Down south, New Orleanians and other sinful revelers are celebrating Mardi Gras, the last day you have to get all of the sins out of your system before you have to repent from all of them on Ash Wednesday. I can't participate in that , as I'd need a week to repent.
King Cake, a flaky, cinnamon roll-like dessert is served along with the booze and the beads through the Mardi Gras season up until Fat Tuesday. Again, I already have enough booze in take. So for me it's all about Fastnacht Day!!!!!!
Not just any doughnut,mind — today is Fastnacht Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent when people traditionally eat up whatever sugar, eggs, butter, flour and lard they have on hand before the season of fasting begins. Fastnacht Day is an annual Pennsylvania Dutch celebration and the word fastnacht translates to "Fast Night" in English. The tradition is to eat the very best foods, which are part of the German tradition, and lots of it, before the Lenten fast. Fastnachts are essentially doughnuts. There are three types of Fastnachts, one made with yeast, one made with baking powder, and one made with potatoes and yeast. All are slightly crispy on the outside and not as sweet as standard doughnuts.
Having grown up in an area of Pennsylvania that celebrates Fastnacht Day, I have witnessed the throngs of people that come out early Tuesday morning to ensure they’re able to get their hands on a box of the tasty treats. For most bakeries and grocery stores, the production of fastnachts begins Sunday night and runs round-the-clock until the last box has been sold on Tuesday. I can still see my grandmother when I was young. She would take me to the church she went to where her and a tons of church ladies would make lots of fasnachts, and they would be completely gone by mid day.
Yesterday when I was off, I ran out to grab my own supply, and a box to take to my co-workers, who will no doubt look at me like I'm nuts, as they will have never heard of Fastnachts before. I headed over to Oak Grove Farms here in Buckingham, where I put in a order last week. They were going fast. If your in Center City Philadelphia head over to Keith Beiler's, who makes fasnachts at his family’s bakery stand in the Reading Terminal Market. They are delish.They are light and fluffy and not heavy light doughnuts. Here are the gems I got.......
Drooling is permitted.