The Prince of Paczki


Published:

“When it comes to paczki, the question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Is it worth the calories?’ ” cookbook author Annabel Cohen says moments before she bites — with obvious pleasure — into one of the rich, doughnut-like treats.

Every year, Detroiters answer Cohen’s question with a resounding “yes” by lining up at bakeries the morning before Ash Wednesday — Fat Tuesday is Feb. 16 this year — to get their hands on a box of jelly- or cream-filled paczki (pronounced punch-key). The deep-fried, traditionally Polish confections deliver up to 450 calories apiece, making them a fitting indulgence for a day dubbed “Fat.”

So who makes the best paczki? We invited three tasters to compromise their waistlines by sampling paczki (in Polish, paczki is the plural of paczek) from five bakeries.

Doug Kolly, a defense attorney who got his start eating homemade paczki in his grandmother’s basement, joined Cohen and yours truly in the quest for the best.

The assignment called for hard work and sacrifice — at least three belt holes were victimized in the process — but we persevered and crowned a paczki king. The winner, by unanimous decision, was New Polka Bakery in Hamtramck, whose paczki were impeccable spheres of glazed dough — dense and fluffy at once.

“It’s just perfect resistance to the bite,” Kolly pronounced as he dabbed a bit of wayward raspberry filling from his beard.

And while New Polka won the overall title, it was agreed that the raspberry filling of New Palace Bakery, another Hamtown favorite, scored slightly higher than its competitors. The panel concluded that a combination of New Palace filling, which contained seeds in its raspberry jam, as well as balanced tartness, and New Polka dough would have resulted in the perfect paczek.

Paczki Buffet:

// Dutch Girl Donuts, 19000 Woodward, Detroit; 313-368-3020
// New Deluxe Bakery, 11920 Conant, Hamtramck; 313-892-8165
// New Palace Bakery, 9833 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-875-1334
// New Polka Bakery, 9834 Conant, Hamtramck; 313-873-7959
// West Warren Bakery, 15708 Warren, Detroit; 313-584-2610

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Ferndale Music Festival Aims for TV Show

One-day event to feature more than two dozen acts

Weaving Detroit History Together

A beaded belt among goods used to seal the deal for Detroit’s Belle Isle

Good Reads: New and Notable Books

New photo-focused books tell a tale of ‘Two Detroits.’ Plus, See You in the Cosmos and The Detroit Public Library: An American Classic

The Way It Was

Berkley’s shopping district, 1959

Who to Watch at the Tony Awards

U-M composers already have a Golden Globe and an Oscar. And perhaps this Sunday, a Tony, too
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of Detroit 2017
    Our reader's picks for the Best of Detroit winners in food, drink, leisure, people, and services
  2. How Soil Shapes the Flavor of Michigan Wines
    A northern Michigan winemaker has begun unraveling the mysteries of his vineyard's 'terroir.'
  3. Real Estate All Stars 2017
  4. Hour Detroit’s Top Dentist Party 2017
    On May 8, Hour Media held its Top Dentists party at Bistro 82 in Royal Oak. The private dinner...