There are truly few things better than fried dough, filled with sweet jam and or pastry cream and then covered in sugar.
I mean, it may just be one of the world’s greatest treats. Growing up, I remember my grandpa often bringing my brothers and me doughnuts on Sunday morning. I can’t remember what type of doughnuts they were exactly, I just remember loving them. Today I am beyond excited to share this Paczki (aka Polish Doughnuts) recipe with you guys.
Paczki is traditionally made for Fat Tuesday as the ultimate treat! And yes, they really are the ultimate treat. I mean fried dough filled with either fruit preserves and or pastry cream, and then rolled in either powdered or granulated sugar? GIMME now!
I could not decide on whether to use fruit preserves or pastry cream for my filling so I did a little of both. Personally, I’m all about the pastry cream, but the strawberry jelly filled Paczki were crazy delicious too. All the Paczki that I made didn’t even last a day… seriously. I passed them around to everyone I saw and then saved the rest for me. One for a late brunch, one for a little afternoon treat and then one for the next morning. I totally celebrated Fat Tuesday a little early… oops.
Yes, these little guys are dangerous, but SO good. I hope you all get a chance to make them for a super fun Fat Tuesday treat. Or really just an any day of the week treat. These Paczki would also be especially fun for Valentine’s Day! Maybe fill them with a strawberry pastry cream? Or Drizzle them with a chocolate glaze? Yes, yes, make these for Valentine’s Day too!
For the Paczki:
- 1 cup warm whole milk (not boiling, just warm)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Fruit preserves/jellies, for filling
- Vanilla pastry cream, see recipe below (optional)
- Powdered sugar/granulated sugar, for coating
For the Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Let sit 5 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and foamy on top
- After five minutes, add 1 cup of flour and stir to combine. It is OK if the mixture is lumpy, it should resemble a pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes, the mixture should be very bubbly on top.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg until the mixture is pale yellow in color and frothy. Whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, vanilla and salt until combined and smooth.
- Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Add the egg mixture to the dough and mix on medium-low until combined. Add the remaining 2 ½ cups flour and the butter. Mix on medium speed until the dough forms a smooth ball, about 3-5 minutes. If the dough seems a little wet, add ¼ cup more flour to the dough and knead until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the pastry cream. Place the milk and vanilla bean in a medium saucepot set over medium-low heat. Bring the milk to a low simmer and allow the vanilla to infuse the milk. In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar, whisk in the flour until smooth. Once the milk is hot, add about 1/3 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture and quickly whisk to combine. Now add the combined egg-milk mixture to the remaining 1 2/3 cup milk, whisking consistently to prevent the eggs from curdling. Continue to cook the mixture until very thick and creamy, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer, discard the vanilla bean. Cover the cream with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool.
- Now take the heavy whipping cream and whisk it until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes on high speed. Remove the cooled vanilla cream from the fridge and fold it into the whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to roll out the dough, line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough in 15-20 2-3 inch circles. Arrange the doughnuts on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between doughnuts. Cover the doughnuts loosely with plastic wrap and let them proof in a warm place, about 20-30 minutes.
- In a heavy-bottomed large pot or deep fryer, heat at least 2 inches of oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches, use a slotted metal spoon or spatula to carefully place the doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. When done, transfer to a wire rack. Make sure to return the oil to 350 degrees F. between batches. Let the doughnuts cool completely before filling.
- Now pierce the base of each doughnut with a piping tube and pipe a little cream filling OR fruit preserves OR a mix of the two into each doughnut. Sprinkle or roll the doughnut in sugar (powdered sugar or granulated sugar both work great!). Grab a glass cold milk, hot coffee or hot chocolate. Enjoy!
- The paczki are best the same day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you filled the paczki with pastry cream, store them in the fridge.