Fastnacht Day is the PA Dutch version of Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras. Fastnacht is a German word that directly translates as “Fast Night.” It is the day before the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. As with other versions of this day, the goal is to rid the house of fats and leaven.
…and because we’re “Germanic,” we make doughnuts…
These doughnuts (spelling intentional) are different from other donuts. Donuts are more cake-y and sugary and I’m now craving Trejo’s Donuts, which I can’t have without intense pain (but it’s so worth it). Anyway.
For purposes of this blog, donut is the cake-y, sugary treat we enjoy on a more regular basis here in the States. Doughnut, however, is a type of treat that focuses on the dough used–in the case of Fastnachts, a yeast dough that is allowed to prove and rise twice. Which is very difficult to do with gluten-free flours. I used this recipe for my fastnachts with only minor adjustments for flours I did not have/have enough of. They turned out just the way I remember fastnachts being, albeit the proving wasn’t quite right. Just means I have to make them again. Darn. 😉
According to Wikipedia, PA Dutch folk make these with potatoes. As a PA Dutch folk, we never made these with potatoes; and my grandmother lived through the Great Depression when they would use potatoes for everything. I might do a redux of this video next year with a potato recipe (that will probably also have a turnip counterpart as potatoes have 0 nutritional value and can cause inflammation). We’ll see. In the meantime, please enjoy this video on making Fastnachts!