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Polish Baked Donuts

Polish Baked Donuts – A Delightful Twist on a Classic Treat

 

Polish Baked Donuts, known as “pączki” in Polish, are a delightful twist on the classic deep-fried donuts. These sweet and fluffy treats are popular in Poland and among Polish communities worldwide, especially during the festive season of Fat Thursday. What makes them unique is that they are baked instead of fried, which means you can enjoy the deliciousness of a donut with a slightly healthier touch. This recipe will guide you through making these mouthwatering Polish Baked Donuts at home.

Ingredients:

For the Donuts:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (about 110°F or 43°C)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of one lemon (optional)

For the Filling:

  • Your favorite fruit jam or preserves (e.g., raspberry, strawberry, or rosehip)

For the Topping:

  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

Prepare the Dough:

  1. Activate the Yeast:
    • In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients:
    • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm milk, sugar, egg yolks, melted butter, and vanilla extract.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients:
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and lemon zest (if using).
  4. Knead the Dough:
    • Gradually add the activated yeast mixture to the wet ingredients. Then, gradually add the dry ingredients to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.
  5. First Rise:
    • Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Shape and Fill the Donuts:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Divide and Shape:
    • Punch down the risen dough and divide it into small portions. Shape each portion into a ball and flatten it slightly.
  3. Add Filling:
    • Place a small spoonful of your favorite fruit jam or preserves in the center of each dough round.
  4. Seal and Shape:
    • Carefully fold the dough over the jam, sealing the edges to form a smooth ball.
  5. Second Rise:
    • Place the filled donuts on the prepared baking sheet and cover them with a kitchen towel. Let them rise for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Bake and Enjoy:

  1. Bake:
    • Bake the donuts in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  2. Cool:
    • Allow the donuts to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Dust with Powdered Sugar:
    • Once the donuts are completely cool, dust them generously with powdered sugar.

Enjoy Your Polish Baked Donuts:

Polish Baked Donuts are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are made. Their slightly healthier baking method doesn’t compromise on flavor or texture. The sweet jam filling and powdered sugar topping make them a delightful treat that’s perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Variations: While fruit jam is the traditional filling, you can get creative with your fillings. Custard, chocolate, or even a savory option like cheese are all delicious choices.
  • Traditional Toppings: In Poland, these donuts are often topped with rose-flavored icing, but powdered sugar is a simpler and equally delightful option.
  • Make a Lot: This recipe can make a batch of donuts, so it’s great for sharing with friends and family.

These Polish Baked Donuts are a charming twist on a classic treat. They bring the warmth and comfort of traditional Polish flavors to your home. Whether it’s a special occasion or just a sweet craving, these donuts are sure to please your taste buds.

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