Friday, February 13, 2009


OK, you say, what is a "Fasnachts"? And as my Dad or his Mother would say, "You get to soon oldt and to late schmart!" so here is some information on Fasnachts. (It's really a family tradition for me - Robin does not like to make them because it takes a long time.)

"Fasnachts, Fastnachts or Faschnachts are a fatty doughnut treat served traditionally on Fastnacht Day, the day before Lent starts. Fasnachts were produced as a way to empty the pantry of lard, sugar, fat and butter, which were forbidden during Lent. Some English-speaking Protestants tend to refer to the day as Shrove Tuesday, and many consume pancakes as an alternative.
The German word Fasnacht literally translates as "chamfering night". Authentic fasnachts are typically cut into squares or rectangles, producing a chamfered edge, as opposed to doughnuts which are round with holes in the center.
In parts of Maryland, the treats are called Kinklings, and is only sold in bakeries on Shrove Tuesday. The German version is made from a yeast dough, deep fried, and coated or dusted in sugar or cinnamon sugar; they may be plain, or filled with fruit jam. Pennsylvania Dutch fasnachts are often made from potato dough, and may be uncoated, or powdered with table sugar or dusted with confectioner's sugar.
The term now is synonymous with the Carnival season in southern Germany, Switzerland, Alsace and Austria. Although usually written "Fastnacht", there are many local spoken varieties Fasnacht, Fassenacht, Fasnet etc.

Depending on where you are from the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday has different celebrations but one thing they all have in common is food. Fausnaught is the German word for Donut, Paczi is the Polish equivalent, Pounchki (punchki) is also Polish Version, but in any event we all go out and get our Carb load before the fasting associated with Lent. What any of this has to do with Sexy Girls taking off their shirts I don't know, but if you load up on Paczki's you will be quite large, as a traditionally made Paczki Calories can run you well over 800 a piece. More modern versions may actually be better for you as they would not be made with Lard, and Egg Yolks only. So "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" which is cajun/French for Let the Good times Roll. Or in this case Donut.


Makes 50 fasnacht

¼ cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
2½ cups lukewarm milk
4½ cups flour
4 eggs, beaten
½ cup lard, melted
1 cup sugar
dash of salt
5 ½ cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Mix next three ingredients together, then add to yeast mixture. Set in warm place and let rise overnight.
In the morning add next four ingredients. Add last batch of flour slowly; it may not all be needed. Dough should be sticky but able to be handled.
Let rise until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
Roll out and cut with biscuit or doughnut cutter, with or without a center hole. Let rise 1 hour.
Deep fry in hot oil at 375 degrees for several minutes, turning until brown on both sides.

Among the PA Germans, Shrove Tuesday (day before Ash Wednesday) is known as Fassnacht Day (night before the fast). In a symbolic effort to rid their homes of leavening agents and to feast before Lent, many PA Germans cooks spend part of their day making Fassnachts. The cakes are made of yeast dough, and tradition requires that they be shaped in squares or rectangles, with slits cut in them."

I think this year I will make some.

1 comment:

Beth said...

I have read about this day and the fassnachts! If you want, they can be shipped to:

Beth Howe
4500 Graham Rd
Greensboro, NC 27410

Just kidding Bobby - sort of! Since this city was founded by the Moravians, I am surprised that this doesn't get more publicity around here!