Faworki are a popular Polish pastry that’s traditionally enjoyed on Fat Thursday. Also known as Angels Wings and Chrusciki, faworki are light, sweet, and worth every second of prep!
Like potato pancakes, faworki are another Polish treat I grew up enjoying. While they are traditionally enjoyed on Fat Tuesday/Thursday (depending on where you are!), they are addicting anytime.
Unlike doughnuts, the dough is rolled out thin, then deep fried to perfection with pockets of light airy bubbles. Then, once they cool, they’re topped with powdered sugar. Or, should I say, covered with powdered sugar. The more sugar on these sweet treats, the better!
This isn’t a recipe I can call “quick and easy” but the dough itself requires just 4 ingredients and is easy to prepare. Working the dough takes some time but it’s quite fun. If you’re feeling any anger or stress, you can definitely release it on the dough as you hit it with the rolling pin again and again. More on this later.
The end result is worth it – trust me!
What is Faworki?
Faworki are airy, deep fried pieces of dough coated with powdered sugar. They’re a popular Polish pastry, often enjoyed on Fat Thursday, and are often called “angel wings” due to their shape.
Other versions of this pastry exist around the world and other common names for it include chrusciki, favorki (Belarus), bugnes (France), diples (Greece), grostoli (Italy) and rabbit ears (Latvia). In North America, you may simply hear them referred to as “bow ties”.
What does Faworki Mean?
Faworki comes from the French word “faveur” which means grace. The word faworki itself refers to the ribbons given to knights by their ladies.
The other name for faworki – chrusciki – means “dried twigs”. My aunt called them Chrusciki.
Why You Should Always Eat More Than One Chrusciki
Faworki is traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday (Fat Thursday in Poland), alongside donuts. And, like donuts, you’ll always find people eating more than one.
Superstition says that if you do not eat a second one you will experience poverty in the year to come. So, naturally, people will eat 3-4 just to be sure this doesn’t happen…not because they are delicious! (Yeah, right! Ha.)
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Sour cream – Sour cream is key in giving faworki a slightly tangy flavor and also adds to the light airy texture.
- Egg yolks – Helps hold the dough together and adds flavor.
- Powdered Sugar – To add a little sweetness and for dusting when done.
- White vinegar – See notes below.
- Pastry flour – This type of flour has a little less protein than all-purpose flour creating a softer, lighter pastry. But in a pinch all-purpose can also be used.
- Salt – a flavor enhancer.
- Lard – Lard is traditionally used for frying angel wings. However, you can use other cooking oils like vegetable oil or canola oil. Why I only show a dollup in the photo…means I was tired and had to go to the store. But you need a lot to melt in order to fry… kinda like 3 cups worth.
- Brandy Or Vanilla – Adds just a little touch of somethin somethin… You can also use rum or vodka.
Why is Vinegar Added?
Vinegar is added to faworki to help prevent too much of the oil from being absorbed and making these too dense. In lieu of vinegar, you can also use vodka, rum, or brandy. Vodka will be flavorless while rum and brandy will add a bit more sweetness and flavor.
How to Make Faworki
In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream, vinegar, and brandy. Set aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the pastry flour, salt and powdered sugar. Mix to combine.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and use a dough hook to beat it to combine. At first the dough will start to look like lumpy oatmeal and will be very sticky. At this point, if using a stand mixer continue to beat until a soft dough forms.
If using a hand mixer, grease your hands with some butter or lard and begin to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough becomes soft and smooth. At first, the dough will be very sticky. Having greased hands will help. But as the gluten develops through the kneading process the dough will become softer, smoother, and more pliable.
This takes about 5 minutes.
Now it is time to get to work and add some air to the dough. How? By pummelling the dough with a rolling pin or by punching in. Seriously. Make sure there is nothing on the table that will jump off and break when you hit the dough. Take this from my experience and that of one sacrificial glass.
Just go to town and hit the dough flattening it out and then fold it in half or in quarters and continue. Do this for about 10 minutes. You will start to see tiny bubbles or air pockets forming in the dough. They aren’t huge but when you fry them and the air is heated up, these little pockets of air give the Faworki the delicate texture you are aiming for.
Cover the dough with some plastic wrap and let it sit for 25 minutes to rest.
Then comes the fun part!
Cut the ball of dough into quarters. Take one quarter of the dough and then cover the rest with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel to keep it from drying out.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface or a wooden cutting board. I find the wood cutting board works best to keep the dough from sticking.
Roll the dough super thin, almost see-through to form one large rectangle.
Cut the dough into 1 ½ to 2” strips length-wise, then into 3” lengths at an angle.
Add a slit to the center of each piece but leave uncut dough on each end. Pull the corner of one end through the center slit, to give these the angel wing pastry appearance.
Cover the raw faworki with a clean tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out while you preheat the oil.
Melt the lard in a wide deep-sided pan over medium-high heat until it reaches about 350°F. To check, toss a small piece of dough into the lard. If it floats, the oil is hot enough.
Cook the faworki 3-4 to at a time, frying until they are light golden brown turning occasionally. It takes just 20 to 30 seconds per side since they are so thin.
Remove them from the oil and transfer them to a tray lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining faworki.
Allow them to cool completely, then toss with a generous amount of powdered sugar before serving.
Tips for Making Chrusciki (Faworki)
Here are a few things that are helpful to keep in mind when making this angel wing pastry.
- Don’t be afraid to REALLY beat the dough. The more you do, the lighter and airier these will be! It’s a great way to work out any stress too!
- You can cut these with a knife or pizza cutter for a straight edge or use a pasta wheel for a jagged more decorative edge.
- Make sure your faworki cool completely before adding the powdered sugar or it will just melt and disappear.
Chrusciki are best when served the same day but you can store them for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container.
Keep them at room temperature. Do NOT refrigerate (or freeze) as they will become soft and lose their texture.
More Pastry Desserts:
- Homemade Buttermilk Beignets
- Lemon Meringue Pie
- Bourbon Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie
- Easy Tenderflake Pie Crust
Faworki (Chrusciki or Polish Fried Angel Wings)
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp brandy
- 2 1/2 cups pastry flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar; divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sour cream, vinegar and brandy. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt and 2 tbsp of powdered sugar. Mix well to combine.
- Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and beat using a hand mixer or stand mixer with a dough hook until the dough begins to look like lumpy oatmeal. If using as stand mixer continue to mix with a dough hook until a soft ball forms. If using a hand mixer transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and with greased hands knead the dough until it forms a soft ball, about 5 minutes.
- One the dough is formed, use a rolling pin to beat the dough by hitting it to flatten it. Then fold it in half or quarters and continue this process for about 10 minutes. Beating or hitting the dough like this forms bubbles or air pockets in the dough important for creating the signature airy texture faworki are known for.
- Cut the dough into quarters and then roll each piece out paper thin or as thin as you can get it into a rectangle shape. Cover the resting dough with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel to keep it from drying out.
- Once the dough is rolled cut the dough into 1 ½ to 2” strips length-wise, then into 3” lengths at an angle. Then cut a 1" slit in the center of each strip.
- Pull the corner of one end through the center slit, to give these the angel wing pastry appearance.
- Add the lard to a heavy bottomed high brimmed frying pan and let it melt. Bring the temperature up to 350°F and then toss 4 or 5 faworki into the hot oil cooking for about 30 seconds on each side or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Continue the process until all are cooked. Be sure to only add a few to the pan at a time. If too many are added at once it will lower the temperature of the oil and they won't fry as well.
- Let the faworki cool completely and then dust them with the remaining powdered sugar.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.