Happy Fastnachts Day!

Even though I don’t think I need to give this recipe much of an introduction (the photos pretty much speak for themselves), I thought it would be nice to share a little background on these historical doughnuts. Maybe if we treat this as an educational experience, we can feel better about the amount of butter we are sacrificing for this special occasion.

Fasnacht, sometimes spelled Fastnacht, Faschnacht, Fosnot, Fosnaught, Fausnaught, is an English name for a fried doughnut served traditionally in the days of Carnival or on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent starts. Fasnachts were made as a way to empty the pantry of lardsugarfat, and butter, which were traditionally fasted from during Lent.

The word Fastnacht originates from the German words “fast”, which is the shortened version of the verb “fasten”, which means “to fast”, and “Nacht”, meaning night, indicating the eve of the traditional Lenten fasting period observed by many Christian denominations. It is the equivalent celebration to Mardi Gras or Carnevale.

So in honor of this special holiday, and to take a trip down the sweet and buttery, childhood lane of my dear friend, Juliet…she decided to share her Grandma’s special recipe.

GRAMMIE’S FASTNACHTS (German Apple Doughnuts)

Family recipe by Carolyn Smith, passed down to her granddaughter (and one of my dearest friends) Juliet.

Recipe makes approximately 2 dozen doughnuts.

INGREDIENTS

Doughnuts

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Cups sugar
  • 2/3 C Solid Shortening, placed in the freezer or fridge to get it cold
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cups grated apples 

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking powder and sugar. 
  3. Cut in shortening until dough texture is the size of small crumbs. You can mix by hand using a pastry cutter or a wide-toothed fork. (Bare hands might be too warm for the shortening this time.)
  4. Add eggs, milk, and apples.  The dough will be very wet and sticky and should have puffed up quite a bit from the baking powder.
  5. Fill well-greased muffin tins about 1/2 full.
  6. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 20 minutes. 
  7. Test with cake tester—also known as a toothpick/knife/thin utensil to check if the doughnuts are cooked all the way through. :)
  8. While still hot, quickly dip into melted butter and ensure it covers the outside, but don’t leave them in the butter too long or they will become soggy.
  9. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and cover the outside completely. 
  10. Cool on racks.
  11. Indulge and try to refrain from inhaling two more.

Juliet shared:

These do not taste like apple doughnuts. The apple should be finely grated and is moreso for moisture. Do not be shy about dipping in butter - they should be generously dunked. They are deceiving when they come out of the oven and are much lighter than expected - this is okay. All of the measurements are spot on! Do not question a German Baker! ;)

Ok ok..so I’m not questioning…but I do have one question:

Why are we only allowed to make these once a year???

Thanks for sharing, Juliet and Grammie!