How and Why You Need to Find Halal Pączkis on Fat Tuesday Without Lard or Alcohol In Them

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Are you a doughnut fan? (Who isn’t?) Then this Fat Tuesday, you need to get yourself a Pączki.

Pączkis (pronounced POANCH-key) are these decadent doughnuts sold every year on the day before Ash Wednesday. They’re stuffed with delicious fillings like fruit preserves, creams, custards and more, that will make you want to join the rest of Americans hitting up local doughnut shops to get some.

But be careful. Some shops sell pączkis made with lard and alcohol as part of tradition.

Pączkis were originally made as a way to use up a lot of the ingredients forbidden during Lent. Lard was a common household fat, so into the dough it went. Alcohol is used in the dough to prevent it from absorbing too much oil. Some doughnut shops and bakeries wish to preserve these traditions.

But don’t worry, not all of them. In fact, whenever I call around every year, the majority of places I find make their pączkis with all vegetable shortening and oil and use no alcohol. Even better are places that make their pączki dough with butter for flavor.

How to find Halal Pączkis

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1. Find a mom-and-pop shop. Unlike chains like Dunkin Donuts or Tim Horton’s that offer a commercial version, family-owned places will have employees that know exactly what’s in their pączkis. Plus, their pączkis will taste better.

2. Ask if any lard or alcohol is used to make their pączkis. The shop will have made a conscious decision whether to use lard and alcohol or not. If they do, avoid, if they don’t, score!

3. Thank them. Explain you’re asking because you’re Muslim and avoid those ingredients, and show gratitude for letting you know. A thank you can go a long way.

And that’s it. At most places, you can even place an order the day before.

I like to buy a dozen and share them with family, trying as many flavors as possible. Fruit preserve pączkis are nice and sweet while custard ones are a way to enjoy a more lightly sweetened yet rich and luscious pastry cream.

One of the best I’ve had though? Nutella filled. And I’m not saying that “because Pinterest.” It just works. They’re more likely to be at hipstery doughnut shops than traditional ones, but they’re great.

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Enjoy your Halal pączki!

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