Fastnachts (Pennsylvania Dutch)
These doughnuts are served traditionally on Fastnacht Day (Shrove Tuesday) as a last sweet treat before the Lenten season begins.
1 package active dry yeast or 1 cake compressed yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 to 7 cups sifted flour, divided
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Fat (for deep-frying)
Sprinkle yeast over warm water to dissolve. Scald milk, remove from heat, and cool. Add sugar, 3 cups of the flour, and the yeast, and stir thoroughly. Cover and let stand in a warm place until double in size.
Beat eggs vigorously and combine with butter, sugar, salt and remaining flour. When the dough rises, stir in the egg mixture. At this point, mixture should be stiff enough to roll. Add more flour, if needed. Cover and let rise in a warm place a second time until double in size. Punch down with your fist, then roll about 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut into 2-inch squares, making a slit in the middle. Cover and let rise a third time. Fry several at a time in deep fat preheated to 350 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer or until hot enough to brown a 1-inch cube of bread in 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.