Photos: Pączki with Johnny

Happy Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday/Pączki Day! When I saw on Facebook this morning that Mr. Johnny DiLoretto was in the neighborhood at Babushka’s Kitchen, I decided to grab my three-year-old Will and go visit. Johnny was there showing off their homemade pączki.

Will and I hung out with Johnny, Adam, and Babushka owners Jacky and Dennis. We got to watch them tape a couple segments and busy themselves filling orders.

Babushka’s sold out of their pączki quickly. Dennis said he plans to triple their production next year, to roughly 75 dozen. The restaurant was barely a week old by this time last year, so this is their first time producing the delicious pastry for the occasion.

Orders upon orders upon orders. For those who don’t know, pączki is a traditional Polish pastry, usually made just before Ash Wednesday as a way to use up all of that gluttonous butter, lard, sugar (read: delicious) ingredients that you might give up for Lent. They’re essentially big, round donuts, filled with fruits, jams, or creams, and dusted with powdered sugar. In fitting with Fat Tuesday, Polish Americans adopted the traditional of eating pączki on the day before Ash Wednesday, although in Europe they usually celebrate on the previous Thursday.

We sampled two different fillings. One had a raspberry fruit, the other a lightly sweet prune filling (on the left).

It was hard work having to eat them. Really tough. But I was glad to take a hit for the team.

Here’s the close-up of the prune filling. I really liked the texture. It was sweet without being cloying, and I preferred it over the raspberry. I think a visit to Babushka’s every Pączki Day should become a new tradition!

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