Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Packzi Day

Today is Fat Tuesday. Today is a big deal in the Polish world I grew up in. Today, we get to eat PACKZI. No, not pack-zee, poonch-key! They look like jelly filled doughnuts. Real packzi are light, fluffy, airy, and have a not-too-sweet filling that melds perfectly into the airy dough. Real packzi make you happy to be alive and biting into them. Real packzi = love.

A look at REAL Packzi!
When I was in elementary school I made packzi with my Grandpa Dryzga for a school project. We made easy traditional packzi with a buttery dough and raisins. We ripped off chunks of dough, rolled them into golf ball sized pieces, and dropped them into hot oil. Heaven. Fresh deep fried deliciousness.

Traditionally, packzi are made with lard and were filled with prune jelly or rosehip jelly. It was a way to use up all of the tempting things Polish Catholics are not supposed to eat during Lent. Now, it's a day of indulgence and spreading a bit of the culture around the U.S.

When I lived in Chicago, there were packzi to be found. In Massachusetts, the only thing I could find was a sad excuse of a jelly doughnut impersonating a packzi. This year, I had a packzi from Roma Bakery. I had my doubts about buying a Polish pastry from an Italian bakery...I bought one apricot and one prune, both lightly coated in powdered sugar. My husband indulged in the apricot packzi and I devoured the prune packzi. Prune is deceptive...it was more of a plum jam filling.

It was wonderful. For those 5 minutes of packzi munching heaven, I recalled my Polish upbringing, my Grandpa and Grandma's 1950's kitchen in Bay City, Michigan, and my love of culture and food. Packzi. Try a real one!

Another wonderful story on Packzi can be found at Detroit Moxie!


  1. Emily,
    Thanks for linking up to my paczki post.

    My grandma was a great baker and cook but she never made homemade paczki as far as I know. What a great way to spend time with your grandfather!

    When I lived in Chicago I could never find paczki but I might not have looked hard enough. Great post!

  2. AWESOME! Thank you for writing this blog! Definitely no one has heard of them outside of michigan... that I've encountered yet.

  3. Becks - yum, grandmas really are the best cooks! In my family, my grandma cooked and my grandpa baked. He still makes a to-die-for raspberry pie with raspberries from his garden. Yum.

    It is definitely harder to find them in Chicago! They're in one area. You basically have to order them or you don't get any.

    The love of packzi must be spread across the USA!

  4. Jen - no one in TN has heard of them? So SAD! Bring them packzi next time :)