Those will Polish heritage are likely familiar with paczki (pronounced PUNCH-kee), which is like a jelly donut. And that bright stripe around the middle points to a good one.
Poland’s version of the jelly doughnut is sold by the dozens in the days leading up to Lent, the 40-day period when Christians fast, pray and do penance in preparation for Easter. They’re especially popular on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, when tradition calls for stuffing yourself silly with the fat and sugar that the faithful know they’ll soon have to say goodbye to.Area bakeries are likely to sell these babies, but I had a hard time finding some locally so I picked up a pack at Kroger. In the Northern Panhandle, Gus's Goodies always had some.
Back in the Middle Ages, the doughnuts were filled with pork fat and fried in lard. They got sweeter, and lighter, once King Augustus III brought French chefs to the Royal Court during his reign from 1734 to 1763. Made with a very rich, sweet yeast dough chock-full of sugar, milk, eggs and butter, they’re a bit more fattening than a traditional doughnut (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
In Poland, “paczki day” is observed on Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday), or the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Here, it's usually celebrated on Fat Tuesday.