CHICAGO – Don’t feel bad if you didn’t sound it out. [Ponch’-key] wasn’t my first guess either, on my pilgrimage to what I was informed is the best place in Chicago to taste these delightful Polish donuts, the Polish Pączki Cafe.
Made from a yeasted dough, hand filled with not-too-sweet plum jam and shaped by hand rather than injected with filling, they’re so much better than jelly doughnuts. Which explains why head baker Anna, who describes pączki in the video below, got a pained expression when I called them ‘Polish donuts’.
“They are pączki,” she said, “not donuts.”
After tasting these perfect baseball-sized feather-light dough spheres: fried, glazed and topped with candied orange zest, my mouth told me she was right – pączki deserves to have its own food group!
Because I can never resist an apple fritter, I also ordered that, only to find out I had ordered yummy apple stuffed pancakes. I was not disappointed in the least.
Repeat My Polish Pączki Cafe experience: