I had never heard of a packzi before meeting Matt. I have had a lot of fun getting to try some of the Polish traditions with his family, and a day dedicated to donuts is definitely something I can really get behind! I don't know of any traditional Polish bakeries nearby, so Matt's mom usually stops by with donuts for us on Fat Tuesday. A last hoorah before lent starts. What a tasty way to celebrate. It is funny, because now that I am familiar with what a packzi is, I have actually seen them labeled that in the store. Not around here, mind you, but I have seen them labeled as packzi in larger cities. It is fun to be in the know now!
My first try, I thought I had a brilliant idea... and it did not turn out as planned. What I ended up with was tasty, but it was not really packzi.
See, they didn't get as much color. Yummy, but not quite what I was going for!
I have a general rule of not frying at home. I don't want to get in the habit of eating too many fried foods and I hate smelling like the grease. I feel like it soaks into my clothes and hair and the walls and it takes days for the feeling and smell to go away. No thank you! So, I thought I would game the system. I thought maybe if I sprayed them with cooking spray and baked them, they might at least be close. I mean it works for egg rolls and wontons right? Wrong! If you are going to do it, just fry the dang things. I mean it is fat Tuesday for a reason, right?! If you are going to go through the trouble of making them, you might as well really do it. They are a lot better that way, trust me.
1 1/2 cups milk
1 T yeast
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 T brandy
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups flour + more for rolling
Powdered sugar or granulated sugar for coating
1 can fruit pastry filling
- Warm the milk slightly and add the yeast.
- In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, yolks, brandy and salt mixing until incorporated.
- Alternate adding the milk mixture and the flour. Once everything is added, continue to mix for five minutes. The dough will be sticky, but smooth.
- Place in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size
- Punch down and place on a floured surface. Roll to about 1/2" thickness. Cut into 3" circles and let rise for another 30 minutes.
- Either fire up a fryer or get some grease warming in a skillet on the stove. Fry in 350 F oil until golden, then flip. It won't take long on each side, maybe a minute or two. Drain on paper towels then roll in sugar. Wait until completely cool to fill.
I have never been a huge fan of jelly donuts. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat it when presented with one, but it wouldn't be my choice from the case. So, I thought it would be fun to make a strawberry cream cheese filling for something a little different. It turned out pretty tasty!
For strawberry cream cheese filling:
1/2 lb strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
4 T flour
2 T orange juice
8 oz cream cheese
- In a sauce pan, combine strawberries, flour, sugar and orange juice. Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently until quite thick. Let cool completely.
- In a mixer, beat room temperature cream cheese. Add the fruit mixture and whip until mostly smooth (there will still be chunks of berry, but the cream cheese should be smooth).
- Once the packzi are cooled, but filling in a pastry bag. Create a hole in the edge of the donut, insert tip and fill. MMM!
Packzi don't keep well. So you might as well eat them all. It is packzi day after-all, so enjoy yourself!