Monday, March 7, 2011

Extreme Paczki

Given that we live in a major metropolitan area, we don't really rely on our neighborhood newspaper (you know, the free one that arrives in your mailbox once a week that reports on whose car got vandalized and the junior high wrestling team that took 4th in a tournament over the weekend) for much other than recycling material. So you can imagine my surprise when I came across it amongst the mail the other day and found a picture on the front page similar to the one I posted above. Now THIS is something that will get my attention. A local bakery in Tinley Park by the name of Creative Cakes (website: decided to release a line of what they called "extreme" paczki for the pre-Lent season up to Fat Tuesday (which happens to be tomorrow). For those of you residing in a region without a large Polish population, packzi (pronounced "punch-key") are basically doughnuts that are glazed and sometimes filled with fruit preserves (like apricot or strawberry) that make their appearance every year right around this time. Think of them as an indulgence for the Polish community (and hangers-on like us) to enjoy before the enforced austerity of Lent clamps down. Anyway, Creative Cakes (whom we've bought birthday party and baptism cakes from in the past) came up with several packzi versions that can be considered borderline illegal, such as Bananas Foster (bananas in a rum custard filling w/caramel icing), Maple Bacon May-Ham (maple custard filling, maple glaze icing, and a slice of bacon on top), and my personal favorite, O Captain My Captain (Captain Morgan custard filling w/strawberries, edged in Captain Crunch). Upon reading about this cutting-edge culinary development occurring practically in our backyard, my first thought was "How quickly can I bundle up the children and drive over there to get me some?".

After a few minutes of reflection and time to let my heart rate drop back down below 180, I came to the conclusion that 4pm on a Friday is probably not the best time to do bakery shopping (i.e., they'll be out of everything by now), so I opted to defer until Monday morning when the hordes of foodie marauders from the weekend will have slunk back to their foxholes and I can choose my extreme paczki unencumbered. Unfortunately, I failed to note on the website that the store (like many bakeries) is closed on Mondays, so after one failed trip, Hackknifette and I managed to gain access to the pearly gates on Tuesday morning and brought home a half-dozen beauties as you see above (clockwise from top left: Atomic Mash-Up, Turtle, Nutella, O Captain My Captain, Maple Bacon May-Ham, and Bananas Foster). Mindful of the potential caloric consequences of eating what are essentially 6 small wedding cakes, I made sure to spread out the joy with many other parties, including my mother-in-law, our once-a-week sitter (who is Polish and probably found these to be quite sacrilegious, although she seemed to enjoy the Bananas Foster), the progeny (who, in true progeny fashion, both decided that plain doughnuts were preferably to these monstrosities), and Mrs. Hackknife, with whom I did most of the damage. Of the 6, I have to say that my favorites were Turtle, Bananas Foster, and by a wide margin, the Maple Bacon May-Ham, which left me giddy and wondering exactly how many dozen of these I could possibly procure before the Pope was forced to intervene (the combination of fatty bacon and sweet doughnut can only be described as ethereally sublime - I now enthusiastically endorse the liberal application of bacon on all desserts).

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