Thursday, March 10, 2011
A food tradition
The Ugly Binder, from the internet
2 1/2 cups hot mashed potatoes*
1 cup milk
3 beaten eggs
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
5 cups flour
Sugar for coating
(NOTE TO SELF: Add nutmeg next time and coat some with cinnamon sugar)
* I used instant potatoes - Honest Earth brand from Costco. I prepared them according to package directions which had me add butter, water and milk.
Mix everything together except flour. Mix flour in slowly. The dough was very sticky, maybe from using the prepared mashed potatoes, but I just added flour as necessary as I rolled/patted the dough out. Divide the dough in half. Roll ½ inch thick. Cut with a donut cutter or use a knife to cut into triangular shaped pieces. I mostly patted the dough out and cut the dough into pieces using a pizza cutter. Some were square, some rectangle, some were corner pieces that came out sort of like triangles - like those in the picture. Deep fry in hot fat or oil until done. I used Crisco. Coat the hot fastnachts in sugar.
This recipes makes a LOT! I made over two dozen and threw out the rest of the dough because I was in a hurry and I just didn't need that many. I probably only used about half the dough, or maybe not even.
Almost every year I try to make donuts of some sort on Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday is called Fastnacht Day in this area, Donut Day in other areas (and yet Pancake Day in other places but that's another story). I usually make do with any sort of donut recipe but this year I used an actual fastnacht recipe that I found on the internet.
I've tried donut recipes with yeast in the past (yeast is more commonly used in fastnachts) but since they took longer to make, I made them the night before and they just weren't as good after sitting overnight. I also always used oil to fry them. This year I used a baking powder recipe and made them right on Fat Tuesday (I almost didn't get to make them since some tummy issues had me down for the count in the morning). I used Crisco to fry them (well, store-brand shortening). One co-worker called them the best fastnachts he's ever tasted.
Personally, they are certainly the best fastnachts I've had recently. The first year I moved to this area and was introduced to fastnachts, I had some great church-made fastnachts but since then I've only had access to supermarket fastnachts that weren't very good at all. They were my best donut effort so far. Someday I might have the time to experiment with a yeast version but if not, I've very pleased with this version.
The recipe was so easy to work with. The night before, I made the potatoes and measured out the 2 1/2 cups that I needed. I measured out the flour and mixed it with the baking powder and I measured out the sugar. The next day I heated up the potatoes with the butter and mixed the dough up in no time while the shortening heated up. The dough was sticky but still easy to work with since it really just needs to be patted out and cut. I just added some flour to the cutting surface and on top of the dough as I patted it out and I was good to go. I didn't bother with my donut cutter (the holes are always a pain in the you-know-what to fry) and just cut them with a pizza cutter. They fried up really nicely and rather quickly.
I will definitely use this recipe again next year but I think I would like a touch of nutmeg in them (although I am almost afraid to mess with a recipe that went over so well) and I think I will use cinnamon sugar to coat at least some of them, maybe even a glaze. I'm not a big fan of powdered sugar on donuts. And although I will make them in the morning again, these actually still tasted pretty good the next day. I had some at home, loosely covered in plastic wrap and they held up better than the ones that were at work in a tightly covered container. The tightly covered ones lost their exterior crunch but I'm not about to leave food sitting around the office unless it's tightly covered (I've never seen any critters there but I'm not taking any chances).