Now, this is a true example of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. It seems to have come from the Swiss rather than the Germans, but in the US, you'll have a tough time finding a fasnacht outside of PA Dutch country. (Believe me, once a year I'd give an eye tooth to find one here in Jersey, and all I get in response is a weird look from people who think I've just begun speaking in tongues.)
Fasnachts are similar to doughnuts, but are potato based. They can be made with or without holes. As with many other foods traditional to Shrove Tuesday, they were made to use up the ingredients that would not be used during Lent (in this case, lard). When I was a kid, we'd always get fasnachts on Shrove Tuesday; occasionally, they'd even have them on hand for school lunches. I have a very vague recollection of making them with my great-grandmother (not Sweetie--this one would be Gpa's mother), but if I was indeed only about three, as noted below, that certainly would explain why I don't recall it very clearly.
When I was in Nothern Ireland in 1996, I asked my mother to send me the recipe, figuring that I could make them for the day, just for fun. Then she sent the recipe and I found out it would make about 12 dozen, which was a lot even when you had seven people in the house, especially since they are, as my mom calls them, "little potato paperweights." That was the end of that idea.
I haven't had one of these in years, and would dearly love to make some, in keeping with the spirit of this blog, but I am but one lone woman, and there's no way I can handle even half of a recipe like this on my own. Alas, I can provide none of my own photos, though the links above will get you to a few, but I present the recipe anyway, for those of you more adventurous (and less concerned about appropriate Shrove Tuesday timing) than I.
And with that, I turn you over to my mother's email from 14 years ago, which contains some details about the recipe, some backstory about making them, and her own sense of humor, to boot. :)
2 days ago