What the heck is a fastnacht?  And how do you pronounce it? 

A Fastnacht is a fried doughnut and it's pronounced "fost-nokts" in German.  The doughnuts are slightly crispy on the outside and usually not as sweet as standard doughnuts.  However, I have seen some sprinkled with powdered sugar and some are smothered with frosting on the top when I lived in Pennsylvania.

The word Fastnacht means "the night before the fast" since the doughnuts are eaten the night before Lent, or "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras".   Traditionally, fastnachts are made to use up lard, sugar, butter, and eggs before Lent begins and is celebrated by the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Fastnachts can also be spelled 3 different ways: Fasnachts or Fassenacht or Faschnacht. And, there are 3 different ways to make them too!

  1. made with yeast
  2. made with baking powder
  3. made with potatoes and yeast

I miss eating fastnachts right before Lent! I used to live in south central Pennsylvania and I remember churches and local donut shops selling "fastnachts" during this time of year.

These are NOT fastnachts - but pretty close!  Most fastnachts do not have a hole cut out of the middle of the dough. #missingfastnachts   #fastnachts

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Click here for a recipe for Fastnachts made with Potatoes and Yeast: