Bakers Journal

News
Bring on the paczkis


January 27, 2010
By Brian Hartz



paczki_webJan. 27, 2010 – I don’t know about you, but now that this
unusual January thaw seems to be over, it’s back to the winter blahs for me. I
suppose I need to appreciate winter more.



 If you’re stuck in a rut, experiencing cabin fever, or just
want to drum up a little more business between now and spring, why not try
adding the Polish delicacy known as paczki (pronounced “poonch-key,”
“pooch-key” or “punch-key,” depending on whom you ask) to your display case. In
going through back issues to gather information for our upcoming 70th anniversary issue, I came across quite a bit of marketing material from the
mid-1990s that focused on paczkis as a way for bakers to boost their profits
during the run-up to Lent.


 



paczki_webJan. 27, 2010 – I don’t know about you, but now that this
unusual January thaw seems to be over, it’s back to the winter blahs for me. I
suppose I need to appreciate winter more.

If you’re stuck in a rut, experiencing cabin fever, or just
want to drum up a little more business between now and spring, why not try
adding the Polish delicacy known as paczki (pronounced “poonch-key,”
“pooch-key” or “punch-key,” depending on whom you ask) to your display case. In
going through back issues to gather information for our upcoming 70th
anniversary issue, I came across quite a bit of marketing material from the
mid-1990s that focused on paczkis as a way for bakers to boost their profits
during the run-up to Lent.

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According to Polish tradition, on the Tuesday before Ash
Wednesday (known as Fat Tuesday or Paczki Day; in 2010 it falls on Feb. 16),
bakers would enrich their yeast-raised dough with sugar, shortening and eggs to
create a deep-fried pastry delight similar to a raised Bismarck or jelly doughnut.
Their original purpose was practical: to use up lard and eggs, which are
prohibited during Lent. But now, like king cakes in New Orleans, they are
marketed as a last-minute indulgence before the Lenten season of sacrifice.

I’ve never had a paczki but just looking at the old photos
and recipes is making me very, very hungry. Let us know if your bakery is
making paczkis for the Lenten season and if they’re bringing in customers (and
if you’re in the Toronto area, please save a couple for me!). Also, we’ll post
some more paczki material in our Web Features section in the coming days.
E-mail us if you have recipes, photos or stories to share.


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