POONCH-key. I’ve been told that that’s how you pronounce the word printed on that box. I had to use a special Polish keyboard tool just to be able to properly type the name. It might be difficult to say, but it’s worth learning if you like delicious pastries.
My fiance’s family introduced me to pączki as an after-breakfast desert. The pastry looks like a filled donut, a treat I try to avoid because Bavarian cream is so heavy. But I was in for a surpise. The filling inside pączki is very light, and the hint of lemon (I read that orange zest is also used) was fluffy and delicious.
Moving to Detroit has already exposed me to several new cultural traditions. And this is another one from the large Polish population.
Pączki is known as a delicacy used to celebrate Mardi Gras. While in the south people are slinging beads and getting trashed, the Polish celebrate the beginning of lent by enjoying a treat that they’re going to give up for the season. It’s so popular that I’ve heard that pączki is hard to find in the days leading up to Mardi Gras.
The pączki that we ate last weekend was found at Meijer. Yet as with all things ethnic, you’re likely to find the tastiest renditions at mom and pop shops. If you live in the Detroit area, Hamtramck would be a good place to start (the New Palace Bakery has good reviews).