|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This is a baked pączki recipe for Polish doughnuts, also known as bismarcks. These pastries are eaten on Fat Tuesday or Pączki Day in America and on Fat Thursday in Poland before the fasting days of Lent begin. Herring are eaten on Fat Tuesday in Poland, where the day is known as Śledziówka.
Traditionally, pączki are fried in hot fat, packing quite a wallop in the calorie department. This baked version removes some of the guilt from indulging. When dusted with granulated or confectioners' sugar, they are virtually indistinguishable from fried paczki.
- 1 1/2 cups warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
- 2 packages active dry yeast (remember to proof the yeast before you begin)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
- 1 large room-temperature egg
- 3 large room-temperature egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon brandy (or rum)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- Optional: Granulated sugar, Confectioners' sugar, and fruit paste or jam for filling
In a small bowl or measuring cup, add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum and salt until well incorporated.
Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. My grandmother used to beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it blistered. The dough will be very slack. If much too soft, or if runny, add remaining 1/2 cup flour.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours or follow this quick tip to cut the rise time. Punch down and let rise again.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Transfer rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets, cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place pączki in the oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick tests clean. Remove from oven and roll in granulated sugar while still hot or confectioners' sugar when cool.
To fill the pączki, let them cool completely and then cut a slit in the side and slip a teaspoon of fruit paste or jam inside. Then dust with confectioners' sugar or roll in granulated sugar.
Baked pączki seem to keep longer than fried pączki, but they're best eaten the day they are made.
Note: Always use caution when working with hot oil, especially around children. Have a fire extinguisher designed for grease fires at the ready.