- 1 1/2 cups milk (warm, but no warmer than 110 F)
- 2 packages active dry yeast (remember to proof yeast before you begin)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 ounces butter (room-temperature)
- 1 large egg (room-temperature)
- 3 large egg yolks (room-temperature)
- 1 tablespoon brandy (or rum)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-gallon oil (for deep frying)
- Optional: fruit paste (or jam, for filling)
STEPS TO MAKE THEM
1. Gather the ingredients.
2. Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.
3. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
4. Beat in egg, egg yolks, brandy or rum, and salt until well-incorporated.
5. Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. Old-fashioned directions call for beating the dough with a wooden spoon until it blisters. The dough will be very slack. If too soft, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, but no more.
6. Place dough in a greased bowl. Turn to grease the other side.
7. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours.
8. Punch down and let rise again.
9. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with a 3-inch biscuit cutter close together so you will have fewer scraps. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut.
10. Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.
11. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil to 350 F. Place pączki top-side down (the dry side) in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown.
12. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot so the exterior doesn't brown before the interior is done. Test a cool one to make sure it's cooked through. Adjust cooking time and oil heat accordingly.
13. Drain pączki on paper towels or brown paper bags.
14. Roll in granulated sugar while still warm. If you want to fill them, poke a hole in the side of the pączki and, using a pastry bag, squeeze in a generous dollop of the filling of choice.