Today is Fasching's Dienstag (Tuesday), the end of the German carnival season that started on November 11, 2010. It is similar to Mardi Gras where people dress in costumes and go wild in the streets...or at parties.
I always looked forward to this day as a child, because it meant me being able to wear lipstick, fake eye lashes and lots of glitter make up.
Germans call the pre-Lenten Carnival season "the foolish season" or "the fifth season." Except for Munich's Okotberfest, it is the one time of y ear when many normally staid Germans (and Austrians and Swiss) loosen up and go a little crazy. Fastnacht or Karneval is a "movable feast" that depends on the date of Easter. This year Fastnacht falls on March 8th (Faschngsdienstag.) The official starrt of the Fasching season is either January 7th (the day after the Epiphany - Holy Three King's Day) or the 11th day of the 11th month, depending on the region. That gives the Carnival guilds three to four months to organize each year's events (Carnival balls, parades, royalty, etc.) leading up to the big bash in the week before Ash Wednesday, when the Lenten season begins. (read more on About.com)
I always enjoyed some traditional Fastnacht Scherben or Krapfen, a potato doughnut. Fastnacht literally translated meaning Fast Night or the Eve of the beginning of the Fast on Ash Wednesday.
Fasching is all about being wild and crazy, releasing steam in a stratified, rigid society. When you're seven, nothing seems wilder than having doughnuts for dinner.
This is a fun article if you want to read more: "It's All About the Food"
Here's a recipe if you want to try making some:
Fastnacht Krapfen. In Germany, Shrove Tuesday is an important holiday. Either as a last gastronomic splurge before the forty days of Lenten fasting, or to use up the butters and fats that weren't allowed during Lent, the making of these delicious rich doughnuts was, and in some places still is, a tradition among German people.
This recipe makes from 5 to 6 dozen doughnuts but is easilyhalved. If desired the dough may be kept in the refrigerator forseveral days to be used as needed.Ingredients: 1 cup hot mashed potatoes 2 cups sugar 1 cake yeast 1 cup warm water or potato water 7 cups flour 1 cup warms water or scalded and cooled milk 3/4 cup melted butter 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon salt How to make: Combine the hot mashed potatoes, 1 cup of the sugar, the yeast, warm water or potato water, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat until smooth and let rise until dough is light and full of bubbles. Then stir the mixture down and add the remaining 1 cup sugar, the warm water or scalded and cooled milk, melted butter, eggs, salt, and the remaining 6 cups flour. Beat together, adding more flour if necessary to make firm dough. Brush with butter, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured board. Knead lightly. Roll out and cut with a doughnut cutter, or cut with a knife into the traditional diamond shapes. Let set for about 20 minutes. Fry in deep fat at 375 degrees (F) until browned. Roll in powdered sugar when done.
(I've not tried this recipe yet, so maybe you can test it out and let me know how it works!)
Mmmmmm - filled Doughnuts, or Krapfen for Fasching!
(...just what's on my Weight Watchers plan LOL)