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The Inspiration

Polish Deli After more than a year of doughnut-eating, I finally made it into the establishment that inspired this hunt for London’s best doughnuts. It was on a routine cycle to work that I spotted the sign for ‘Polish doughnuts’ (or pączki) hanging outside Polsmak and pondered how they were different from our English stalwarts.

Mammoth doughnut

Well, it turns out the main difference is in the filling, size and, in this case, the shape. They were still deep-fried, sugar-coated and dangerously tasty, but this was the only doughnut I tried that came in a mammoth square (small sandwich size) and probably tasted the least sweet out of all of them, with its ever-so-slightly sweetened soft cheese filling. Still, it went down very well with a cup of tea!

Pączki doughnut

Price: 95p
Unsweetened, like a soft and dense bread roll
This was a pączek z serum or cheese doughnut, so the filling was a soft Polish cheese, a bit like a cross between ricotta and cream cheese. Slightly sweetened but not overpoweringly so. 
Simple icing sugar glaze (the only really sweet part)
8/10 – extra marks for being such good value for money: you could easily share one between two.

Incidentally, you know how shrove Tuesday comes under many guises – Pancake Day, Mardi Gras, Carnival…? Well the Poles have Pączki day. That’s right – DOUGHNUT DAY. An old Polish proverb says that if you don’t eat a pączek on that day, you’ll have bad luck all year. As much as I love pancakes, I think we’re missing a trick here… But the best news is, they celebrate it on the Thursday before Lent begins – so we can celebrate both!

Coming up tomorrow… Doughnuts: The Winner!