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grandmas’ recipes are always the best, and my grandmother’s fastnachts have always been one of my favorites
laissez les bons temps rouler
as far back as i can remember, my grandmother made fastnacht kuechles for ash wednesday. it would take her days, but everyone in the family got a batch to enjoy with potato pancakes and applesauce or potato soup. oh how i looked forward to those fastnachts. there is nothing more delicious than sweet fried dough covered in a hefty dusting of powdered sugar.
traditionally, fastnachts are served on fat tuesday, as a way to prepare for the upcoming lenten season. i’m not sure how our ash wednesday family tradition got started, but ash wednesday just wouldn’t be the same without a fastnacht or two. i’ve been making my grandmother’s recipe since my kids were babies. i’ve even been known to hunt down the one market to still sell lard so that i could make them exactly the same way she did. i don’t do that anymore, but man it makes a difference if you can stand it.
with ash wednesday, valentines day, and stella’s last basketball game of the season all falling on the same day, i opted for the more traditional frying of the fastnacht kuechles for fat tueday.
- 7 cups of flour
- 2 packages of instant yeast
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 Tbsp butter (my grandmother's recipe used 1 Tbsp lard + 3 Tbsp butter)
- 2 cups of milk
- oil for frying and powdered sugar for dusting
- in a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt
- warm the milk with the butter to about 100 degrees (butter does not need to melt completely)
- make a well in the center of the four, and add the milk and egg
- slowly stir the dry ingredients into the well with the milk and eggs
- the dough will be heavy but mix well (this can also be done in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment)
- when the dough comes together, knead until smooth and then cover and let rise until it has doubled in size - about 2 hours in a warm kitchen
- once the dough has risen, roll to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut into shape (usually squares)
- cover and let rise again for about an hour
- while the fastnachts are rising heat the oil to 375 degrees
- fry fastnachts in small batches for 3-4 minutes (turning them halfway through frying time)
- drain on brown paper bags and then dust with powdered sugar
my grandmother always cut her fastnachts into squares, but hearts seemed more fitting this year. not that we’ll have any left to eat tomorrow. stella ate two before i even had a chance to powder sugar them. any shape you choose, i’m sure it will be love at first bite.