Gilbert's Liberty Market serves everything from pasta to cake, but on Fat Tuesday, tomorrow, the highlight will be paczkis (pronounced "poonch-key"). The fried-dough dessert originated in Poland as a way to use leftover sweet and fatty ingredients before Lent. Over time, paczkis became a Fat Tuesday tradition in the Midwest.
Liberty Market has brought them to Arizona. It will be baking 1,700 paczkis tomorrow, February 13.
Head pastry chef, LaDawn Stuben describes paczkis a "a very rich doughnut that's traditionally filled with different types of jam. It's heavier than a regular doughnut. It's got a lot of butter and egg yolks." Stuben also adds orange zest to the batter.
She began making them for her husband, who is from the Midwest and missed the tradition. She sells paczkis at Liberty Market just one day per year.
Liberty Market is a longtime Gilbert staple. The building, which was formerly a grocery store, has been around since the 1930s. Liberty Market has been operating as a restaurant since 2008. The spot is now owned by chef David and Kiersten Traina and Gilbert restaurateurs Joe and Cindy Johnston. Joe also owns Joe's Real BBQ, Agritopia, and has a hand in other local endeavors.
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Stuben will offer two paczkis: vanilla custard or raspberry jam. These fill the fried dough ball, which is coated with powdered sugar.
This is the fifth paczki day for Liberty Market. Stuben will begin baking the pastries at 3 a.m. on Fat Tuesday. Doors open at 7 a.m. Production usually ends at about 1 p.m. Single paczkis cost $3.
Liberty Market. 230 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert; 480-892-1900.
Sunday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.