The Setting: Four Eater Detroit contributors, Brenna Houck, Victoria Trudeau, Serena Maria Daniels, Hannah Lowe and a few friends gathered together on Chubby Monday for the ultimate unscientific, pre-Paczki Day taste test. We were presented with Lenten treats from four local bakeries. Participants recorded their thoughts based on overall paczki flavor, filling, and dough. Unlike last year, this was not a blind taste test and many flavors were purchased for evaluation.
The Bakeries: Since Hamtramck is ground zero for paczki day it seemed only prudent that New Palace Bakery and New Martha Washington were included in the trial. Additionally, Eater Detroit selected small samples from Polish Market on Joseph Campau and Dutch Girl on Woodward Avenue.
Polish Market: Large paczki with powdered sugar exterior, chewy dough (kind of stale), and not-too-sweet filling.
New Martha Washington: Smaller than other paczki with a chewy, fresh dough, and sweet fillings (a runnier than some other fillings).
New Palace Bakery: Large paczki with lots of selection, filling was very sweet and tended to be distributed unevenly in the middle, very fresh dough with good chew.
Dutch Girl Donuts: Smaller paczki with different glazes and frostings, very sweet fillings, sweet dough with more soft donut texture (closer to a traditional filled donut).
Victoria Trudeau: Favorite Paczki—New Martha Washington chocolate cream-filled ("boozy"); Favorite Filling—Polish Market apricot filling ("not too sweet, but pastry is a little stale"); Favorite Dough—New Martha Washington.
Serena Maria Daniels: Favorite Paczki—New Martha Washington; Favorite Filling—New Martha Washington prune filling ("rich, thick puree"); Favorite Dough—New Palace Bakery.
Hannah Lowe: Favorite Paczki—Dutch Girl Donuts apple cinnamon; Favorite Filling—Polish Market apricot filling; Favorite Dough—Dutch Girl (soft "donut-style").
Brenna Houck: Favorite Paczki—New Martha Washington prune; Favorite Filling—Polish Market apricot filling; Favorite Dough—New Martha Washington ("right amount of chewiness without being stale and the glaze adds sweetness").
Best Paczki: New Martha Washington had a very consistent product across all flavors. Most testers favored the chocolate cream filled, which they described as tasting slightly "boozy." The dough was fresh with good chew and covered in a clear glaze. The fillings were sweet but not too sweet.
Best Dough: New Martha Washington's dough had a good flavor and texture that wasn't too tough or thick.
Best Filling: The overall favorite filling was the chocolate cream from New Martha Washington, but overall testers favored the fillings from Polish Market, which tasted more like fruit and less sweet.
Dutch Girl's paczki were the least consistent in terms of flavors. While their apple cinnamon was quite delicious, the overall least favorite paczki was a bright pink frosted and red-filled paczek (rose or raspberry? It was difficult to discern). One tester noted that it "tasted like Red Pop made into jelly. TOO sweet!"
Polish Market had great fillings but the dough its self tasted a bit stale. This could have been because we purchased them at 2 p.m. on a Monday.
What was your favorite paczki this year? Share in the comments or tweet @EaterDetroit #PaczkiMania