You don’t have to be from Poland to appreciate a great Paczki, and if you’re from Chicago, celebrating Paczki Day is like a national holiday! Firecakes Donuts, the delicious artisan donut shop now with two locations, 68 W. Hubbard Ave. (312-329-6500) in River North and just opened at 2453 N. Clark in Lincoln Park (773-666-5277) as well as Billy, the donut truck, are ready to delight you with Chicago’s tastiest Paczki.
The first place winner of the 2015 Donut Fest, Firecakes has devotees traveling near and far to savor their amazing hand-crafted donuts. Paczki Day is special unto itself, drawing crowds and huge pre-orders.
This year’s Paczki lineup, available just in time for the annual Fat Tuesday (February 9) celebration, includes three different varieties:
– Raspberry & Blood Orange Jelly Filled
– Chocolate Custard Filled
– Meyers Lemon Filled
Paczki are available in two sizes: small for $2.19 and large for $2.67. Advance orders are recommended.
So what are paczki and why do we celebrate?
Paczki are deep-fried pieces of dough, similar to doughnuts but uniquely different. They are shaped into flattened spheres and filled with a sweet filling, traditional to Polish cuisine. Paczki are usually covered with powdered sugar or icing. Although they look like German berliners, North American bismarcks or jelly doughnuts, Paczki are made from an especially rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar, yeast and sometimes milk. Paczki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. Jedrzej Kitowicz has described that during the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, Paczki dough was improved, so that Paczki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.
Fat Tuesday, the last day before the Penitential season of Lent, and related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days of Lent, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations that are held before beginning the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, and refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.
About Firecakes Donuts
Owners Jonathan and Karen Fox have created Firecakes Donuts Shops to give customers the same exhilarating sensory experience that people used to get at the traditional neighborhood donut shop. The aroma of freshly baking donuts permeates the air; customers see the fresh-baked donuts as they are carried on trays in small batches to the front counter. Fresh batches are prepared throughout the day. The specially chosen ingredients are as fresh as can be, purchased from local sources. “We strive to take something simple and make it special,” said Chef Jonathan. “We use the best traditional donut recipes and apply sophisticated techniques to produce layers of flavor that take our donuts to another level. For example, we don’t just roll our coconut donuts in shredded coconut. Rather, we roll them in three different kinds of coconut, each with a different texture, making the experience much more interesting and tasty.”
Firecakes Donuts are available at three locations, two brick & mortar stores: 68 W. Hubbard Ave. (312-329-6500) in River North and just opened at 2453 N. Clark in Lincoln Park (773-666-5277) as well as Billy, the donut truck, found throughout Chicago. Visit FirecakesDonuts.com for more information.