In Poland, paczki are eaten especially on Fat Thursday (the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday). Polish Americans celebrate Paczki Day on Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday).
Traditionally, the reason for making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, because they were forbidden to be consumed due to Catholic fasting practices during Lent.Paczki have been known in Poland at least since the Middle Ages. During the reign of August III, under the influence of French cooks who came to Poland, paczki dough was improved, so that paczki became lighter, spongier, and more resilient.
Paczki are usually covered with powdered sugar, icing or bits of dried orange zest. A small amount of grain alcohol (traditionally, Spiritus) is added to the dough before cooking; as it evaporates, it prevents the absorption of oil deep into the dough. Check out the infographic below to learn more about paczkis!
Full Size: Happy Paczki Day!