The best paczki don’t come in a box with the word “PACZKI” in giant red letters sprawled across the top of the box, they come in a plain white paper bag from a Polish Catholic church. My great grandparents immigrated here from Poland, and I went to school at St Josaphat’s in Carrollton ( a Twp. next to Saginaw) and Paczki Day was always a special day at school, we got hot fresh paczki from the women making them in the basement. While I was attending school there in the 80’s the parish built a new building across the street from the school, and the name of the church change recently to St John Paul II. They no longer make the paczki in the basement they are still making them with the same recipe in the new building.
A single one is paczek pronounced “pohn-check” and more than one paczek is paczki, pronounced “poonch-key”. There always seems to be a lot of confusion about paczki, I think because the big box stores started selling them, and they just make them with their usual doughnut recipe. A bismarck and a paczek are not the same thing, the box stores need to stop passing off jelly doughnuts as paczki. According to my grandmother, pączki are made with a richer heavier dough that has more eggs and sugar and Grandma said Polish people did not have a lot of money for fancy fillings, if they had any filling at all, it was usually prune. I think people think the paczki is supposed to be fancy like a French pastry or something, but the paczki recipe was a way polish Catholics used up their dairy and eggs and indulged themselves before lent. When you eat a paczki, it’s not just deep fried dough, its part of Polish heritage and reminds me of a time my relatives came over from Poland seeking a better life. They may not have been rich, but they were honest hard working people. Oh and one more thing, authentic paczki do not have any preservatives so if you don’t eat them the day you get them, the next day the are like eating hockey pucks.
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