I just stopped into Alliance Bakery to say hello to my old coworkers. They are in the midst of preparations for Paczki Day, which is one of their busiest days of the year. Paczki (pronounced Poonch-key) are fried Polish donuts that are filled with a number of things. Prunes are traditional, but other fruit and Bavarian cream are very common in America. They are sprinkles with powdered sugar or dipped in chocolate glaze. In Poland they are made on Fat Thursday, the Thursday just prior to Lent, to use up lard, sugar, and fruit which are forbidden during the 40 days of fasting. In America, paczki are eaten on Fat Tuesday and are associated with Mardi Gras.
Chicago has an enormous Polish population. Alliance is located in old-world Polandia cum yuppie paradise, which yields them a great amount of business on Paczki Day. Last year they sold 10,000 on Fat Tuesday, and are projected to do the same in 2007. For any of you that visited me while I worked there, you know it isn't a big place. The idea that 10,000 anything could come out of there on one day is mind-boggling.
I wish I had my camera with me so I could have taken a picture of the walk-in freezer, jammed full with racks of retarded paczki dough, already rolled and just waiting for the fryer. Kristal dropped one in for me. While it was still hot she filled it with vanilla custard and dusted the top with powdered sugar. So amazingly good, and not just for breakfast, either.