|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: 2 dozen (serves up to 24)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 6g||7%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||15%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Fastnacht is Pennsylvania Dutch or German for "fasting night." It falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and is the last day of revelry before the fast of Lent. But a fastnacht is also a deep-fried doughnut that is commonly enjoyed on – you guessed it – Fastnacht, when traditionally the pantry needed to be cleared from lard, sugar, eggs, and any other rich, fatty foods in preparation for the many coming days of repentance and prayers. In many Pennsylvania Dutch areas, the last person out of bed on that day is called fastnacht.
These delicious doughnuts are served by slicing them crosswise like a bagel and spreading sweet molasses on them. They're surprisingly easy to make, so prepare to indulge in the tradition. Be fastnacht ready year-round by making bigger batches and allowing them to cool completely before freezing.
Gather the ingredients.
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk and add butter until it has melted.
In a large bowl, add salt, sugar, and nutmeg.
Pour in the milk and melted butter mix. Stir and set aside until it's lukewarm.
When the bowl's contents are lukewarm, mix in beaten eggs and yeast.
Add 3 cups of flour. If you have a stand mixer, beat at low speed for 2 minutes and then at high speed for 2 more minutes. If you're mixing by hand mix try to add as much air as possible by vigorously mixing the batter for the last two minutes.
Once it's well mixed, add the remaining flour and mix by hand.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for about 3 minutes.
Place the dough into a greased bowl and turn it over to grease both the top and bottom. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it prove in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured board.
Roll out the dough out into a 1/4-inch thick disc.
Cut it into squares.
Cover with the kitchen towel and let prove again until it doubles in size, approximately 45 minutes.
Once the squares have doubled, heat about 2 to 3 inches of cooking oil to 370 F in a heavy, deep saucepan. The frying oil is ready when a scrap of dough browns in about 1 minute.
Drop the dough squares into the hot oil. Avoid crowding the pan as too many pieces of dough can make the temperature of the oil drop.
When golden brown on the bottom side, turn the squares over.
Once uniformly golden brown, remove from heat and set the fastnachts on paper towels to cool. Remove excess oil with a paper towel.
Serve with molasses on the side and enjoy!
Here are some suggestions to make innovative and delicious fastnachts:
- Make a cross shape indenture in the dough and place a dollop of fruit jelly in the center, pushing down to fill the doughnut. Or use caramel, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, or any other sweet sauce of your liking to fill the doughnuts.
- For a simpler treat, dust with powdered sugar or with a combination of granulated sugar and cinnamon while the squares are still warm. Make your cinnamon sugar and place it in a plastic bag, adding one fastnacht at a time inside the bag to coat with the mixture.