Celebrate Fat Tuesday with a Healthier Treat

Shanthi Appelo
Shanthi Appelo

| 2 min read

Fat Tuesday is celebrated around the world. The Catholic holiday goes by different names based on location and culture such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Pancake Tuesday in Great Britain, and Paczki Day in many midwestern cities. Fat Tuesday originated as a holiday to indulge the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the Catholic season of Lent.
Since Paczki Day is a Michigan favorite, let’s dig into this Polish dessert:
A paczek – singular for paczki – is a traditional Polish pastry made of deep-fried dough and filled with preserves, then topped with powdered sugar. It’s often compared to a jelly doughnut, but a paczek often has more filling and a heftier, almost brioche-like, dough.
Paczki gets a bad rap for being unhealthy, but are they as unhealthy as we think they are? Let’s take a look below that includes comparisons of desserts from popular restaurants:
Food* Serving size Calories
Saturated Fat (g) Sugar
Paczek filled with traditional preserves, dusted in confectioner’s sugar 1 paczek 300-450 7-15 20-35 Iced raspberry-filled doughnut 1 doughnut 300-400 7-10 20-25 Plain cheesecake 1 slice 400-1000 13-35 18-30 Ice cream 2/3 cup 320-380 10-15 25-35 Brownie 4-inch square 450-500 7-10 40-55 Chocolate chip cookie 4-inch cookie 350-400 10-15 25-35
*Dessert calories are based on estimates and averages, and greatly vary among serving sizes, brand names and origin recipe.
It turns out, most Paczki measure up to many common desserts in nutritional value. Because it’s loaded with sugar and saturated fat, it’s best to enjoy them once in a while in moderation, like on Fat Tuesday.
While some prefer to enjoy splitting a paczek with a friend to cut down on the heavy dessert, others prefer to give Fat Tuesday treats a healthier twist.
In England and some other nations, Fat Tuesday is sometimes referred to as Pancake Day. These blini sliders (mini-pancakes) offer the flavor of the paczki, but without the effort of baking and sans the calories of the deep-fried treat. They’re bite-sized, so it’s easy to enjoy a couple for a smaller dessert. Better yet, you can enjoy other types of desserts using blinis, such as the Swedish Semla and the New Orleans’ famous King Cake. Learn more about how to make a traditional Semla here.
Serving Amount
  • 1 cup flour

  • 114 cup milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tbsp butter, melted

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 12 tsp baking powder

  • 14 tsp salt

  • Spray oil

  • 14 cup raspberry or prune preserves

  • 1 cup whipped cream (not out of can)

  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

  • Step 1

    In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.

  • Step 2

    In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients except for spray oil until batter is smooth. Add dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk until smooth.

  • Step 3

    In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, spray oil. Using a spoon, spoon batter into round 2-3-inch pancakes. Flip once golden.

  • Step 4

    Serve with desired topping and fillings.

  • Step 5

    Spread 1 tsp preserves on blini. Top with 1-2 Tbsp whipped cream.

  • Step 6

    Top with another blini and dust with powdered sugar.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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