A sure sign of spring in northern Indiana isn’t necessarily the thaw of blasts of snow – it’s the arrival of Pączki on shelves of grocery stores and bakeries.
For people from Indiana, the Polish treats are jelly-filled pastries eaten on Mardi Gras to symbolize the last bit of indulgence before Lent begins.
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For transplants (like this writer), Pączki are mysterious pastries that beg the questions: how is this different than a jelly doughnut — and how is it pronounced?
Turns out, Pączki and jelly doughnuts are not made equal, and it’s pronounced “poonch-ky.”
Pączek is Polish for “doughnut” or “little package,” International Business Times reports. The emphasis is on eggs, sugar and lard — the tradition was to use up all of these ingredeints before the Lent fasting period.
What sets Pączki apart from doughnuts is the dough, which is denser than that of a doughnut, Huffington Post reports. Pączki are fried and filled with fruit jellies like rose hip, prune or cherry, though they can be filled with custard or chocolate, too.
Pączki wasn’t always a sweet treat, though. Thrillist reports it used to be savory — stuffed with pork fat and fried in a vat of lard.
This year, show King Cake who is boss in Indiana and Michigan with a sweet Pączki or two for one last day of treating yourself.
WHERE TO FIND PĄCZKI
- 508 W. Lincoln Ave., Goshen
The bakery will sell its deluxe Pączki with whipped cream on top and strawberries in the middle, or traditional flavors such as apple or lemon.
- 231 S. Michigan St., South Bend
A handful of fruity and creamy flavors will be on sale, including apple, blueberry or lemon creme supreme, as well as Bavarian creme, chocolate and German chocolate.
- 3622 Edison Road, South Bend
Pązckis will only be available on Mardi Gras, Feb. 17, at the bakery with fillings like apple, blueberry, prune or strawberries and whipped cream, according to a story on Flavor 574. The stove-fried pastries will be made in the hundreds and not the thousands, so get them while they’re hot.
- 214 N. Niles Ave., South Bend
Though staff at the bakery said strawberry is the most popular flavor, cream cheese, apple, cherry, apricot, lemon, blueberry and chocolate are also available to satisfy fruit or chocolate cravings on Mardi Gras.
- 127 Easy Shopping Place, Elkhart
Traditional fruit fillings like strawberry, blueberry and cherry are available and Bavarian and lemon will also be available for Fat Tuesday.
Take a few pastries and share with friends or coworkers on Mardi Gras. Martin’s Super Markets has boxes of Pączkis available in its bakery in assorted flavors.
Where’s your go-to spot for Mardi Gras paczki in Michiana?