by Heather Harris Brady
Around 15 years ago you had to seek out a Polish community to get paczki, now they’re ubiquitous to every supermarket doughnut case for a month ahead of Ash Wednesday. Nothing against them (unless they’re just an overstuffed version of the store’s usual jelly doughnuts), but Poland isn’t the only country with a pre-Lent doughnut tradition. Faschingkrapfen are the Austrian/German version. If you make these yourself they are feather-light and not at all greasy. I made them for a family Sunday brunch so they could go from sugarcoating to plate in minutes.
If you have dietary or other reasons for avoiding fried foods, I’ve given you an option – faschingkrapfen as kolacky. Open-faced pastries baked and drizzled with icing. I split the recipe and did half each way. The recipe is from Rick Rodgers Kaffeehaus cookbook, one of my favorites. The filling and the icing are my own recipes.
Faschingkrapfen, Makes about 20 doughnuts or 12 doughnuts and 10 kolacky
- 1 package fast-rising yeast
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 t. sugar
- 4 T. butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 t. vanilla
- 3-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 large well-flavored apples
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 1 c. water
Streusel for Kolacky
- 2 T. butter
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
Icing for Kolacky
- 2 T. butter
- 2 c. confectioner’s sugar
- 2 T. milk (or as needed)
- 1 t. vanilla
Start the sponge: Warm the milk to lukewarm and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Set aside for 30 minutes.
While the sponge is rising make the apple filling. This recipe makes enough to fill all the pastries, but feel free to use your favorite jam or fruit butter as well. The important is – make sure the jam or fruit butter is not runny at all.
Wash and dice the apples into a pan with half the water. I cut the apples into different size pieces, some small and some large, so I ended up chunks in the filling. Simmer until the small pieces start to fall apart (about 10 minutes). Combine the rest of the water with the sugar and cornstarch. Stir it into the apples. Cook until thick. Add cinnamon to taste. Set aside.
Your sponge should look something like this now:
Warm the second 1/2 c. of milk, add the butter and egg yolks.
Whisk them in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.
Put the bowl on the mixer and hook up the paddle attachment. Slowly mix in the flour and beat for two minutes. If the dough is super-sticky, add a little more flour. Take it off and knead it until smooth. Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled.
Punch down the dough. If you’re making the kolacky (unfried option) jump down to that part now. If you’re making half kolacky, set half of the dough aside. If you’re making all doughnuts, carry on! Roll out a manageable section of the dough to about 1/4″ thick. Cut into 2″ rounds.
Add a dab of filling to half of the rounds.
Put a plain round on top. You can either cut down with a smaller cutter or pinch the edges like I did.
Heat your frying oil. I used a small pan with 1 c. canola oil and about 1-1/2 c. olive oil. I had nearly all of it left over at the end so I filtered it for reuse. Heat the oil to 350. Drop in a scrap of dough to test it. It should immediately bubble all over if it’s hot enough. Greasy doughnuts come from oil that’s too cold.
Fry the doughnuts about one minute on each side. This goes really fast and I didn’t have time to take pics. Spoon them out onto paper towels to drain and dust them with powdered sugar.
They’re best in the first few hours. Warm any leftovers in the microwave for a few seconds so they get tender again.
To make the kolacky – roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thick if you can.
Lay the rounds on a greased cookie sheet and top each one with a dab of filling. Let rise until they start to puff at the edges.
Make the streusel, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and work them into a crumble with your fingers. Preheat the oven to 375.
Sprinkle some streusel on each pastry. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
While they are baking make the icing. Combine the softened butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Stir well and add milk as needed until you get a good consistency for drizzling. Let the pastries cool before you put the icing on.
It’s best if you store these uncovered so the icing doesn’t get runny. Happy last few days of Carnival/Mardi Gras!
One year ago: Chocolate Pudding