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Polish Doughnuts or Paczki
As I walk around my favorite grocery store, I came across doughnuts called Paczki in the bakery section. At first it didn't make sense to me because I always thought Paczki was Polish Easter Bread. Then I realized from my earlier marriage that Paczki is actually pronounced "Poonchkey" which is the Polish word for their special doughnut.
From my earlier experiences with Paczki, I remember it as more of a heavy doughnut without a hole in the middle. Instead this doughnut seems to have become synonymous with filled doughnut. I think this is a modern day evolution from the original recipe which you can find anywhere on the Internet by searching for "paczki recipe."
I have always been partial to yeast raised doughnuts. I'm not fond of the cake doughnuts but love to sink my teeth into a good doughnut made from a yeast recipe.
My first mother-in-law only made Paczki on Shrove Tuesday (fat Tuesday) and her traditional doughnut was slightly different from the ones I have seen today in bake shops. She would make the paczki (doughnuts without holes) and deep fry them. Once they came out of the oil they were drained of the grease on brown paper. She would insert a maraschino cherry into one of the doughnuts. The person that found the cherry was thought to have gotten a piece of good luck. Actually all they got was the special doughnut of the day but who am I to refute their beliefs.
Other families use fruit jelly or jam filling in their paczki. I have seen them covered with powdered sugar and some have granulated sugar on them. My mother-in-law only made enough for the family because Paczki was to be eaten only on Shrove Tuesday which signaled the start of the Lenten season and the tradition of giving up something to get ready for Easter. My philosophy is don't give up something -- eat your doughnuts. Do something for someone else instead.
In my second marriage to a man of Italian decent, I make Easter bread dough which is a sweet dough. Since we used to make what we called fried dough with one of the loaves, I use that recipe when I attempt to make this traditional doughnut.