Fat Thursday is a "delicious" holiday which falls on the last Thursday of carnival season.
On the day it is strongly recommended to consume many fatty and sweet pastries, because, according to the tradition, unless somebody eats at least one 'pączek', the next year will be very unfavourable for the person. Thus, let's celebrate a lot!
At Polish baker's and confectioneries there mainly reign pączki (doughnuts) - various ones, stuffed with jam, fruit, pudding, chocolate or layered with whipped cream or with icing sprinkled with orange zest. There are plenty of options! We have also faworki (chrust) - delicate, crispy, deep oil fried pastries, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Preparation of light and thin faworki is a real art. While pączki are present during the whole year, faworki are typical only for carnival time. Similar dough is used for "carnival roses" - really elegant cakes looking like flowers with a cherry jam inside. Quite popular are also doughnuts with a whole (oponki) which, thanks to addition of cottage cheese, taste completely different from typical pączki.
Other nationalities have their own carnival sweets, as well. In Spain there are churros - long-shaped cakes made of choux dough, in Germany bakers prepare ausgezogene - doughnuts of a ring shape - thick and dark outside and very thin and light inside. On the contrary, in France and Great Britain people observe the last Tuesday before Lent in the similar way, but on the tables there reign - pancakes!
Sweet and spongy yeast pączki, similar to the ones we know today, appeared in Polish cuisine in the XVI century. Initially, some of them were stuffed with an almond or a nut, and a lucky person who got one of them, was to enjoy happiness and wealth for the whole year. Prior to that, pączki used to be made of hard, bread dough, filled with pork fat, bacon, sausage or meat and fried in lard. Such "delicacies" were accompanied by a lot of vodka.
To fulfill the traditional custom, on 4 January (Fat Thursday) we invite to Verres en Vers - we add a small pączek to each coffee!
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