Any day where it’s acceptable to deep-fry a sweet dough and cover it in lots of sugar and then eat it is a good day in my book. Here’s how they do that in Central PA.
Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is known in Pennsylvania Dutch Country as FASTNACHT DAY. What I remember from my youth was my Grandma Losch deep-frying dozens of fastnachts, or doughnuts, that were truly without equal. People just knew to stop by her place on the day before Ash Wednesday to enjoy a homemade bit of sugary doughy goodness.
History holds that making fastnachts, or doughnuts, was a way to use up the last of the lard or sweets in the house before embarking upon Lent, the Christian season of purification and self-denial. See also, beignets, or any number of church-sponsored pancake suppers on the last night before Ash Wednesday.
While I can’t locate my grandma’s exact recipe for these fried delicacies, I do have one from the Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook (published by Culinary Arts Books in Gettysburg, PA) that is close.
If you want to cross-reference other sources…
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