Paczki, Polish Jelly Donuts

Paczki, Polish Jelly Donuts Picture
1. Make the sponge, by first gently heat the milk, it should be warm, and not hot. Too hot will kill the yeast. Mix the flour and the yeast together, then add the milk and mix well. Cover with a dish towel, and set in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.

2. Now it's time to get the liquid pat of this recipe together. Place the milk and butter in a pot over a low heat. When the butter is about 3/4 melted, turn off the heat, and swirl the pot around until the butter has finished melting. Add the sugar and brandy and stir until the sugar is melted.

3. Place about 3 1/2 cups flour in a large bowl with the salt. whisk the eggs then add them also. Add the liquid ingredients, and the sponge, and mix well adding additional flour as needed. You'll probably use all of the extra cup of flour. Knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated, put in a clean bowl, cover with a linen dish towel, and set in a warm, draft free place. Let this rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

4. When the dough has risen, punch it down, set it on a floured board, and divide in half. I found that working with 2 smaller pieces was a lot easier than working with one real large one. Knead each piece for about 5 minutes, then set them under a bowl to rest for another 10 minutes or so.

5. Prepare a 2 sheet pans by coating with vegetable oil. Set one of the pieces of dough on a floured rolling board, and roll to a thickness of about 1/2". Cut the dough into 2 1/2" discs and set on the oiled sheet pans. Combine the scraps, roll and continue cutting until you've used up all of the dough. Cover the sheet pans and let the discs rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

6. Fill a straight sides pan with about 3" of vegetable oil, and heat to about 375 degrees. Carefully place the risen discs in the hot oil, cook about 3 minutes (until they've browned), then flip and cook another 2 minutes or so. Place them on a rack, over another sheet pan to drain and cool a little. Continue this process until all of the Paczki are fried.

7. Using a sharp knife, poke a hole in the side of each donut. I spun it around while it was inside to make a little bit larger hole. Place the filling in a piping bag with a tip about the size of a pencil, and fill each donut.

8. To serve, place them on a plate, and dust with lots of powdered sugar.

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