Polish Pączki (Doughnuts)
- 1 1/2 cups of warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
- 2 packages of active dry yeast (remember to proof yeast before you begin)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 4 ounces (1 stick) of room-temperature better
- 1 large room-temperature egg
- 3 large room-temperature egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 1/2-5 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 gallon of oil for deep frying
- Granulated sugar (optional)
- Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
- Fruit paste or jam for filling (optional)
- Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy.
- Beat in egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum, and salt until well-incorporated.
- Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth.
- My grandmother used to beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it blistered.
- Dough will be very slack. If too soft, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, but no more.
- Place dough in a greased bowl.
- Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours or follow this Quick Tip to cut the rise time.
- Punch down and let rise again.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.
- Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness.
- Cut rounds with 3-inch biscuit cutter.
- Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut.
- Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
- Heat oil to 350 degrees in large skillet or Dutch oven.
- Place pączki top-side down (the dry side) in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown.
- Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown.
- Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot so the exterior doesn't brown before the interior is done.
- Test a cool one to make sure it's cooked through.
- Adjust cooking time and oil heat accordingly.
- Drain pączki on paper towels or brown paper bags, and roll in granulated sugar while still warm.
- You can poke a hole in the side of the pączki and, using a pastry bag, squeeze in a dollop of the filling of choice.
- Then dust filled pączki with granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar or flat icing.