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Where to Purchase the Best Polish Pastries for Paēzki Day

March 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM | by | ()

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, aka the last day before Lent, and a time to fill your bellies in the spirit of final excess. For anyone of Polish heritage, however, the last Tuesday before these few weeks of going without is considered Paēzki Day. This holiday celebrates deep-fried goodness filled with fruit preserves (traditionally: prune, apricot, raspberry, cheese or custard) and topped with powdered sugar or glazed.

The traditional reason for making paēzki (pronounced: poonch-key) was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, since those were forbidden to consume during Lent. What better way to empty the house of the food you can't eat but to use it all to make a delicious little doughnut? Traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday), the treat has since taken over Mardi Gras.

If we've enticed you enough to sniff out the doughy goodness, here are some of the best bakeries to score a taste of an iconic Polish treat;

· The Detroit suburb of Hamtramck, MI celebrates the dessert in a big way with its annual Paēzki Day Parade. While you won't be able to score a day off of work, you can head to New Palace Bakery for not only the traditional fillings, but specialty flavors like rosehip, strawberry and chocolate or raspberry and cream. Keep an eye out for Ms. Paēzki, a beauty queen dressed up like the sweet treat.

· Chicago's massive Polish population knows where to pre-order their favorite doughnut. Bennison's Bakery in Evanston, IL is one of the most popular places for both traditional and unique flavors, like banana cream and praline chocolate mousse. If you're closer to the Southside, we'd recommend heading near Midway Airport to Weber's Bakery on Archer Ave. Plane spotting and paēzki? No complaints from us. It's best to call ahead to avoid disappointment.

· If in NYC, head on over to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, also known as "Little Poland." From the many bakeries serving up the sweet treat, check out Rzeszowska Bakery or Syrena Bakery. Along with the delicious doughnuts, the Fat Tuesday celebration might have you bringing home a babka or a poppyseed roll. We'd recommend to brush up on some Polish pleasantries to get a few warm smiles during this busy period.

· If you think LA won't obsess over deep-fried dough, think again. You will have to make the trip to Orange County, but Polka Deli is a traditional deli that serves up classic flavors like prune, raspberry, custard or plain, and their facebook page recommends to pre-order to ensure you get what you want. A little closer to the city, Stolichnaya Bakery in West Hollywood bakes up about seven different varieties for pre-Lent indulgence.

[Photo: chadmagiera, kurmanstaff]

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