The sweet holiday of Paczki Day takes place the day before Ash Wednesday. The Polish tradition of indulging in fried dough filled with jams, custards or other sweet surprises dates back to the Middle Ages.
A PUNCH-kee or POONCH-key or POOCH-key is traditionally a round Polish pastry filled with fruit and coated in sugar. Those who would be fasting during Lent needed to empty the pantry; this Polish pastry was an ideal way to use up what was in the larder. More modern versions fill the paczki with custard or cream and even cover the outside with a glaze and sprinkles.
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