Monday, February 8, 2016

Kinklings, Fastnachts, Donuts

Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras was when all the excess fat was to be consumed before Lent started on Wednesday. Thus cooks in German and Pa. German areas made doughnuts called faschnauts, fast nachts and numerous other spellings.

Tomorrow I am off to get some "kinklings" in Frederick, Maryland, which are what the light, square, potato flour faschnauts or doughnuts are called, and only found in that area. 

The three Fastnacht pictures (round donuts) were taken at Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum in Lancaster, with the marvelous Tom Martin leading the gang of hearth cooks/friends during the annual Cookie Bake Day. Tom's recipe, in The Landis Valley Cookbook, used mashed potatoes, yeast, etc.

The yeasted dough is leveled out with the German rolling pin, cut with a doughnut cutter (very top center) leaving flat finished rings of dough (upper right).

The home-(museum) made doughnuts are different from the donut shops (where dough/batter is extruded from a machine) and described in the book Mary at the Farm... among the Pennsylvania Germans:

3 tablespoons honey.
3/4 quart milk.
2 quarts flour.
1 yeast cake.
1/2 cup butter.
2 eggs.

Without fail, every year on Shrove Tuesday, or "Fast Nacht," the day before the beginning of Lent, these cakes were made.

Quite early in the morning, or the night before, the following sponge was set to rise: The lukewarm, scalded milk, mixed into a smooth batter with 1 quart of flour; add 1 Fleischman's yeast cake, dissolved in a very little water. Beat well together, set in a warm place to rise over night, or several hours, and when light, add the following, which has been creamed together: eggs, butter and lard, a little flour and the honey. Beat well, and then add the balance of the flour, reserving a small quantity to flour the board later. Set to rise again, and when quite light roll out on a well-floured board, cut into circles with a doughnut cutter, cut holes in the centre of cakes, let rise, and then fry in deep fat; dust with pulverized sugar and cinnamon, if liked.

These are regular German doughnuts, and are never very sweet. If liked sweeter, a little sugar may be added. From this batter Mary made 18 'fried cakes,' or 'Fast Nacht Kuchen', as the Germans call them. She also made from the same dough one dozen cinnamon buns and two Dutch cakes. The dough not being very sweet, she sprinkled rivels composed of sugar, flour and butter, generously over the top of the 'Dutch cakes.' The dough for doughnuts, or fried cakes, should always have a little more flour added than dough for 'Dutch cakes' or buns; baked in the oven. If too soft, they will absorb fat while frying.
Mary at the Farm and book of recipes compiled during her visit among the "Pennsylvania Germans" by Edith M. Thomas, 1915

Post on Beignets HERE

In the UK, it is also the day to make and toss pancakes, as described in a previous post HERE
©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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