Thursday, October 18, 2012

German Donuts

If you ask any of my uncles what they wish my grandma would make more often, they'd promptly respond "keekles." Also known as fasnachts or Küchle if you're German (or spudnuts if you're an Idahoan), they're basically a donut made from a potato enriched dough. We all have fond memories of fall days at grandma's house with gallons upon gallons of cider and mountains of freshly made keekles rolled in powdered sugar, enough to satisfy the entire Koeberle clan. 
Traditionally these donuts are served on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), obviously because of all the gluttony they inspire. My grandma's newspaper clipping with the original recipe tells the story of a little girl who ate 15 donuts all in one sitting...her mother encouraged her to repent afterwards, but the girl remained unrepentant, proud even, of her donut binge. Such is the way with keekles. I know from experience (though you might want to ask my sister Kate how she felt after eating 8 before you try it yourself).

These little donuts can be rolled in powdered sugar or a cinnamon-white sugar mixture. A purist would insist on frying them up into little round mounds like the two pictures above, but there's nothing wrong with the traditional donut shape as long as you adjust the frying time accordingly (just watch for faster browning).

However you decide to shape or top them, bear in mind that they do take a little bit of work. The dough must rise and then be shaped and rise again and then fried, but the end result is well worth it, at least once or twice a year. They're the kind of thing you should make to share with lots of people while they're fresh - they don't store well for more than a day or so - I'd say a crsip Saturday in the next few weeks would be the ideal time to have some friends and family over for a fall festival of German proportions.

German Donuts "Keekles"or Fastnachts
Recipe from a really really old copy of a newspaper from my Grandma K
Photos by Kate Hill and Clara Ciampi*

1 cup milk
1 cup mashed potatoes
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup very warm water (about 110 degrees F)
5 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil, for frying
cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Scald milk; set aside to cool to lukewarm. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together mashed potatoes, sugar, and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time. 
  3. Combine warm water and yeast and let rise.
  4. Gradually beat milk into potato mixture. Beat yeast mixture, salt, and 3 cups flour into the dough. Knead by hand or use the dough hook on your mixer and add remaining flour. Knead dough until smooth and shiny, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Lightly oil large bowl. Place ball of dough into bowl, turning to bring oiled side up. Cover and let dough rise in warm place, away from drafts, until double in size, 45 minutes.
  6. When dough has doubled, punch down and divide in half. Roll out half of dough to make a large rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares or triangles. Repeat with remaining half. (Or cut dough with a donut cutter). Let rise again until almost double in size, about 45 minutes.
  7. Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to about 375 degrees F. Gently set dough in hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning once. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. 
  8. While donuts are still hot, roll in powdered sugar or a cinnamon sugar mixture. Eat immediately (they are best served right away, but will store in an air tight container for a day or so). 
*Thanks again to Kate and Clara for photographing while I was home visiting...without a camera. 

1 comment:

Caroline said...

This is exactly what I wish I were eating for breakfast this morning. Can't wait to try them.

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