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Feb 26, 2006 07:44 PM

The Call of the Paczki - for love of a donut

  • r

Krys lived in a house in the usually sun-kissed East Bay, yet old longings for the Polish donut called out, causing her to drive 20 miles in the rain, despite vows the night before not to abandon a diet.

Was it worth it? ... Nyet

Unfortunately a day old donut is a day old donut.

The Church of the Nativity at 240 Fell Street had their Paczki Day after the 11 am Mass. They were all made by ladies in the church, I'm guessing the night before. Donuts don't hold up. Even reheating in the microwave didn't help.

Also, they had the taste of the simpler version of the donut although the jelly inside was the authentically tangy cherry jam. Despite being made by different people they looked and tasted identical (I snagged some from different areas on the table).

I asked about the commercial bakery that was supposed to make some of the paczki, but was told that the bakery would not modify their usual donut recipe to make a batch of paczki.

Anyway, in the link below Delikateski in Concord will have them flown in from Chicago either on Friday 3/3 or Saturday 3/4.

Still, you have to wonder if a donut is going to survive a plane ride from the midwest.

I will not drive to Concord for a donut ... I will not drive ... and yet ... you would think going through all that trouble, they must be special.

1984 Monument Blvd. Concord
(925) 825-7417


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  1. Had a half of a paczki this afternoon from the church, after it had been warmed in a slow oven. I was suprised that it wasn't sweeter, the dough being quite yeasty and not that sweet itself. Most of the sweetness came from the very thin, light glaze. We loved the tangy plum butter filling, need to get more of that. The flyer listing the number of calories in them and the amount of exercise needed to work it off was amusing.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      I had one from the church and it wasn't as brioche-like as what I have had in the past. It was much less sweet and it seemed to need salt. Definitely needed more jam.

      1. re: wally

        Did you brave the line yourself? My friend managed to get there before church services let out so was at the head of the line. But she was only allowed to buy five pieces. The woman behind her started cursing when informed of the limit.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Ah yes, the friendly Poles ... it reminds me of why I left Connecticut. I asked one woman at church yesterday where they were selling the donuts after mass and got an reply in a tone as crackling cold as a Warsaw winter "I know nothing about that".

          Yes, paczki are all about the yeasty taste. The egg in the dough gives them a richness that isn’t in regular donuts, so you don’t need the sweetness. Even the filling should be not as sweet as a regular donut. And if you get someone who is a genius at making them, they are also very light in texture.

          I was surprised by the glaze which I’ve never seen before. Usually the donuts are just dusted with powdered sugar.

          The picture from Wikipedia below is the best that I’ve seen on what they should look like … only with a bit more powdered sugar and a tad more jelly.

          There were flyers about calories and exercise at the Polish church on Sunday?

          I was focusing on the donuts. That is amazing, especially with all the guys sucking cigarettes on the sidewalk outside the church. I felt like I was back home. That there was any nod to health is pretty funny.

          There were some mentions about how to burn off the calories in the fact bite link I provided elsewhere. Some of the info was funny and may or may not be true. One link said they were traditionally filled with fried rose buds. Given the climate of Poland at Lent, I gotta doubt that. Rose hip jelly, maybe.

          There are a few paczki parades here and there and I loved someone selling the donuts being referred to as a paczki pusher. Someone wrote their mother put slips of paper in plain paczki making fortune paczki … give me the jelly, thanks.

          Well, given that I’m unlikely to eat a decent paczki in the Bay Area, I posted my grandmother’s recipe on the Home Cooking board … like I’ll ever actually try it.

          Of course, if I ever win that top prize in the mega millions lottery, I promise to open a top-notch Polish bakery and restaurant in San Francisco ... but until then ...



          1. re: rworange

            Hehe, yeah, my friend wasn't familiar with the church, but said that when she spotted the five blonde guys outside smoking, she knew she was in the right place.

            1. re: rworange
              Meatball (formerly nora)

              Paczkis are usually thinly glazed in Poland and the dough is not very sweet just like you said. I think I am the only non smoking Pole there is.

              1. re: Meatball (formerly nora)

                There a couple of other non-smoking Poles but they are rare. I have a friend that used to live in Krakow, she said that the air was so bad that smoking was better. My sugar complaint was not that they weren't sweet, it was that the only sugar was in the filling. Not right. I was taught that there is some sugar in the dough, not a lot and not to American tastes, but some sugar.

                1. re: wally

                  True. I am not even going to bother with paczki here. The only way I like them is very fresh (still warm). We used to get them almost every day from Wrobel Bakery in Warsaw so I had my fill :,)

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              Yes, I had ordered via the web site, but the 6 I wanted were cut to 5 on Saturday and the man who runs the web site asked me how many I really needed on Sunday because the woman only made 60% of the paczki she promised. I took 4, one a piece for each of us(parked badly on Fell). I knew I was at the right place when the cloud of cigarette smoke enveloped me. I was in front of a street type person who was speaking Polish who was given a cup of coffee if she would go away.

              1. re: wally

                Oh ... yikes ... they probably weren't even made on Saturday then if they knew on Saturday the woman making them didn't make a full order. Home made isn't always a good thing, or in this case, translate into delicious.

                In a way I don't blame the lady because that dough-frying can get real tedious.

                I meant to mention that Seakor sells Polish jelly. I haven't tried it though. The Polish Deli in Palo Alto sells come decent quality Polish jam and jelly.

                This is too funny. I hope the cursing lady was on her way to Mass and had an attitude adjustment afterward. Actually, they should have let her have a bite of one of those donuts first ... she wouldn't have been sorry about being able to buy less. Poor street lady type probably thought it was the free donuts after Mass that some Catholic churches have.

        2. "...Even reheating in the microwave didn't help. "

          Microwave? Ouch! I use the toaster oven for reviving donuts, waffles, pan dulces, etc. Keeps the texture flakier.