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Catholic Recipe: Fastnacht Doughnuts


  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cake yeast or 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter


Prep Time: 1 day, 2 hours

Difficulty: • • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: Germany


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Also Called: Fastnachts; Potato Doughnuts

Formerly Lent was much more strict in fasting regulations: no meat, no dairy or eggs were eaten throughout the 40 days. Pre-lent became Carnival time (good-bye to meat). This recipe originated in Germany, where thrifty cooks used up their fat and eggs by making Fastnacht doughnuts, so the foods wouldn't go to waste during Lent.

These doughnuts are also a popular fare for Halloween and All Saints Day.


Boil potatoes in water to cover. When done, mash potatoes. Use potato water to scald two cups of flour. Dissolve yeast in one-fourth cup lukewarm water. Combine potatoes, flour sponge and yeast. At bedtime add two cups flour to lukewarm milk. Add to potato mixture. Let the dough rise overnight. In the morning of fetter Dienstag (Fat Tuesday), mix in eggs, sugar and butter. Knead dough and let rise until double in bulk. Roll dough one-half inch thick. Cut with doughnut cutter. Fry in hot deep fat (370┬░).

Recipe Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999