Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Fastnacht Day....

or Strove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi gras... also know as homemade doughnut day in my family.
I don't know what today means to you, maybe parades, floats, costumes, beads, overindulgence, or quite possibly it's just another Tuesday, but for me it's Fastnacht Day. In my world that means eating homemade fried dough! I come from a Pennsylvania Dutch background and we celebrate the day before Ash Wednesday with doughnuts, preferably homemade. The traditional Fastnacht Day doughnut is made with a potato dough. Although they are delicious, I broke a little with tradition this time and added a little New Orleans twist this year and made beignets. I visited New Orleans a few weeks ago and stopped by Cafe du Monde for beignets. I've been craving them ever since. So what better excuse  to make beignets then Fastnacht Day?!

Makes about 2 dozen.

1 Envelope active dry yeast
3/4 cup very warm water (110 degrees F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 1/2 - 3 3/4 cups flour
1/8 cup shortening
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered sugar for topping the hot beignets

Combine the yeast, water, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (You could also make this in a food processor.) Let this sit until yeast blooms (gets frothy), about 5 minutes.

Add the salt, egg, and evaporated milk. Mix on low speed, add half of the flour until it starts to come together, then add the shortening. When the shortening is incorporated start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until most of it is incorporated.  Turn the dough onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough adding just enough flour as necessary to make a non-sticky, smooth dough.

Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, loosely cover and let rise. You can make it in the dough in evening let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.
After the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle that is about 1/2" thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, working at a diagonal to the rectangle, cut into 2" wide strips. Now cut into diamond shapes by making diagonal cuts in the opposite direction. Place the beignets on a floured baking sheet to let rise about 40 minutes in a warm place.

When the beignets have risen, heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot with high sides to 350-360 degrees. Place 2-4 beignets into the hot oil at a time, being careful not to smash or deflate them. When they are golden brown, flip them over until golden brown on the other side, about 1 minute per side. They go pretty quickly so start checking them right after they go into the oil. Remove to paper towel lined plates to drain.
I thought these were even better than Cafe du Monde.
 Serve hot topped with lots of powdered sugar and a pipping hot Cafe au Lait.
You'll swear your in New Orleans!

I'm afraid that Fat Tuesday may lead to Tight Pant Wednesday!


Anonymous said...

Helau, to you.
I made some German style Fastnachtskuechle on Sunday. They were jam filled and eaten in a wink. I like the look of your square ones!!

The Daily Smash said...

These look so good thanks for sharing love your blog

Check out my food blog

mitzi said...

Drooling again.

bellini valli said...

Count me in!!!!!I grew up with having pancakes for supper on Pancake Day but I could easily be converted.

grace said...

TOTALLY worth braving the hot oil--nice treat!

linda booth said...

They taste even better if fried in LARD. That's how my Mom taught me. Enjoy!