Pączki - Polish Jelly-filled Donuts #BreadBakers

Once again, I have dusted off the deep fryer, (literally dusted - the last time I used it was April 2017), for this month's recipe.  Our #breadbakers theme for this month is: fried yeasted breads.  I had two ideas in mind for this month, and decided on a Polish jelly filled donut in tribute to my grandmother-in-law.  I don't fry often, in fact I've only deep fried three things ever.  I do love the little fryer that I picked up, the only drawback is that for something like beignets, kare pan, or these Pączki, you really have to do them one at a time.  Makes for a long time at the fryer.  So I made a smaller batch!  (Still ended up with 16!)  Fresh donuts are fabulous, but you don't need that many, especially when they are so rich as these.  Hubby's grandma was Polish and I have her cookbooks, among which was Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans.  There are four different Pączki recipes in the book but no fillings!  It just says a thick filling and that jelly is not thick enough.

For truly traditional, the dough is actually folded over the filling before frying, but I went with filling after frying.  I did choose (after some research) a traditional filling of prune lekvar (plum/prune butter) and mixed it, un-traditionally but deliciously, with a small amount of raspberry filling.  When I was storing leftovers, I mixed them together in about equal proportions and it was fabulous!  Hubby heartily approved and said it could be used for dips, toast, pancakes, fillings, etc.

I was very impressed with how the Pączki turned out.  They are a fluffy pastry, billowy and soft.  Almost like a cross between a choux pastry and a beignet.  My cookbook calls for a little bit of rum and I think traditionally it would be a Polish vodka.  But I do recommend it!  As I understand, the alcohol evaporation in the heat helps prevent the donuts from soaking up the frying oil and I can attest to this fact.  After 16 donuts, the level of oil has barely changed, and in such a small fryer, volume differences are very obvious.  I doubt there was more than a couple tablespoons difference by the end, including drips off the tongs.  Plus whatever the napkin wicked out on the cooling rack.  All I can say is that these donuts had absolutely no greasiness to them at all.  Very impressive.

I combined a couple of the cookbook recipes and one Polish translation recipe.  I think the funniest thing I read in the book was this little comment, "An excellent Polish cook uses as many egg yolks as she makes pączki."  That recipe indeed called for TWENTY egg yolks.  There is lots of wonderful information in the Polish cookbook about the generous use of butter and abundant use of eggs owing to rural ownership of a cow and chickens.  I didn't go quite so far but this is a very rich dough, like a brioche but a bit more slack.  I also chose the method of one of the book recipes because it was very similar to the tangzhong method in bread making, which is an intriguing technique that contributes to a very soft crumb.  I've only used the method once before and thought this was a perfect application for it.

So thank you to Sneha's Recipe for choosing the theme this month and leading me down a little road of family history!

makes about 16 donuts

300g of all purpose flour, divided  (I ended up adding around 100g more flour)
125g of milk
40g of butter, melted and cooled
4 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
60g sugar
10.5g of instant yeast
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground mace
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
14g rum (about a generous tbsp)

Scald milk by bringing just to a simmer and then turning off heat.  Do not boil.  Slowly whisk in 50g of the flour into the hot milk to make a thick, smooth roux.  Cool to around 110ºF, then mix in the yeast and let rise for half an hour.  

Very happy yeast mixture

Beat eggs and yolks until very frothy, and lightened in color.  Add in yeast mixture, sugar, and rum and mix.

Add remaining flour and butter and beat until it forms a sticky dough.  Cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Turn out onto a floured board or cloth and knead a few times.  Roll out dough to about ½" thick and cut out circles with a round biscuit cutter (mine was just under 3").  (Optionally, roll out the dough slightly thinner, place a teaspoon of filling on one circle, then cover with another and press to seal the edges.)  Cover and let rise again.

Beautiful yellow dough from the eggs

Fry a few at a time in deep fat fryer, 340-345ºF for about 1½-2 minutes per side, turning only once.

Pączki should have a deep color on each side

Drain on a paper towel lined rack and serve rolled in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or glaze.  If you have a long pastry tip, you can pipe jam into the paczki after frying, or slice plain paczki and filled with whipped cream and berries, even sugared rose petals.

Prune lekvar filling
1½ cups pitted prunes, lightly packed, quartered
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup brown sugar

Simmer prunes, water, zest, and lemon juice, covered, over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes until very soft and most of the water is evaporated.  Uncover the last few minutes if necessary.  Remove from heat and mash or blend.  Stir in brown sugar.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Check out our other fried fabulousity this month:

Approximate nutrition for one large pączki, unfilled, plain:



  1. The dusting of sugar looks like snow on top.. yum yum.

  2. Ha, glad to know that I am not the only reluctant frier that stepped back into the ring for this one. Love that filling in your pączki!

  3. These are gorgeous! Great minds think alike! I have a small deep fryer too, which is great for keeping the temp steady.

  4. Paczki looks yum! it has great flavours and the sugar dusting on the top makes them look so gorgeous!

  5. Jam filled doughnuts with sugar dusting looks great......

  6. I've made these once before, but after seeing the flavor combination of your filling and how well your recipe turned out, I can't wait to try them again.


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