The Power of the Paczki
Thousands...and I mean thousands, of these delicious Polish pastries will be consumed this year around Chicagoland and beyond across what is known as Paczki Day or what we at DRM are calling Paczki week. Bakeries around Chicago will be dishing out these round balls of perfectly fried dough stuffed with every flavor imaginable.
When is Paczki Day? Why is it celebrated across two days? What is it that makes this Polish food so powerful that it draws thousands of people to stand in long lines and battle the crowds? Are they even worth the wait? Simply put, YES!
Every year on the Thursday before Lent, people in Poland and also the Polish community here in the United States celebrate Fat Thursday, also know as Tlusty Czwartek. This year Fat Thursday falls on February 8th. I've read that the traditional reason for making these delicious sweets, was to use up all the sugar, eggs, lard, and fruit in the house in preparation for the Christian fasting that takes place during the season of Lent. Traditional paczki that is popular amongst the Polish community are flavors like plum, Bavarian cream, egg liquor, raspberry, cheese, poppyseed, and rose-hip.
Paczki are also celebrated on Fat Tuesday, which falls on February 13th this year. Fat Tuesday draws many locals to enjoy this traditional treat as well! Over the years many Polish bakeries have capitalized on the popularity and starting taking the traditional paczki and putting a special twist on it. I've heard of bakeries stuffing it with cannoli filling ( still searching for that one! ), various fruit fillings....and some of our favorites that we offer here at DRM are stuffed with fresh strawberry and cream cheese, fresh apple and caramel, and this year we are introducing the peanut butter and jelly paczki, along with a red velvet, sea salt caramel, and sour cherry and cream cheese paczki! I can't wait!
I've heard some people refer to these Polish treats as doughnuts...but let me assure you...doughnuts they are not! While a doughnut has a dense dough, and are often a bit sweeter, the paczki is the perfect product of semi-sweet fried dough but with a light, fluffy texture. Many traditional recipes even call for Spirytus to be added so that the alcohol may aid in preventing the dough from absorbing too much oil when fried. I have consumed paczki in the morning for breakfast and also for dessert (Ok, and maybe as a mid-day snack too), and I have found them satisfying and not the sugar overload as you might expect.
DRM Cafe is already taking pre-orders for custom boxes. You can choose from eighteen different flavors, our premium frosted paczki with a sweet filling and also our premium stuffed paczki with fresh fruit and whipped cream or cream cheese! We are offering four days for pick-up and also special pre-orders for Valentine's Day.
One of the perks of working at DRM is that I have had the pleasure of tasting every single flavor...eighteen and counting...that has made its way from our fabulous bakery and into our cafe... and I can assure you...its worth it to pre-order, its worth it to wait in line, its worth it to fight the crowd and get your hands on DRM's authentic Polish paczki! So spread the word...and place those pre-orders today!
Let us all respect the power of the paczki!