Fat Thursday – Donuts and Crisped Cakes

February 7, 2013 in Basic Information, Food, General, History, Leisure, Lifestyle, Polish Matters, Travelling Poland

fat thursday in Poland 300x173 Fat Thursday   Donuts and Crisped Cakes

Picture (C) by blogofpoland.com

It’s that time of year again – Fat Thursday is here, and as it’s only 10 in the morning, many donuts are still awaiting icon smile Fat Thursday   Donuts and Crisped Cakes The Polish Fat Thursday tradition, associated with Catholic Lent which will start next Wednesday, is somewhat similar to Mardi Gras and Pancake Tuesday as known by other nationalities. So what do we eat?


Fat Thursday is traditionally the last Thursday before Lent. The 40 days of Lent, according to Catholic believe, begin with Ash Wednesday celebrations which in 2013 happens to be on February 13th. That makes this years Fat Thursday be today, on February 7th.

The main idea of Fat Thursday is to eat all the stuff you’re not supposed to eat during Lent. Back in the old days it was also a way of getting rid of all the fatty and sweet food before the 40 day Lent period, during which it would have gone to waste. So, we east sweet stuff. Mainly the famous Polish “Pączki” (which, to a certain degree, resemble a donut with filling) and “Faworki” which are crisped cakes. You can see both on the picture above, which I made about an hour ago. They’re all gone by now, I can tell you that icon smile Fat Thursday   Donuts and Crisped Cakes

A “Pączek” is traditional only to Poland, I Think. At least I don’t recall ever seeing it anywhere else. You can donuts with filling, yes, but that’s not quite the same thing. A “Pączek” is yeast-base dough, deep-fried and sprikled with orange skin and icing. It is also filled with a variety of stuff. The Fat Thursday tradition would have you eat “Pączki” with a marmelade filling (mainly Strawberry or Raspberry) but today, you can get them with almost anything, including pudding, chocolate, egg-nog kind of stuff and many more. Everyone can get what they like.

If you’re not feeling too comfortable in the kitchen, making these yourself may be a bit tricky. If you do want to try it, I have found a few recipies for them, for instance here, here and here. Yes, I know they’re in Polish but Google Translate actually works pretty well on recipes, so do check them out. Maybe you can do your own little Fat Thursday back wherever you may be.

The second sweet thing is the “Faworek” which is a crisped cake. Also deep fired, but perhaps easier to make than a “Pączek”. I remember doing those with my Grandma and my Mom as a kid. They would prepare the dough, but I’d cut, twist them and fry them icon smile Fat Thursday   Donuts and Crisped Cakes The funny thing is, that I rarely see anyone eating the “Faworki” on days other than Fat Thursday. The “Pączki” are popular and always available on any regular day as well, whereas the “Faworki” tend to disappear and I never recall anyone eating or preparing them “just because” …

I found a few recipes for the “Faworki” as well – here, here and here.

So, OK, we eat things. But how does it work? Well, during Fat Thursday you will find the “Pączki” pretty much everywhere. In most work places, they will give them around for free. If not, almost everyone will bring some with them, generally in huge amounts (like 5 or 10 per person) so there are always left-overs. If you go to restaurant or café, your likely to get a complimentary “Pączek” to your order. Even some music clubs will have them lying around on the tables for people to eat.

Another thing that never fails to amuse me are the radio and TV stations. Every Fat Thursday you will find interviews with doctors, nutricians or whoever else might have something to say about food scaring people about the possible dangers of eating fatty, deep-fried and sweet stuff. And as much as may agree, could the healthy food police please give us a break once a year? It’s not like eating two, three or even ten donuts will kill you all at once …

What do you traditionally eat before Lent? Leave a comment, let me know!