Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

Today is Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day…there are lots of names for this day before Ash Wednesday.  A lot of the tradition around this day involves using up all the fat, lard, sugar, butter – you know, all that yummy, bad-for-you stuff – before fasting for Lent.

But where I come from, it’s Fasnacht Day!

I grew up in Lancaster County, PA – Amish Country.  I am not Amish, my family is not and never has been Amish (not that there’s anything wrong with that – just a common misconception :).  I do however have some Pennsylvania Dutch roots.  My mom’s grandparents grew up speaking a Pennsylvania dialect of German and both spoke English with a PA Dutch accent (and even spoke English a little funny too ;).  When I was in high school, I worked at a bakery that made and sold a lot of PA Dutch specialties and every Fasnacht day, guess what we found in the donut case?

A Fasnacht is a type of donut and it goes along with that whole tradition of using up all the lard, sugar, etc before the start of Lent.  Some folks make them with potato, some don’t.

I must admit that I have never personally attempted to make fasnachts, but I did find a recipe to share today ,which was a lot harder than I thought!  I guess that’s because a lot of people from my old neck of the woods don’t use computers.  Or electricity.  Anyway…I picked this recipe because it had relatively “normal” ingredients, i.e. no lard – I mean who doesn’t love a little lard now and then?  But really, how many people do you know who just happen to have good old-fashioned lard sitting around the house these days??  I also liked that they are called “Nana’s Fasnachts” because, well – my PA Dutch great-grandma was Nana and anything that reminds me of that fiesty little lady is okay in my book :).

Nana’s Fastnachts

Rated: rating
Submitted By: Sandy
Servings: 60
“These are similar to doughnuts but much tastier! They are usually made on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday).”
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45
degrees C)
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, proof the yeast by adding the warm water to the yeast. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl mix together the teaspoon of sugar and 3 cups of the flour. Stir in milk until smooth. Add proofed yeast and mix well. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
3. Stir in beaten eggs, melted butter or margarine, one cup of sugar, salt, and enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Cover and let rise for a second time until doubled.
4. Punch down dough and divide into 2 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough with a biscuit cutter. Make 2 slits with a sharp knife in the middle of each doughnut. Cover and let rise a third time until doubled in size.
5. Deep fat fry in oil or lard for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Rotate to ensure even cooking. Drain on brown paper bags. Toss in confectioners sugar while still warm. 


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2011 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 3/8/2011


So, happy Fasnacht Day – now go fry something!

But first, feel free to leave a comment!  Does your family or part of the world have any special day-before-Lent traditions?  Share away!


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