It's almost Fat Tuesday and for me, that means Paczki time! I was living in Chicago last year at this time and had more than a few places I could grab these. Does anyone know a place in MSP? I'm guessing that I should be able to find these somewhere in the Nordeast neighborhood???
Yeah, I've been getting emails from them for the past few days indicating that they have paczki for sale. I'm in Southwest MPLS, so it's sort of a hike for me. Actually, I don't think I can even make it across town to sample Kramarczuk's this year. Really bummed out about it but the idea of sitting in a car for 40 minutes to try what sounded like a not so great version may be more depressing. These are the days when I miss Chicago the most. Oh well...
I went on a paczki run at lunchtime today, and here are my findings:
From what they told me, at the time, they only had raspberry - my guess would be that the other varieties would be available earlier in the morning. Price: $1.99. These paczkis were _shaped_ like the ones that I remember from Chicago - sort of flat and rectangular - definitely fried - but no glaze or sugar on the outside - just naked dough. The raspberry filling was decent - not a _ton_ of real raspberries, but I was picking a few seeds out of my teeth. There was a _lot_ of filling, too - almost to the point of being hard to eat without dropping big glops of filling all over the place, since the pastry was very thin in places..
Only about 5 minutes from Kramarczuk's. The paczkis here smaller and rounder - almost like a half-sphere, and were glazed. They had raspberry, peach, chocolate, and one or two other flavors, which I forget, and they were $1.09. The dough was different - a little cakier, and, as I mentioned, glazed. I don't think the raspberry filling was _quite_ as good as the filling from Kramarczuk's, and not quite as messy to eat, since, while there was still a fair amount of filling, the doughnut itself was sturdier. The peach one was also better than the raspberry.
So, for a Chicago expatriate trying to replicate his favorite paczki memories, I think I'd have to pick Sarah Jane's, mainly because of the glaze (my favorite part), but both were tasty. Kramarczuk's also has the advantage of the one of the most incredible sausage/meat displays I've seen in a long time - I picked up some smoked brats, smoked Italian sausage, and smoked Andouille sausages for dinner tonight.
If anyone's got questions, let me know. Typically, in Chicago, paczkis are gone after tomorrow (Fat Tuesday) - and, if I remember right, a lot of places only sold them on that day - gotta get that last bit of gluttony in before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. But, from what Kramarczuk's email said, they'll have them all week - not sure about Sarah Jane's.
Although I've cut out simple carbs for the past few weeks, I'm still planning on sampling some Paczki tomorrow. I'll let you know what I find. For those of you not familiar with this beautiful pastry, here's what you should be looking for (cut/paste from LTH):
"...explanation of the difference between a real paczek and a jelly donut: Bakery fan says: "paczki are not simply glorified donuts. They're supposed to be richer (all those extra eggs and butter to use up!), not that sweet (that's what the fillings, glazes and powdered sugar are for), and definitely more plump than regular jelly donuts or bismarks. Those things you find in supermarkets aren't paczki but simply a crass attempt to cash in on the real thing. Stick with your favorite corner bakery for best results!"...
...In terms of fillings, the controversy continues. Traditionalists like plum, prune or powidla (cooked fruit). Other traditional fillings are rose and something "GAF" recommended, "advocaat" eggnog liquour or what "geli" calls "boozy custard". A chocolate covered custard filled pastry may be a really delicious treat but it's not thought to be a traditional Polish paczek. Eat them anyway! Why not!...
...Cookie Monster has this explanation: "Most of the other bakeries make their regular donuts and just call them paczki, but they collapse on you when you bite into them and are terribly sweet with even sweeter filling. That is not a paczki...
...Traditional fillings are PLUM BUTTER (not prune) and Rose Petal Jelly. Plum butter is made with fresh plums not dried out prunes that are reconstituted and pureed.
All the other fillings are Americanizations. To give you a good comparison it is like eating a Chicago Pizza with Gruyere cheese and anchovies and calling it an authentic Chicago pizza. It might be an interesting combination but it has nothing to do with Chicago pizza and is not even remotely authentic. That is why when people say what great cheese paczki, I just want to laugh because no one in Poland makes paczki with cheese even the avant garde. I think this topic needs some clarification so people realize what an authentic paczki really is.""
This is a summary of a number of different paczki observations - not mine but I think helps the discussion here locally. I'll try to find a few and post my experiences. Thanks.
I just received this email from Kramarczuk's:
I apologize for the late reply. Your question prompted us to decide when to make Pacski. We make them every year for one week only. This year we will make them the week of March 6th. They will be ready Monday morning if you would like to place an order. Flavors this year are bavarian custard, raspberry and lemon.