end. I placed the paczki in a warm place to let rise for 30 minutes, until doubled in size again.
  6. The paczki got to rise longer, though, because I didn't heat my oil until they had already doubled. I decided to use my deep fryer for this, rather than a skillet on the stove. The bright side to this? Steep sides to prevent oil splatter, and a built-in temperature gauge. The downside? I only fried two at a time because I didn't want to overcrowd my fryer. I made 20 paczki, plus two bonus donuts. Each paczki fried for 5 minutes total, so you can see that frying them took a while. I may have been able to fit 3 paczki at once, but I didn't want to lower the oil temperature too much by trying to fry too many at once.
  7. I heated my oil to 350F, and fried each paczki for 2 1/2 minutes on 1 side, and 2 minutes on the other. This made each donut a deep brown. I removed the paczki from the oil using my fry basket and my tongs, and I drained them on a cooling rack over a pan. I also eventually transferred them on to paper towels. The paczki, as well as the donut-shaped ones, fried up well.
  8. Once paczki are cool, fill them with your favorite filling. Use the nozzle of a pastry bag to clear a hole inside, then squirt in the filling. Squeezable jam may work well for this. 

  9. Dust with powdered sugar or a powdered sugar glaze. If using a dairy-based filling, store in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from The Spruce.