Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Happy Kinkling Day!
'Kinklings' are special raised, deep-fried doughnuts, and are made practically as many different ways as there are different cooks. There seem to be different varieties of them all over Europe. I have experienced them as a German/Dutch tradition that has come across the Pond to Pennsylvania (Amish Country) and Maryland (Frederick), where I grew up.
I believe that the term Kinkling is actually a Frederickism and that the more recognized term is
Fasnacht (a.k.a. Fastnacht, Faschtnacht, or Fassenacht)
The story: Fastnacht means 'Night before the Fast' in German. These tasty treats are made the day before Lent starts; i.e., the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (a.k.a. Fastnacht Day, Kinkling Day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras). Lent is traditionally a time of fasting, and the idea is that the day before should be spent eating a rich feast before the coming fast. Thus Kinklings/Fasnachts.
I worked to make them for the first time, today, with my Dad (who hasn't made them for about 20 years). It was quite the experience.
Here is what I can share for any other aspiring bakers out there:
Read the Bread 101 site for information on how to make sure the dough rises and that you don't screw it up. Once you master this part of the baking process, everything else is proverbial cake.