It's Poonchkie Season

Salem, Massachusetts
Pastry Chef Rob Lianni shared the story behind "Poonchkies," a special treat that's made from February until Easter. It's a polish jelly donut that traditionally was made on Fat Tuesday, to use up all of the eggs and sugar but now, "we make them right through Easter because people want them so much," says Rob!


Recipe for Paczki

An Easy Paczki Recipe


2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs room temperature butter
½ cup warm milk - Warm to 110 degrees. Check with candy thermometer.
¼ tsp genuine vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp dry yeast
2 cups flour + flour for rolling out dough
Oil for frying (about 2 cups - Canola recommended)

Either glaze, sugar, or powdered sugar for the outside

1. Whisk together the sugar, butter, warm milk, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl. Breathe deeply while doing this. It smells delicious!
2. Sprinkle the dry yeast into the bowl. Whisk it in gently. Sing a Disney tune for good luck.
3. Begin adding the flour a bit at a time. Stir it in with a wooden spoon until it is all mixed in. Dough should not be wet. You can add a LITTLE bit of flour if needed.
4. Sprinkle flour on your pastry board (or clean counter), and transfer the dough to it. Then add a bit of flour over the top of the dough ball.
5. Knead the dough gently until it is soft and pulling away from your hands.
6. Place dough ball in a lightly greased bowl.
7. Cover and let it rise in a warm place, out of drafts, for about 1.5 hours. Turn your oven on for awhile if necessary to warm the kitchen up. The dough should double in size by then. If it does sooner, you can continue. If it doesn't double in 1.5 you can give it some more time. If it fails to rise you probably had old/dead yeast, too hot of milk, or not a warm enough place for the dough to rise.
8. Place your dough on your floured pastry board and get out your rolling pin.
9. Strike a pose with that pin! Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch. Have a little flour handy if needed to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Strike another pose!
10. Use a floured cookie cutter, glass, Mason jar, etc to cut out as many round shapes as possible. This recipe should make about a dozen. This could depend on the size of the cutter you used.
11. Flour a cookie sheet, or other flat surface, and lay your dough rounds on it. Put them in a warm place and give them about half an hour to rise.
12. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. My grandmother used a deep fryer, but I don't have one.
13. Place as many dough rounds as will fit in your pan, but do not crowd them together so they are touching or squishing each other.
14. It should only take about 1.5-2 minutes to brown each side. Flip them gently with tongs or a spatula. It is easy to burn them so don't get distracted!
15. Gently lift each paczki out and place it somewhere to cool down. I think a wire rack, followed by a rest on a paper towel covered plate (to blot excess oil) works best.
16. Let them cool about 10-15 minutes. You can then sprinkle them with powdered sugar, regular sugar, or drizzle them in honey or glaze. Or just eat them while still warm.
17. If you didn't eat them in the previous step, eat them now. Do not share with anyone!

Recipe from

1 comment:

  1. My mom who was Polish of origin made 'Poonchkies' every year since I remember, she passed away years ago & I've been trying to find her recipe or similar. Reading this one by Chef Lianni brought back floods of memories of my mom doing exactly the same things as she prepared to make them. I got teary by the end of the article, just reading the recipe! Thank you, thank you. I'm gonna try them.