Tomorrow is Fasnacht Day. Are you ready for it? Or isn't it observed in other parts of the country?
Fasnacht Day is an annual Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The word translates to "Fast Night" in English. Making and eating fasnachts was a way to consume all the fats, such as butter and lard, kept in the house pantry, as these rich ingredients were seen as lavish and were not supposed to be eaten during the Lenten season.
There are three types of fasnachts, one made with yeast, one made with baking powder, and one made with potatoes and yeast. All are slightly crispy on the outside and not as sweet as standard doughnuts. I prefer the yeast kind. A genuine fasnacht is square rather than with a circle with a hole in the middle like a donut but the recipe is the same as for donuts.
Here's my recipe, if you need one.
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
3 tbs. yeast
1 tsp. salt
Scald milk, add 1 1/2 c. water. Take out 1/2 c. and dissolve yeast in it. Add shortening to milk and water. Beat eggs. Add sugar and salt. Mix with milk mixture. Add yeast, and then about 8 cups flour. Let rise about 2 hours. Roll out and cut. Let rise 1 hour. Fry in oil. Yield 6 doz.
The secret to light, fluffy donuts is not to work too much flour into them. This dough should be too sticky to knead when it is mixed. When you're ready to shape them, work in just enough flour into the dough so it can be rolled out.
In all honesty, I must admit I haven't used this recipe for quite a few years. My deep fryer died, my husband is diabetic, and I don't need the calories. Getting rid of six dozen of these critters was no problem when I had six children in the house but it's just too many for the current state of affairs. So if you're young and healthy, enjoy them while you can! Fasnacht Day comes only once a year.