Story and photos by Adam Gerber
The new year may be well underway, but the winter holidays don’t end in December. Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are right around the corner, and Delightful Pastries in Jefferson Park is already deep into preparations, getting ready to offer an array of treats for your celebrations of love and letting lose. Delightful Pastries makes their name by sticking to a homemade quality that is hard to come by in bakeries today. Everything from the custards, candies to jellies and jams is made from scratch in their Lawrence Avenue location, and you can tell. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made their own powdered sugar.
1st up on the calendar, Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, and if you don’t have a plan yet Delightful Pastries has your dessert course covered. Call in to order from a custom assortment of treats like the classic Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Keto Almond Truffles or order a $30 Valentine’s Day Box consisting of 2 assorted truffles, 2 Pecan Turtles, 2 Linzer cookies, 2 Decorated Hearts with Royal Icing, 1 Paris Brest and 1 Death by Chocolate Mousse Heart. Personally, I recommend ordering some extra truffles, there’s no such thing as “too many truffles” there’s just truffles for later.
Only two days after Valentine’s Day on 2/16 is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras Day. All over the world (modified) preparations are under way for Carnival festivals of all shapes and sizes, but here in Chicago, Fat Tuesday is better known as Packzi Day. A Packzi (pronounced puhnch·kee) is Polish doughnut, it’s round and generally filled or stuffed with sweet filling. Polish Bakeries across the city draw lines early in the morning of Fat Tuesday for these fluffy and scrumptious Packzi, but Delightful Pastries is one of the only bakeries that stocks Packzi year-round, making it a venerable corner stone of the scene.
There may be a football game in Florida coming up, but 2/16 is the Super Bowl over at Delightful Pastries. Preparations are already well underway, preparing their signature homemade fillings and jams, and the bakers will work for 2 days straight before the morning of the 16th producing Packzi for the big day. Of course their flavors include classics like Raspberry Jam, Fresh Strawberry and Whipped Cream, Custard, Plum Butter, and Rose Petal. But they also venture into more contemporary flavors like Passion Fruit, Salted Caramel, Jameson Chocolate Custard, and Lemon Moonshine. All of them are delicious, but a couple of them are next level. Do not miss the Salted Carmel or the Passion Fruit. It’s in flavors like these where Delightful Pastries really earn their name. The rich, thick caramel custard in the Salted Caramel isn’t like anything I’ve ever had in a doughnut before. It’s so nicely set, it’s more akin to an expertly done condensed milk caramel than a doughnut custard. The Passion fruit is all about balance, too often tropical flavors can be sickeningly sweet, but that’s not the case here. This Passion Fruit filling is a masterclass in jam (a class I would happily attend again). Making jam is a practice that necessitates adding a ton of sugar to an already sugary fruit, this jam somehow preserves the wonderful natural tartness of the Passion Fruit and balances the sweet fried pastry with an expert hand.
Packzi lines at Delightful Pastries will start early in the morning of the 16th, but they heavily encourage you to place orders of more than a dozen online as soon as possible to avoid lines and guarantee your order. Order your Packzi here
NOTE: Delightful Pastries is selling special Thin Blue Line and Blue Heart cookies to raise funds for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
The limited-edition cookies are available for purchase now through the end of February, excluding Valentine’s Day. Small heart cookies are $1.99; large heart shaped cookies are $2.99 and the square sugar cookies are $2.50. Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.