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ANNUAL PACZKI EXTRAVAGANZA

ANNUAL PACZKI EXTRAVAGANZA
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  • ANNUAL PACZKI EXTRAVAGANZA

    Post #1 - February 3rd, 2010, 8:35 am
    Post #1 - February 3rd, 2010, 8:35 am Post #1 - February 3rd, 2010, 8:35 am
    It is time for our annual paczki extravaganza.
    We will be frying, glazing and stuffing paczki as well as making angel wings and frying them.
    Every person will get to take a dozen paczki home and a quarter pound of angel wings.
    The event is February 13 at 2PM at 5927 W Lawrence, Chicago IL 60630.
    The cost is $35 per person. Call 773-545-7215 with any questions.
    Hope to see our usual LTH crowd.
    Cookie Monster
    Cookie Monster
  • Post #2 - February 6th, 2010, 4:38 am
    Post #2 - February 6th, 2010, 4:38 am Post #2 - February 6th, 2010, 4:38 am
    I will be there.
  • Post #3 - February 6th, 2010, 5:59 am
    Post #3 - February 6th, 2010, 5:59 am Post #3 - February 6th, 2010, 5:59 am
    I'm in too. My check was mailed yesterday! Fun!

    Mary
  • Post #4 - February 6th, 2010, 8:35 am
    Post #4 - February 6th, 2010, 8:35 am Post #4 - February 6th, 2010, 8:35 am
    Please come hungry as I will have some wonderful goodies to snack on before we chow down on the paczkis you make.
    Look forward to seeing you there.
    Cookie Monster
  • Post #5 - February 6th, 2010, 12:06 pm
    Post #5 - February 6th, 2010, 12:06 pm Post #5 - February 6th, 2010, 12:06 pm
    Cancun Chicken Salad I will bring. Can I pay cash at the door?
  • Post #6 - February 12th, 2010, 9:17 am
    Post #6 - February 12th, 2010, 9:17 am Post #6 - February 12th, 2010, 9:17 am
    Come on by.
    I will have some treats as well we will be trying some pierogi and some French macaroons for a snack.
    This looks like fun as others have called be at the bakery and have not posted.
    See you all manana.
    Cookie Monster
  • Post #7 - February 13th, 2010, 7:37 pm
    Post #7 - February 13th, 2010, 7:37 pm Post #7 - February 13th, 2010, 7:37 pm
    A wonderful afternoon with Dobra, as usual, the most gracious host (her parents and staff also).
  • Post #8 - February 14th, 2010, 12:41 pm
    Post #8 - February 14th, 2010, 12:41 pm Post #8 - February 14th, 2010, 12:41 pm
    This was hours of fun and good eating.

    Thanks to Dobra, her parents, and the very patient staff who hosted us with grace. I was particularly impressed with their ability to dance around the 16 or so kitchen interlopers and still fold croissants and decorate paczkis without missing a beat.

    We started out the day with complimentary coffee or tea and a plate of chocolate and marzipan macarons to sample. I tried only the chocolate but it packed an impressive fudge-y flavor. Next, Dobra brought out a just-baked chard, ham, and grueyere quiche which was still soft and oozy in the middle (in a good way, of course). Lastly, she brought out a bowl-ful of pierogis bathed in butter. We could choose from mushroom and sauerkraut and yukon gold potatos with cheese. The mushroom and kraut are usually my favorite but yesterday the cheese and potato were so delicate and perfectly seasoned, that they took the prize.

    Then we set to work scoring and folding the chrusciki (angel wings) and laying them out on cooling racks. This eggy dough was a rich yellow and came finally up to temperature as Dobra used a rolling machine to squeeze it into thin sheets. The dough was easy to work with but still had structure due to a mix of pastry and patent flour. I had never heard of patent flour and did some research that this describes high grade flours made from the center of the endosperm. According to Dobra, the chrusciki dough was made with a flour with protein content somewhere between pastry flour and all purpose.

    We made our way back to the fryer which was hovering around 350. This was a serious amount of hot oil in the small-bathtub deep-fryer and Dobra mentions that in the summer, it gets mighty hot back there. We took sheet rack after sheet rack of crusciki to the hot oil. It was amazing to see them puff up and bloom right away in the heat. Sort of like reverse-shrinky-dinks, but deep-fried and delicious. Dobra manned the fryer, carefully wielding a couple of wooden chopsticks to keep the chrusciki from touching and sticking together. With a single chopstick-poke she flipped them when they'd gotten just golden brown enough. Off they came to drain and cool and then we topped them with powdered sugar. Brave volunteers stepped in for chopstick duty and got their turn at the wheel.

    Next came the paczki which had been doing their final rise in the proofing cabinet while we were doing the rest of the work. The dough looked perfectly risen but turned out to have been a touch over-proofed and the first batch deflated a bit after frying up. We saw some real baker's ingenuity when Dobra poked holes in the paczki which allowed the excess air to escape and the remaining paczkis turned out great. I fried for a bit, and watched as the paczkis bobbed and bubbled to the top. I let the crust and color just set on the tops before carefully flipping them over to let the bottoms color. One final turn, and the paczkis were evenly done.

    Some brave individuals handled the hot-from-the-fryer paczkis to dip the tops in icing with home-made candied orange peel. Dobra said that every Polish cook worth his or her salt can make great candied orange peel. I left the heavy work to the asbestos-handed and artistically drizzled the orange peel over the just-iced paczki.

    We put them aside to cool. Some were split for whippped cream and strawberry filling. The others were left whole and received a wide assortment of fillings: blueberry, rose petal jelly, plum, apricot, custard and boozy custard. The filling machines were pretty cool to see in action. You impale two paczkis on two exposed nubs, hit a lever, and you've got filled donuts. There were one or two messy and amusing mis-steps as the class tried to operate the machine (I'm sure I wouldn't have fared any better, I couldn't even figure out how to close the refrigerator door). The boozy custart was too cold to work through the machine, so Dobra filled a dozen the old-fashioned way, with a piping bag. Through a bit of a mix-up, some custard paczek were iced with ganache. I ate one of them while we boxed everything up and it was rich and delicious.

    So all in all, a great day of pitching in to make a lot of delicious fried dough. After recent efforts at bread-making, it was a lot of fun to hang out in a professional bakery, see all the equipment (I'll take one Hobart mixer and that proofing cabinet, thank you), and work together to make some great food. If I'm not mistaken, Dobra plugged LTH twice while addressing the group. Keep your eyes peeled for more cooking classes in the future, and not just for Polish foods either.

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