Yes, you do make them at home. Or at least my polish grandmother does, and those are the only ones worth eating in my book. Any store-bough Paczki is a terrible imitation because it *is* a jelly-donut. Real Paczki (or at least my family’s real Paczki) are denser, fried in lard (yes, lard) and thus have a different flavor and texture, and are traditionally filled with a prune. It is more appetizing than it sounds. Enjoy your paczki of whatever variety :)
Those are some fine looking doughnuts. I’m curious about that poppyseed filling–I’ve never seen anything like it. What’s it like? And are these paczki available all year around? Weber’s neighbourhood is little out of my way, but I’d like to make the trek at some point.
Maria- In Chicago the tradition is to buy them from your favorite bakery. I am sure your grandmother’s paczki are great and very authentic, the rest of us will have to settle on these terrible imitations. :)
Katie- The filling is a paste made out of poppyseeds. It is delicious and is pretty popular in Chicago bakeries, you’ll also find it in coffee cakes and sweet rolls. Solo brand still makes a canned version, I think. I am in the process of trying to figure out how to make it at home. Will keep you posted. Call Weber’s and ask about what they have year round. I think they keep the custard and the jelly in the case all year, but I’m not sure. If you make the trek down, you can go to Vito and Nicks for pizza!
Fastnachts Day is very popular here in eastern Pennsylvania. Many churches still make them for today as a fundraiser, and they are usually plain with powdered sugar or made in the form of a stick and glazed. Poppyseed and nut strudels are very popular, especially around Christmas. I’ll be interested when you perfect your own poppyseed filling as I’ve only used either Solo or a homemade one that I can sometimes get at our farmers market.
I agree it’s awesome, but it’s really not fair!! I’m supposed to be concentrating on other things – now have visions of these delights in my head (unobtainable in good quality here in San Diego) (at least to my knowledge)…..
Sweet, I love reading about other families’ traditions around food (improvised, authentic, or otherwise). Thanks for sharing! That poppyseed paczki looks killer, and I’d love to get my hands on an apricot-filled one.
Seriously? I have never even heard of these. But now that I’ve seen them, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say I’d be willing to fly to Chicago TONIGHT for that poppyseed version. Of course, it would help if I actually had some money for a plane ticket. And maybe a few days off work. Other than that, I’m TOTALLY THERE!
It was really nice to read about “Paczki Day” this morning, it really made my day better. Actually, in Poland we celebrated it last Thursday (it is called Fat Thursday, quite easy to guess why). The idea is just the same – to eat as much paczki as you can. Some people make them at home, especially during the carnival, but rather only crazy food bloggers like me or those who have much to much time. If you know where to go, the bought ones are pretty good. The most traditional ones (at least in my region) are filled with rose-petal jam, but the most common with strawberry jam rather. As Maria wrote, the very traditional version was fried in lard, but I do not think many people do that now.
I know I wrote too much, but I coudn’y resist, when you wrote about something Polish! Happy Paczki Day then!
That is great, Karolina! I am glad to hear about the celebration in Poland. I guess after coming to the states, we adopted the “Fat Tuesday” tradition. I bet your homemade paczki are great! We can sometimes find the rose petal jelly in bakeries here, but they are rare. Happy Paczki Day!
We picked up 13 dozen, and some King’s cake. Absolutely the best!!!! We distribute to our customers in the wetern suburbs of Chicago who love them. The line is long, but moves. I counted 20 girls behind the counter. We’ve been doing this run for a number of years and well worth the effort to get ther early .
I just moved back to the Chicago area last week, but (quite unfortunately) hadn’t heard of paczki growing up. I saw them at the Swedish Bakery in Andersonville this weekend, though, and my curiosity was piqued—so glad to see your post on the subject today! Enjoy this delicious holiday. :)
Next time your on Archer ave…try Obbie’s pizza right down the street. I would be interested in your comments vs Vitos & Nicks. I think its better…Also, try Joe and Franks for fresh polish and Italian sausage, on Archer and Harlem, right next door to Webers. Delicious and you think your in Warsaw at the counter! With Portillos right around the corner on Harlem, I think its the best local neighborhood street of fresh popular Chicago style food and eating in the city…Dan
i was discussing “poonch-key” with my friend who celebrates & she said that her family tradition is always to purchase …i would like to surprise her one day with a version of….do you have a great poppy seed recipe?
happy fat tuesday tim!
This part sounds decadent to me:
“Some people prefer to omit the butter and to cook the ground poppy seeds with 2 cups milk and the honey until the mixture is thick. The other ingredients are then stirred in.”
Hi Linda! So, it looks like Alex shared a link for a poppyseed filling recipe. I have been researching this and am planning on coming up with my own poppyseed paste, but I can sometimes get lazy so you better turn to recipes like the one he shared for inspiration. (thanks, Alex!)
Dan, Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely give Obbie’s and Joe& Franks. All sound great.
Oh, man, you guys are killing me! When I lived in St. Louis, I eagerly anticipated paczki every year. Had to switch over to king cake when we moved to the New Orleans area. Now we’re near Paris, and though I hate to whine about it, the fried dough things here aren’t doing it for me. Must track down a Polish bakery next year…
I have tears in my eyes at the memory of this bakery. My grandparents lived a block away (on Nordica) and we would always walk there whenever we came from Michigan for a visit. The kolaches were always at the tip top of my list, apricot and prune being my favorites. Oh the flaky, buttery goodness!
My grandparents have been gone since the 1990’s and I rarely come to Chicago but oh the sweet memories! Thank you for bringing them back.