Donuts Make Me Go Nuts

Peanut buter and jelly

My fascination with donuts is a love-hate relationship. I love to eat them but I have never made them, fearing the long process it takes. My love for them has spawned an entire page in my journal what kind of donuts I would serve if I had my shop. Donut necklace anyone? But my fear is based on how bad they really are for you, hence I’ve always devoured approached them with moderation.

With Fat Tuesday preceeding Ash Wednesday and marking the official start of Lent, I decided to let my donut flag fly a few days ahead and attempt to make these lovely darlings from scratch. But not any old donuts, but paczkis.

Paczkis (pronounced pooch-keys) are Polish donuts served on Fat Tuesday very much resembling their jelly-filled counterparts. In the U.S., paczkis are most commonly found in Detroit and Chicago which have large Polish communities. According to Wikipedia, paczkis are made to use up all the fat and sugar in the house — a big no-no during Lent. No wonder paczkis are famed for sometime having over 1,000 calories per a donut — all that fat and frying create one huge blubber bomb–a well deserved treat for Fat Tuesday.

Frying the donut

Fried and baked

The paczkis start with a rich dough made with eggs, butter and sugar and are deep fried in oil. But I also made a second, less evil version variation: baked paczkis. While both textures are similar, the fried version seemed less like a baked sweet roll and more like an authentic donut. Even the deep rich color of the fried pacazki was more appealing than the baked variety — something I’m sure could be resolved with an additional minute or two in the oven.

Fillings

Filling the paczkis are simple. Cut a small slit into the pastry and fill with your choice of filling. A pastry bag also works fine if you have one on hand. While paczkis are usually filled with preserves or bavarian cream, I chose to fill mine are with peanut butter and grape jelly (an amazing combination in and of itself) and my favorite spread to date, Nutella. A sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar finishes this Polish delight.
Insert Jelly

Confectioners sugar

PBJ donut


Nutella

While I won’t rush to make these again in the near future, I can finally mark off making donuts from scratch off my list of things I must do.

Paczkis

Makes 1 dozen

3/4 cups warm milk (110 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4-3 cups flour

Vegetable oil for frying (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar
Filling of choice

Combine yeast and warm milk; set aside. In medium-sized bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs, rum and salt until mixed.

Add 2 1/4 cups flour alternately with the milk and yeast until smooth. Add additional 1/4 cup of flour if mixture is too wet.

Place dough in a large greased bowl. Cover and put into a dark, warm area until size is doubled. About 1 1/2-2 hours.

Punch down dough and let it rise again for an additional hour.

On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness and cut rounds. Remove scraps, reroll and cut until all the dough is used.

Transfer cut dough onto baking sheets and let rest for 30 minutes until doubled in size.

To bake:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F and bake for 7-9 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Fill with desired filling and shift confectioner’s sugar on top.

To fry:

Pour vegetable oil in large sauce pan until half way full and heat over medium. Fry both sides of paczki for approximately 2 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Turn over and fry other side for additional minute. Drain on paper. Let cool for 5 minutes. Fill with desired filling and shift confectioner’s sugar on top.

(Adapted from About.com‘s baked paczkis recipe.)

23 thoughts on “Donuts Make Me Go Nuts

    • We actually had peanut butter and jelly donuts from a now defunct place frou frou donut place in Beverly Hills so I was inspired to fill my with that combo. It was amazing. Plus healthy if you consider that peanut butter is a good source of protein. 😉

  1. Oh, those look SO good! I never realized how lucky I was as a kid when my mom made homemade donuts for us. As a kid, it’s a total treat. As an adult, I wonder how my mom had the patience to make donuts on top of watching us unruly munchkins!

    Anyway, anything with Nutella inside of it (or PB & J for that matter) is bound to be good. Yum!

  2. I hope you will let us know when/if you plan to open a donut shop. That donut necklace is only the tip of the iceberg I assume??

    And when you do, I expect you to have Nutella filled donuts on your menu. They look delicious!

  3. hi darlene – the portuguese donuts are called ‘malasadas’ and they are everywhere in hawaii. there’s a place called leonards where they’re supposed to be really good.

  4. I want a donut right now! Those peanut butter and jelly donuts are fantastic. And I don’t care if they are over a 1,000 calories.

  5. I can’t even remember the last time I had any sort of donut so this post has my mouth watering! I would love to try a bavarian cream filled one! Darlene, you are so delicious!

    • Thanks!

      I wanted to make a bavarian cream-filled donut in ode to you but so lazy…! I was monitoring the donuts raising between 11-3 p.m. on Sunday so I just filled them with whatever I had in the house. Maybe next time.

  6. Did Alton Brown do a show on fried foods where he proved that if you fry them at the right temperature, they barely absorb any oil at all?

    I made donuts a few weeks ago and filled donuts are way better than regular donuts. I filled mine with blueberry jam and then iced them with some leftover cream cheese frosting. I didn’t even think about putting PB in them!

    Your donuts look delicious!

    • I think I missed that episode. Apparently the 1 tablespoon of rum included in the dough is suppose to prevent the dough from absorbing fat while frying. With that inconsideration, why don’t we drink rum before we eat fatty foods?

  7. It’s “faschnaut” day out here in central PA; the Pennsylvania Dutch version of the same pastry. You are brave to “deep fry” at home. =)

    • You tease me with these faschnauts! I’ve never heard of them. I must investigate…

      And yes, I broke one of my cardinal rules about deep-frying at home. It smelled like donuts for two days which is both delicious and sinful. 🙂

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