Every year, the Polish Food Store in Houston celebrates Pączki Day both on Tłusty Czwartek, the traditional Polish feast marking the last Thursday before Lent and again on Fat Tuesday by cooking up hundreds of pączki. Fat Tuesday gets its name from the Catholic practice of using up fats and other rich foods before Lent, the period of fasting and penitence before Easter.
On Tuesday morning, March 4, 2014, cold temperatures and a freezing rain didn’t stop Mariola Wosiak and Alina Bobinski from showing up at the Polonia Restaurant in the early morning hours ready and willing to cook dozens of pączki for Houston’s Polish community.
The cooks worked continuously separating egg yokes, mixing yeast and dough, kneading the dough, letting it rise, rolling out the dough, cutting the dough into doughnut shapes, letting them rise again, hand rolling each pączek into a ball, frying one side in hot oil, turning them over to fry the other side and then removing them from the oil. After cooling for a few minutes, each pączek was injected with a plum jelly and then dipped in a liquid sugar glaze.
It seems like a lot of work for a simple doughnut but the end result was a delicious treat to celebrate the day before lent begins.
Below are a few photos of the process and there is a slideshow of more photos on page 2.