OAKWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) – During a holiday known for indulgence, paczki are king at Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood. The traditional polish doughnuts typically drive crowds to the shop on Fat Tuesday.
“It’s that last day where people can come in and get their sweet treats before Ash Wednesday begins,” said shop owner Theresa Hammons.
Hammons explained the Polish tradition started when bakers needed a way to use their excess sugar, butter and filling before the start of Lent, when they anticipated many customers to forgo sweets in observance of the religious season.
The filled, doughnut-like pastry is now a staple in many communities during Mardi Gras.
Abbie Mills brought her 5 year old daughter Adelaide and 2 year old son Henry to try paczki Tuesday.
“We’re from Michigan and it’s a big Polish tradition to have paczki on Fat Tuesday. So we drove all the way from Centerville, specifically for them,” Mills said.
Ashley’s Pastry Shop prepared for the paczki demand early, making almost one thousand pastries until 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. By 10 a.m., the bakers were creating another batch.
“A lot of people will call and ask for them, but aren’t quite sure ow to pronounce it,” Hammons laughed. “As soon as they’re like, ‘It’s that doughnut,’ we know exactly what they’re talking about.”
The official Polish pronunciation is POWNCH-key.
Hammons said king cake, another Mardi Gras tradition, was another popular item Tuesday. By 10 a.m., the pastry shop sold out and bakers were preparing more.