When you talk to most people about Easter or Lent in general they begin by telling you about their religion and the significance that has on this time of year. But when I was a kid, all I would have told you about was the food. Funny now because I am sharing my talent with all of you.
Most of you may know the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday as "Fat Tuesday," traditionally celebrated as part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. But what you may not know is that the Germans celebrate this day, and let me tell you, it makes me fat just thinking about these. Remember though everything in moderation and since I had the time today I attempted these for the first time on my own. The recipe is:
4 cups Flour 1/4 pound Butter
3 Eggs 1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Salt 1 TBSP Sugar (or 1 Packet Sweet One low calorie substitute)
1 ounce yeast (1/2 of a 2 ounce household cake) (If you were me, you need 4 of the small 1/2 ounce packets)
1. Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Scald (make hot, you may see a skin form, but you don't want it to burn) half the milk, cool to lukewarm, add a pinch of sugar and dissolve the yeast in the mixture. Pour into the well and with your fingers mix a little of the flour with the liquid let this sponge rise for a half-hour or so in a warm place.
2. Melt the butter, add the rest of the milk to warm it, then add to the sponge along with the tablespoon of sugar, the 1/2 tsp salt and the eggs.
Mix in the rest of the flour. Beat well until the dough is very light and elastic. This shouldn’t be a stiff dough; sometimes a little more milk is needed.
3. Let dough rise again for 45 minutes in a warm place until doubled. Measure this on your bowl - don’t use fingertip method as you would for bread dough. Work the dough down.
4. On a floured board, roll out a portion at a time with a rolling pin (or if you are like me and don't have a pin, and clean wine bottle works as well) to quarter inch thickness.
Cut into strips two inches wide. Cut each strip diagonally into three or four pieces, making diamond shapes.
Put them on a clean towel in a warm place (like the range top) for about 10 minutes to rest. A slight crust will form on the top, make a small well in the middle, making sure not to puncture the dough.
5. In the meantime, heat Crisco until hot but not smoking. Test with a sample kuechle, stretch dough slightly to a circular shape. Put it in to hot oil crusty-side-down. It should puff up immediately and brown on one side in about a minute. When fat is right temperature, fry a half-dozen at a time. When they are nice and brown ( it takes about a minute on each side) remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Roll while warm in granulated sugar, or sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 30 to 35 kuechles.
All in all these tasted really good for my first time making them. I'll have the master try them next weekend and let him tell me what I can do differently next time.
Well that is all for now, i'll be taking requests on what to make next weekend. So if anyone has any ideas let me know!