Fat Tuesday brings a dilemma, find out paczki calories (at minimum 300 calories), then decide how many to eat. See photos and video (both guaranteed calorie free!) of the traditional Polish pastry here.
Paczki — pronounced POONCH-key — is not a dieter’s best friend. But then again, neither is Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras) in general. All of these names refer to the day of feasting before Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season, in the Christian tradition when the devout give up their favorite foods for the forty days before Easter.
Enter our high calorie paczki which is sometimes misspelled as “punchki.” The tradition predates South Beach Diet, Atkins, the Zone Diet, and even Weight Watchers. It’s an old tradition from Poland dating back to medieval times. In the days before the Lenten season, Polish women would find all of the sugar, fruit, flour, and lard in the kitchen. They would take these soon-to-be forbidden foods and add eggs and spices, to create a deep fried, fruit-filled pastry. Prune is the traditional filling, but other popular fillings are blueberry, apple, and cream.
The tradition has traveled from Poland to the United States and has a stronghold in Polish communities in certain Midwestern states such as Michigan and Ohio. For Midwest bakeries, the demand for paczki makes the holiday a bigger one than Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, comparatively. Paczki Day is celebrated in some communities with paczki eating contests.
As for the origin of the word, according to Margaret Wojciechowski, general manager of the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy, Michigan, the word does not refer to anything in the Polish language other than pastry.
As sizes and ingredients vary widely, calorie counts are merely estimates ranging from 300 to 450 calories each, coupled with a whopping 22 to 27 grams of fat.
Now that you have indulged, what to do? Here is a handy guide of exercises to burn off those extra calories. An hour of jogging, for instance, will burn approximately 400 calories. Don’t want to jog? Scrubbing the floor will burn a respectable 325.
More paczki photos and a video are below.