You don’t need to wait for Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fastnacht Day, to enjoy this Pennsylvania Dutch classic. Less sweet and chewier than donuts, Fastnachts are a potato and yeast dough that are often cut into irregular or trapezoid shapes and are cooked in hot oil, coated with cinnamon sugar, and are incredibly delicious. Cook up a batch for your next camping trip and please the crowd. The dough can be made up to a few days in advance and kept in your cooler, making campsite prep easy.
Cook in hot oil until golden brown.
Toss hot fastnachts immediately into a brown bag of cinnamon sugar, and shake the bag to coat.
- ¾ cups potatoes, boiled and mashed, lukewarm
- ¼ cup boiled potato water, lukewarm
- 2 ¼ tsp dry yeast (1 package)
- 5 ½ cups flour, divided
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup milk, lukewarm
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Cinnamon sugar
- Dissolve yeast in potato water. Stir in ½ cup flour, mashed potatoes and salt. Let rise 1 hour in a warm spot until double in bulk.
- To the potato mixture, add milk and 2 ½ cups flour. Knead until well-combined. Let rise 1 hour in a warm spot until double in bulk.
- Add eggs, butter, sugar, and vanilla to the dough, stirring until well combined. Knead enough of the remaining flour until the dough is a good consistency. Continue to knead for 10 minutes. Let rise 2 hours in a warm spot until double in bulk.
- Heat 2” of oil in a cast iron pot on med-high heat (until it is 360 deg or until a small piece of dough floats to the surface and browns quickly).
- Roll dough until it is ¼” thick and cut into squares, triangles or trapezoids. Cook a few at a time in the hot oil until golden brown.
- Place cinnamon sugar in a paper bag, and immediately upon removing from the oil, toss fastnachts in the bag and shake to coat with cinnamon sugar.
- Serve immediately.
After the final rise, the dough can be stored in a gallon-size ziploc bag for up to a few days in the refrigerator or cooler.
A million thanks to Len for taking these photos.