In Poland, we actually celebrate Fat Thursday (a week before Ash Wednesday), rather than Fat Tuesday and let me tell you... it is a big deal! Everybody eats paczki (jam filled doughnuts) that day, all the bakeries have a mile long line in front of them and every household has a huge pile of paczki on the table! They are probably one of the worst thing you can eat when you are on a diet, but it does not matter on that day... no matter what, you just can't resist! Oh, and try to eat just one... I dare you!
In the US, we celebrate the Fat Tuesday and it works out pretty good since paczki really need some time to prepare, so weekend is a perfect opportunity for such project. They are not that hard to make, but they do require time and patience. You need to let the dough rest and raise few times and you do not want to rush... but it's all worth it in the end, I promise!
* 3.5 cups all purpose flour, sifted
* 2 tsp instant yeast
* 1 cup milk, warmed
* 4 tbsp sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled
* 2 tbsp vodka
* fruit jam (I chose raspberry)
* vegetable oil fro frying
* powdered sugar for decoration
1. Combine warm milk with 1 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of flour and yeast. Mix together, cover and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
2. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat eggs with sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Change attachment to a hook (for kneading), add remaining flour, milk/yeast mixture, vodka and cooled butter. Knead until the dough is smooth and not sticking to a bowl (10 minutes). Add a little bit of flour if needed.
4. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a cloth and let stand in a warm place (like a turned off oven) for 1 - 1.5 hour.
5. Transfer the dough onto floured counter, make a long roll and divide equally into 12 pieces.
6. Flatten each piece in your hand, add a little bit of jam, pinch the dough around the jam, sealing any cracks and put onto a floured surface seam side down.
7. Cover them with a cloth and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
8. In the Dutch oven heat the oil (around 3 inch deep) until it reaches around 350-375 F and fry doughnuts few at a time (so they don't touch each other), for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
9. Transfer onto a paper towel to drain the remaining oil and sprinkle with powdered sugar (or with a glaze).
So, they were supposed to be for Fat Tuesday celebration... the problem is, I made them on Saturday... needless to say, there are none left for today! Really, there were none left for Monday either! We shared some with our friends, we "sampled" some, we ate some and ... somehow they were all gone! Well anyways, Happy Fat Tuesday!