Chruściki, Faworki: Polish Angel Wings

Chruściki, Chrusty, Faworki

Chruściki (pron.: ‘hroosh-cheeky’, already plural; also known as ‘Chrusty’ or ‘Faworki’) are light and crispy pastry, beautifully shaped into elongated ribbons. They’re deep-fried in lard and generously sprinkled with finely powdered sugar.

For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.

While Chruściki are a classic Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday) treat, they aren’t unique to Polish cuisine. Many countries have their own version of this delicacy, for example German Raderkuchen, or Italian Chiacchiere.

If you would like to learn more about the history of this wonderful treat, watch this space. A full article will be published very soon.

Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make Chruściki?

No. All of the ingredients should be easily available in any major supermarket.

Flour: Most recipes call for Polish mąka tortowa 450. Internationally, the closest match would be either soft wheat or pastry flour.

If you can’t source it – don’t worry, use a regular all-purpose flour instead.

Vodka or Vinegar: While this may sound a bit absurd at first, but adding a tablespoon of vodka or white vinegar to the dough will make it lighter and fluffier.

Moreover, alcohol partially protects the pastry from soaking up too the fat and helps achieve that light crunch. Don’t worry about that alcohol content – such a small amount evaporates in no time.

Lard (for deep-frying): A controversial ingredient for sure, but it’s traditional and – some might say (myself included), it really improves the flavour. But if you’re not convinced, use a neutral cooking oil instead, such as canola or sunflower oil.

Equipment-wise, you’ll need:

  • Large bowl, or a bowl that comes with a stand mixer
  • Flour/Sugar sifter
  • Cling film
  • Stand mixer with a dough hook (optional)
  • Meat grinder (completely optional)
  • Sharp knife or pizza/pasta wheel
  • Kitchen thermometer (useful)
  • Wide cooking pot or deep skillet/frying pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Paper towels

How should you serve these pastries?

Chruściki are traditionally enjoyed during the time of Carnival, in the time leading to Lent. Just before Tłusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday), bakery displays and shelves are overloaded with Faworki, Pączki, Oponki and Ptysie.

Interestingly, Polonia (Polish communities abroad) enjoys these pastries around Christmas and Easter times as well.

Faworki are generously dusted with powdered (icing) sugar and served alongside a hot beverage, such as tea or coffee. Don’t expect any dips on the side – we’re not dipping them in chocolate or anything else.

Can you make Chruściki another way?

Yes, you can try another method, for example:

Electric Deep Fryer

The frying method remains the same, just like with regular deep-frying – you’ll find the instructions in recipe card at the bottom.

  1. Set the temperature for 350-355°F (180°C) and monitor the cooking process closely.
  2. Depending on their thickness, Faworki only need a brief 30-60 second deep-frying session on each side.

Oven Baking

To avoid deep-frying altogether, bake Faworki in the oven. But please be aware, that their texture will differ quite a bit. Tasty nevertheless.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, distribute Faworki evenly and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake until lightly golden, approx. 8 minutes.
  3. Take them out onto a cooling rack and sprinkle with icing sugar.

    If the pastries are still a bit soft at this point, don’t worry – they’ll turn crispy while cooling down.

Air fryer

The results will be similar to the oven-baked Faworki. They’ll be lighter, but not exactly the same as the deep-fried version.

  1. Set the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Fry for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Take them out onto a cooling rack and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Other versions

There are also other versions of these crispy delicacies, we’ll test them out soon. Most popular recipes are:

  • ‘Faworki drożdżowe’ (on yeast)
  • ‘Faworki na piwie’ (with added beer)

What diets is this recipe suitable for?

This recipe is suitable for a traditional diet.

If you choose to deep-fry your Chruściki in vegetable oil instead of lard, they’ll become vegetarian-friendly.

How long can you store chruściki?

Storing Chrusty in the fridge isn’t necessary, in fact – I wouldn’t even recommend it. It’s best to store them in a dry place, at room temperature.

If you can prevent the moisture from creeping up on them, Chruściki will stay crisp for up to a week. If you live in a humid climate, it’s worth moving the pastries into a container with a lid.

In the Polish climate, I just leave them on a plate, uncovered, on the kitchen windowsill.

Can I freeze Chruściki?

