Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fastnachtkuchen (Fast Night Cakes)

Today is the day before Lent starts.  Some of you call this Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and some Shrove Tuesday.  You might eat pancakes for dinner, or wear Mardi Gras beads, but in our house we make Fastnachtkuchen.  Fastnachts are little holeless doughnuts made in Germany on the day before Ash Wednesday.  Traditionally, the idea was to use up the last of the fat and the sugar in the house before starting the Lenten fast. 

We make Fastnachts because it's a fun tradition and a good connection to our German heritage, but also because it's a good symbolic reminder of the coming of Lent.  Most of the adults that the kids know will give up sugar and other unhealthy habits for the next 40 days.

I make the dough and fry the fastnachtkuchen, and the kids are in charge of shaking them in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.  The house smells heavenly.  You could make these for breakfast, but typically we have them for dinner with sausage, eggs and fried apples.  Delish!

One Bowl Fast Night Cakes (Fastnachtkuchen) from Fleishman's New Treasury of Yeast Baking

Mix together 1 1/4 c. bread flour
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 T yeast

Add 1/4 c. softened butter, margerine, shortening or lard
1 c. very hot tap water
1 egg

Knead until soft and elastic

Rise for one hour, covered in a warm place

Roll out into an 8 x16 rectangle.  Cut into 2 inch squares and make a 1/4 inch slit in each square.
Transfer to greased trays to rise.  Let rise 45 min. in a warm place.

Fry in peanut oil, shortening, or lard.  Don't have your fat too high or they'll burn.  Flip with a slotted spoon, and remove to a paper towel lined plate when they are golden brown.

While still hot tip them into a paper bag with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.  Kids can then shake the fastnachts until they are coated.  Remove to a plate to cool, and then repeat until you are finished. 



  1. Thanks for a reminder of the past and the recipe!

  2. I thought this was supposed to be a POTATOE pastry

  3. I've never heard of Fastnachtkuchen having potato as an ingredient. Share the recipe if you have one :)