Fastnachts


I had so many wonderful memories as a child with my folks.  They made certain I always remembered them with fondness.  One of my favourite memories was coming home from school on Shrove Tuesday to my Mom making these delicious donuts from her native Germany.  I don't think they lasted much past dinner, but then I don't think she made as many I do.  

I only brought this tradition back to my family in the last few years and they look forward to it every year now.  This time I was lucky to have my children home from school because of unused snow days so I could put them to work helping me knead, powder, deep-fry - wherever I needed the help in the hours long process.  

It was worth the time!




Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

Makes 60 donuts.


If using a bread maker:
Save yourself the hassle of trying to modify recipes by simply placing all of the ingredients into the machine, programming for manual or dough, then taking the dough out at the end of the cycle and proceeding with the recipe from the point where it tells you to “punch down the dough”. What the machine’s dough cycle gives you is a thorough knead and initial rise. From then on, you’re on your own. But, hey; the mixing and kneading is the only part that takes even a modicum of effort.

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