Polish Faworki

For mom’s side of the family, the one recipe that was a pain in the … you know… was the Faworki. This family heirloom has been the unicorn for our family. You know the one… the high effort, high reward, and there’s only one person alive on this earth who can remember how they used to taste? Sadly, Grandma is gone–along with her tastebuds and memories. This is our last effort at recreating them. Read our family story on Faworki below, after the recipe. -C

Normally there would be more Faworki stacked Lincoln Log style, but our “amiable tasters” got into them before the camera clicked–again. Cake stand is “American” by Fostoria.

Polish Faworki

2 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 and 1/2 oz. vodka or rum
2 cups flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar plus more for dusting

1 lb. lard
1 lb. Crisco

Measure out the flour, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl, whisk together to blend and set aside.

In a food processor fitted with a dough blade, pulse together the eggs and liquor until well blended, about 2 minutes. Then add the butter, and blend for another 2 minutes.

Add in the dry ingredients, and pulse until a well combined. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth, incorporating more flour into the dough until it is not sticky, for about 10 minutes. Beat the dough vigorously with a rolling pin until you see bubbles or blisters form. (Stress relief) Form the dough into a ball and let it rest uncovered for 10-15 minutes. The dough may not be perfectly smooth on the outside, but after it rests for it will be smooth on the inside.

Divide dough into eighths. Form the divided dough pieces into flat disks, flouring very lightly. Using a pasta roller machine, roll out the disks of dough, and fold into thirds, running it through the machine at the widest setting (usually a “10”) again open end first. The goal is to have a rectangle shaped piece of dough. Repeat as needed, folding in half or in thirds, and running through the wide setting of the pasta roller until the dough is in the desired rectangular shape. Repeat with the other sections of dough.

Run all of the sections of dough through the pasta machine. Allow the dough to rest on a lightly floured surface, before turning the pasta roller down to the next smallest setting. Repeat at the next setting until all of the dough has been run through the “1” setting. Stop and allow the sheets of dough to rest on the counter for 5 minutes.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough sheets into 1 inch strips at a sharp angle (the sharper the angle, the longer the strips). Then cut a two inch slit down the middle of each strip of dough. Pull one end of the dough through the slit, forming a twist, and lay flat back on the lightly floured counter. It is very important to have all of the dough made, cut, twisted, and rested before frying.

Bring the lard and Crisco to 350 degrees F in an enameled cast iron pot. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. In batches of 4 or 5 strips of dough at a time, fry the dough for 30 sections, use a skewer to flip them all, then fry for another 15 to 20 seconds until they just begin to turn from white to a tan color. Remove from oil and let drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.

Allow the oil to recover back to a 350 degrees F. between batches! Doing too many batches in succession can lower the oil temperature and make for a weakly-fried Faworki.

Dust the Faworki generously with powdered sugar. Best served the same day. Faworki tend to absorb moisture in the air and do not keep well overnight.

Grandma wrote this recipe in 1966 noting that it was the “right” recipe, and as you can read, there is very little specificity within it. The taste was right but the texture was not quite right. This card was all we had to work with.

My Grandma used to go to her Babcia’s for Christmas dinner in the 1930s and 1940s where she would see the powdered sugar-covered Faworki stacked Lincoln Log-style on a beautiful glass plate. She said they had a wonderful brittle crunch and would practically disintegrate in your mouth in all their sweet glory.

Our family has tried to recreate the Faworki time and again ever since Babcia died in 1948. My mom and her sister, under my Grandma’s watchful eye, would be in the kitchen beating the dough with a rolling pin until it blistered.

Grandma left us in 2011, and she was the only person who knew exactly how they should taste, but knew even less about how they were made. When Mom and her sister would make the effort again, Grandma would keep a watchful eye, and say, “That looks right… yes… looks good…” Then she would taste the final product and “…Nope.”

The groans of disappointment I heard coming from the kitchen when I was little could hardly be differentiated from the groans of a missed field goal.

So Mom and I tried again, this time without Grandma. We can’t know if we are right, but that reminds us how important it is to pass recipes and techniques down, and not leave out any of their secrets. One of the reasons why this blog exists. -C

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