Polish donuts - Pączki...

This is one of very few non-vegan recipes on this blog. I'm keeping it here as it's something close to my heart, a piece of my childhood that I don't want to loose. The vegan version will be posted here for sure too, to which I'll link when the time comes.

Those are the donuts I remember from my childhood - which is quite right, as this recipe is my Nana's recipe, but made by my Husband. He decided to "master" the recipe for donuts so... within the last 3 weeks he made donuts 4 times... This donuts are the type of donuts, you would find in a Polish cake shops. They are slightly different from their American or even English cousins. There are few tricks, which help to make those donuts very light, fluffy and create that bright ring around them.

Traditionally, those donuts would be filled with a rose or plum fruit marmalade. Nowadays, you can find them filled with cream and custard, or chocolate. Ours weren't filled with anything, as they were perfect on their own.

How to make it...

- 500 g plain flour (not strong!)
- 4 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
- 1/2 cup of caster sugar
- 4 g dry yeasts
- 30 ml dark rum (will prevent donut from 'soaking' a lot of oil when frying)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250 ml warm milk
- pinch of salt
- 75 g melted unsalted butter
- oil for coating and frying


- Take 100 ml of your milk and dissolve your yeast in it adding about 1 teaspoon of your sugar and 1 tablespoon of your flour. Mix well. 
- Put aside and let yeast work - start to bubble and froth the surface of the milk. 
- In the mean time mix your egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and mix with electric mixer until whole sugar is dissolved and the eggs are pale, yellow colour. 

- Add your yeast and egg mixes to the flour and combine together. When mixing gradually add your salt, whole egg and the rest of your milk, checking if it's enough (you may nod need whole milk). You should have quite loose dough, wetter and looser than the one for bread. 
- Next pour your rum and vanilla extract to the mix. At the very end add your melted butter. Mix with hand for 5 minutes till the dough is nice and smooth. 
- Cover and put aside into a warm place so it doubles the size.

If your dough is too loose after first rising (it goes through your fingers) add a little of flour - it won't spoil your dough. Do NOT flour your surface where you put your risen dough! Oil it with a lot of sunflower oil instead! The flour will stick to your donuts and will burn when frying - resulting in dark, burnt donuts!

- Put your dough on the oiled surface, flatten with your hands to about 1 cm thick and cut your donuts - you can use a normal glass for it. 
- If you want rings use bottle topper to cut the insides. 
- Cover and leave to rise again - it HAS TO double in size again! Or your donuts won't be fluffy inside when fried.

- When your donuts has well risen heat the oil - but not too much! To check if your oil is hot enough (but not too hot) try frying a little bit of bread (a crouton) if it browns nicely within about 2 minutes it's right temperature! If it burns rapidly you have to cool down your oil, if it doesn't even sizzle a little you have to turn the heat on a little bit more. If you'll have too hot oil your donuts will be brown/burnt outside and stodgy inside, the dough won't have a chance to rise/expand properly during frying. Too hot oil will result in creating a crust too quickly so the donut won't have a chance to expand.

- Fry donuts in a shallow pot (he pours 2 l of oil into 4,5 l pot) and fry 6-7 donuts at a one time. Remember that your donuts will rise during frying not only up but they will expand side ways as well.
When you put the doughnut into the oil, they won't sink! They should be well risen (lot of air bubbles inside) which will cause the donut to float immediately. If your donut sinks at the beginning that means your donuts have to rise longer. 
- Fry your donuts about 3 minutes each side. You will see they're getting nice and brown and you should get that light ring around them :)
- When cooled completely sprinkle with dusting sugar, cover with chocolate, sprinkles etc. or a traditional Polish icing for donuts.

✅ Polish icing for donuts:
This really isn't something new or difficult. Take about 1/2 cup of icing sugar and slowly pour enough hot(!) water into it to make a smooth past. Dunk each donut into it immediately, as when cooling down the icing hardens.


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  1. AnonymousJuly 18, 2012

    Anula! My dream - such donuts ! I would like to eat a several at once.

    1. Elena,
      that's exactly my problem! I ate too many... ;)
      Pozdrawiam, Anula.

  2. AnonymousJuly 26, 2012

    Thanks for that recipe. Will definitely try them. They look delicious. Would be nice with little lemon curd too......sweet versus the acid taste of lemon.

    I have yet to try Polish cooking and its about time I did. This will be a good beginning.

    1. Thank you. They look and are delicious - do try them and let me know how it went!
      I have lots of Polish recipes on my website. If you will have any questions just send me a quick email.
      Pozdrawiam, Anula.


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Pozdrawiam, Anula.