I don’t often post recipes on the blog as I really don’t consider myself a guru in the kitchen!
In fact, if you know me, you’ll know that I don’t really like cooking… I do love baking though and if I may brag a little – I’m also pretty good at it! ;)
This is a traditional Polish recipe for pączki – Polish jam doughnuts! In my true fashion – I have adapted it to make it as simple as possible, using a bread maker to simplify the process even more! Yes, simple living pours into all areas of our life, including the kitchen!
Polish jam doughnuts – the tradition
Even though any excuse is good to bake delicious goods, I had a really good one last month to make these: the 20th of February 2020 was what we call Tłusty Czwartek in Poland (Fat Thursday), which is the last day before the start of Lent period and also a day when all the Poles line up at bakeries to get their pączki :)
As we homeschool, this year on Fat Thursday I prepared a bit of a cultural lesson for the kids: we talked about Easter, this tradition and others around the world such as Pancake Tuesday and Mardi Gras.
Then… we made pączki!
Let me know if you make these! The first time you do, it may feel like a lot of work. Once you’ve made them once though, you will find that the next time you make pączki it’s quite a simple process!
=> Read my homemade bread recipe (which is amazing and only requires 4 ingredients!)
Pączki – Polish doughnuts with jam
250ml lukewarm milk
3 tsp instant dried yeast (14g)
3 tbsp sugar
500g baker’s flour (you can also just use plain flour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
50g melted butter (cooled down)
Frying + Filling:
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
Jam (I use strawberry)
Caster sugar for dusting
Or 250g caster sugar + 1-2 tbsp water for frosting
Prep for the dough:
1) Place the milk, yeast, 1 tbsp of flour and 1 tbsp of sugar in a bowl (make sure the milk isn’t too hot or it will kill the yeast – you can test it on your wrist like a baby bottle). Stir to combine and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes until it froths up.
2) In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt.
3) Blend the egg, egg yolks and the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar until they become white and fluffy (You can use a hand mixer, Thermomix/Supercook, food processor or the good old traditional whisk – by hand this will take about 15 minutes).
Set the bread maker:
1) Place all the wet ingredients in first (the frothy, raised yeast; melted but cooled down butter; the egg mixture; vanilla extract) then the flour. Set to dough setting.
2) When the dough is ready, roll it out to about 2cm thick. Use a drinking glass, mug, or a cookie cutter that has a roughly 6-7cm rim diameter to cut out circles.
Fill the doughnuts with jam + Set them to raise:
1) Use your fingers to flatten and make a well in each dough circle, carefully put half a teaspoon of jam in the well and tightly close the dough around the jam. Be careful not to get the jam around the edges as the dough won’t stick back closed. Gently shape it into a ball.
2) Lay the doughnuts out on a chopping board or baking tray, cover with a light weight tea towel (I dampen mine a little with warm water) and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 45 minutes to raise.
Prep for cooking:
1) 15 minutes before the doughnuts are done raising: Fill up a large frying pan/pot with about 5cm of vegetable oil and start heating it up.
2) Prepare plates with paper towels or clean tea towels on them to absorb the oil of the cooked doughnuts.
3) If frosting, make the frosting now: In a bowl, mix 250g caster sugar with 1tbsp water. If needed, add another 1-2 tbsp of water. This mixture is meant to be firm, the warm doughnuts will help it melt onto them.
Shallow fry the doughnuts:
1) Use a slotted spoon or tongs to place doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry them for 2-3 minutes on each side.
2) Drain the doughnuts on paper towels / tea towels.
3) If frosting – Dip one side of the doughnut in the frosting while still very warm to help the frosting melt onto them.
If dusting – Use a sieve to dust both sides with caster sugar.
- Here’s how I take the doughnuts out and frost them, moving pretty fast, but being careful with the hot oil:
1. Take the doughnut out with tongs,
2. Place it on a clean tea towel to drain the oil,
3. Flip over to drain the oil on the other side,
4. Still using tongs, grab the hot doughnut and dip the top side into the frosting mixture,
5. Place on another plate to cool down.
- Make sure you frost the ‘uglier’ side ;)
- Be very careful when working with hot oil, especially around children. I let mine help with preparing the dough and rolling the doughnuts, but they’re not allowed near the kitchen when I start heating up the oil!
Let me know if you try this Polish doughnuts recipe!
If you do, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
PS: Are you following me on Facebook and Instagram yet? I can’t say ‘follow me for more recipes’ (because… refer to the first paragraph!) but do follow me if you are after simple living inspiration and tips on finding joy in everyday life! ;)