From doughnuts to herrings - Polish Shrovetide

I like the time in Poland when carnival ends. Winter is still cold but people make hot atmosphere around. This special time starts on Tłusty Czwartek (eng. Fat Thursday ;)) and finishes on Ash Wednesday. This culmination of carnival in Poland called “Ostatki” (eng. Shrovetide). “Ostatki” in Poland has long tradition. Carnival had a lot of traditions in the old Poland but “ Ostatki” had more because in that time rich and poor people needed to enjoy. All social classes had their own traditional plays and meals but everybody wanted to forget about coming Lent. Polish aristocracy organized balls, fancy-dress balls, sleigh rides, feasts. During “Ostatki” all the events piled up in one big event. Everything began on Tłusty Czwartek when people ate a lot fatty meals during feast and ball. The mark of this day was and is doughnut (pol. pączki). On Friday night after the balls all participants kept move sleigh rides to another house and start new plays repeatedly until Ash Wednesday when at midnight a host changed fat meals on Lenten fare, spilt ash and ended carnival.There was always a dish with herring. Of all of these herring and ash are marks of Ash Wednesday. Fatty meals didn't mean only fat food. the old Polish cuisine had wide selection of dishes and pastry, and every host wanted to serve special nad fancy dishes, so that way Polish cuisine became more diverse. At present the feasts aren't so rich but everybody wants to enjoy on party or fancy-dress balls with friends and eat good, a lot and fatty. And on Fat Thursday rich and poor people eat doughnuts, a lot of doughnuts.

This year I made traditional Polish doughnut for my Irish friends , below the recipe.

500 g. flour
30 g. yeast
6 fresh yolk
100 g sugar
100g butter
100 ml. warm milk
1 tbs. vodka
1/3 tsp. Salt
1 tbs grated peel of lemon
lard or cooking oil to fry
jar of rose petal jam or other jam

1.Yeast and 2 tbsp. Sugar dissolve in half portion milk and keep this liquid in warm place for half hour to grow.
2.Yolks and rest of sugar to mix for white mass,add melted butter and rest of milk and mix well.
3.Flauor and salt sift to bowl and add yolks milk mass and mix well.
4.The next add milk with yeast and peel of lemon and vodka and mix very well. Dough must be smooth and shine.
5.Keep it in warm place about half an hour for grow.
6.When dough grew, make on your hand circle and on middle part put small portion rose petal jam and make ball. Put this ball on dishcloth and make next doughnuts. When you made last cover they next dishcloth for 15 minutes after this time turn on doughnuts and keep next 15 minutes for grow.
7.When doughnuts grew, heat up lard or oil in wide pot. When it is hot put few doughnuts and fry for gold colour one side and turn on and fry second side. Ready doughnuts put on plate and sprinkle they with icing sugar and fry next doughnuts.
Serve cold down. Enjoy!!!

PS. Below the movie with famous Polish song about sleigh ride (pol. Kulig), and true Polish winter.


  1. There is even more snow this year actually and we enjoy it much! I have already had my herring today (my favourite - in cream) and I continue fasting. But I can't stop thinking about last week's doughnuts, so I bought another jar of the rosehip jam... I think you should explain why vodka is so important in this particular recipe! Good job!

  2. And I need to say this recipe is great! I can't move much as I couldn't resist some 6 doughnuts.



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