No, frozen Chrusty loose their crispiness and turn soggy. But you still have leftover raw dough, you can freeze it for another time:

  1. Form a dough ball and wrap it in cling film.
  2. Label it with a description and a date, and aim to consume within 2-3 months.
  3. To use it again, just leave it at room temperature to thaw overnight.
Chruściki (Faworki, Chrusty) - Polish Angel Wings Cookies, sprinkled with powdered sugar
Chruściki (Faworki, Chrusty) - Polish Angel Wings Cookies, sprinkled with powdered sugar

Chruściki, Chrusty, Faworki: Polish-style Angel Wings

Yield: 30-40 pastries
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 56 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups soft wheat/pastry flour (10.5 oz, 300 g), can be replaced with all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon caster/superfine sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or 6% distilled vinegar (spirit/white vinegar)
  • 5 heaped tablespoons sour cream (approx. 125 grams)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) lard or neutral cooking oil; for frying
  • ¼ cup (25 g) powdered/icing sugar; for sprinkling

Instructions

Making Chruściki Dough

The following steps can be done by hand, or using a stand mixer.

  1. Sift flour, caster sugar and salt into a bowl. Add egg yolks, vodka and sour cream.
  2. Knead together by hand (grease your hands first!), or use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Form a smooth dough ball.

    Pro tip: Some recipes suggest placing a dough ball into a bowl, covering it with a cloth (or cling film) and resting it for 45-60 minutes in the refrigerator. By some accounts, the resting time improves dough plasticity. That said, this recipe was tested without resting, and it worked out just fine.
  3. Move the dough onto the worktop. Begin folding the dough over itself, giving a quarter-turn of the dough between each fold.
  4. “Beat up” the dough on each side with a rolling pin, the more violent you are - the better. As you do this, you will feel the dough become pliable and and easier to work with. Traditional recipes call for at least 20 minutes of such treatment, but let’s be realistic here - try to do as much as you can.

    Pro tip: Do you own a meat grinder? Push the dough through 3 times, using the largest holes. Anecdotally, this process allows to skip the whole “dough beating” described above.

Cutting out Chruściki

  1. Lightly dust the worktop with flour. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 equal parts, and roll one of them out - as thinly as possible. If you own a pasta maker, it will provide very useful here. Cover the remaining dough parts with a cloth, to prevent it from drying out.
  2. Using a knife or a pizza/pasta cutter wheel, cut out long strips, approx. 1.2-1.5’’ (3-4 cm) wide. Then, cut them into shorter pieces - around 3.5-4’’ (9-10 cm) long - cut straight or diagonally at the ends.
  3. Make a 0.8’’ (2 cm) incision in the middle of each strip. Then pull one end through that hole to form a bow. Grab the ends, shake and pull them gently and set aside. Continue until you’re out of strips.
    Chruściki assembly steps

Deep-frying

  1. In a wide cooking pot or a large, deep skillet, heat up lard or neutral cooking oil. If you own a kitchen thermometer, aim for 350-355°F (180°C). If you don’t, throw in a small piece of dough - if it rises and flows, that means it’s hot enough.
  2. Fry only a few chruściki at a time, until they turn lightly golden - around 30-60 seconds per side. Watch them like a hawk, they’re fried very quickly.
  3. Retrieve faworki with a slotted spoon and onto a paper towel. Dust them generously with icing sugar, as soon as possible. Don’t wait for them to cool completely, sugar tends to stick better to warm pastries.


Nutrition Information:
Yield: 40 Serving Size: 3
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

Questions & Answers

My Chruściki dough is too firm and crumbly. How can I fix that?

If the dough is too firm, add a little more cream to it – this should help. You may also need to knead it a bit longer – the dough is always very firm at first, but the consistency changes as you knead.

Kasia Kronenberger

Kasia Kronenberger changes the (often unfavourable) perceptions of Polish food through digital storytelling. She creates purpose-led, bite-sized videos, exploring her cultural identity through food. As a self-taught home cook, Kasia enjoys trying out recipes from old Polish cookbooks. She’s keen of all things smoked or fermented.


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Polish name:
Pronunciation:
Cuisine: Polish
Region / Subregion: all-Polish
Other traditional or regional names: Chrust, Chrusty, Chruścik, Chruściki, Jaworki, Kreple (historical)
Also known as (including misspellings): Raderkuchen, Angel Wings, Dried Twigs, Bow Tie Cookies, Kruschiki