- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is around the corner. Sweets lovers can look forward to the tradition of splurging on assorted flavors of paczki Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Paczki, the fried Polish pastry which is similar to a filled doughnut or Bismarck, is traditionally served on the day before Ash Wednesday or what’s also commonly known as Shrove Tuesday. Bakeries throughout the Region are always packed with food fans picking up the decadent treat for family, friends and office mates.

According to The Polish American Journal’s Website, in Poland, paczki is eaten on Fat Thursday, or the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, while in America, paczki consumption is popular on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

In celebration of Fat Tuesday or Paczki Day, many local bakeries go through dozens and dozens of the treat.

Kerry Moore, owner of Calumet Bakery, with locations in Lansing, Chicago, and Whiting, said they sell more than 2,000 dozen paczki during its special day.

“We’re already getting orders for them,” Moore said, during an interview early this week at Calumet Bakery’s Lansing location. Moore was in the process of filling a couple of dozen paczki with fresh strawberries.

The baker said the most popular flavor of paczki sold at Calumet Bakery is strawberry with cream cheese, custard and raspberry following closely.

Calumet Bakery, which got its start in 1937 in Chicago, has been selling paczki since the ‘80s, Moore said.

While Moore said creating paczki at home is not a long process, it’s a bit complicated in that home cooks need the right fryers to fry the doughnut-like pastry properly.

“From mixing and cooking to filling, it takes a couple of hours (at the bakery),” he said. Traditionally, paczki is served with a glaze or powdered sugar on top.

Calumet Bakery offers 15 flavors of paczki for Fat Tuesday. Flavors include pineapple, apricot, blueberry, lemon, strawberry mousse, Keylime, chocolate mousse, and more.

Moore said they’ll often experiment with new paczki flavors at the bakery. Though he hasn’t tried it yet, he said he believes a peanut butter and jelly flavor would do well with customers.

At Delightful Pastries in Chicago, more than 50,000 paczki are sold for Fat Tuesday.

Delightful Pastries owner/pastry chef Dobra Bielinski explains that the difference between paczki and a regular donut is that paczki is made with “yeast dough that doesn’t collapse when you bite in.”

At Delightful Pastries, customers will find a variety of creative flavors including Rose Petal Jelly, Custard Topped with Chocolate Fudge, Passion Fruit Jelly, Nutella, and Peanut Butter Frosting & Raspberry Jelly. The bakery also has what is called “Drunken Paczki,” including Moonshine & Lemon, Vodka & Vanilla Bean Custard, and Jameson Whiskey Chocolate Custard.

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Source: The (Northwest Indiana) Times, https://bit.ly/2mcYrPq

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Information from: The Times, https://www.nwitimes.com

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