Monday, March 3, 2014

Fasnacht {German Doughnuts}

Fasnachts are yeast doughnuts of German descent that bear the same name as the traditional pre-Lenten celebration, which translates as "fast night." 

They typically have no hole or filling and are dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
1/2 cup sugar, plus a pinch
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mashed potatoes (I used dried real potato flakes mixed with water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
Oil for frying (or traditionally, lard)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk, add a pinch of sugar and whisk together. Set aside in a warm place to rise, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Add the yeast mixture, butter and beaten egg. Mix together until combined.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead until the dough is elastic and not sticky, about 3 to 4 minutes. Roll out dough about 1/2-inch thick and cut into squares (I used a round biscuit cutter, though squares are traditional).

Place the cut doughnuts on a floured cookie sheet, cover with a cloth, and let rise 30 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a deep, heavy saucepan with high sides, pour oil about 3 inches deep. Bring to 360-375 degrees F over medium heat. 

Working in batches, fry fasnacht's until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool. 

If filling with lemon or other fruit jam, use a kitchen knife to cut an opening in the fasnacht's and stuff with a spoonful or two of filling.

Once cool, dust with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar and serve warm. 



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