Baked Paczki (Polish Doughnuts)

Paczki

 Flickr / Marco Verch

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 10 mins
2 rises: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Yield: 24 doughnuts
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
271 Calories
17g Fat
25g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 271
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 110mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 72mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Polish doughnuts, called pączki, are eaten on Fat Tuesday or Pączki Day in America and on Fat Thursday in Poland before the fasting days of Lent begin. Traditionally, pączki are fried in hot fat, packing quite a wallop in the calorie department and making for a somewhat messy cooking process. This baked version removes some of the guilt from indulging and is much simpler to prepare. When dusted with granulated or confectioners' sugar, they are virtually indistinguishable from fried paczki.

Ingredients

  • 2 (0.25-ounce) packets active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk, no warmer than 110 F

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon brandy, or rum

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, optional

  • Granulated sugar, or confectioners' sugar, optional

  • Fruit paste, or jam, for filling, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add the yeast to the warm milk; stir to dissolve and set aside.

  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.

  4. Beat in the egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum, and salt until well incorporated.

  5. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes until smooth. The dough will be very slack. If much too soft or runny, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour.

  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours.

  7. Punch down the dough and let rise again.

  8. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut rounds with a 3-inch cutter. Remove the scraps, re-roll, and re-cut.

  9. Transfer the rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets, cover, and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer. Heat the oven to 375 F.

  10. Place pączki in the oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.

  11. Remove from the oven; if coating in granulated sugar, brush the tops and sides with melted butter and roll in granulated sugar while still hot. If using confectioners' sugar, let the doughnuts cool before coating.

  12. To fill the pączki, let them cool completely, 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.

  13. Serve and enjoy.

How to Store

Baked pączki seem to keep longer than fried pączki, but they're best eaten the day they are made. If you do need to store the doughnuts, place them in a paper bag on the counter for a day or so, or in an airtight container for up to four days. If the doughnuts were dusted in confectioner's sugar, they will need another coating since the sugar will have dissolved.

Tips

  • If you are unsure of the yeast's freshness, proof the yeast before you begin the recipe.
  • If you don't have a standing mixer, use a wooden spoon to beat the dough until it blisters.
  • You can follow a few tips to cut the rise time if need be.