As we approach the middle of the carnival season, it is time to make the must-have carnival doughnut and refuel from it before the upcoming Lent. Here is a traditional recipe for the most popular dish of the carnival season that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
The carnival season from Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday (January 6 to February 17 this year) was once also called the Feast of the Devil, as everyone could party until dawn at carnivals and costume parties before the restrained forty days that followed until Easter. The indispensable and most popular dish of the carnival season is, without doubt, the carnival doughnut, about which there are three legends, writes funzine.hu.
According to one source, Beatrix brought the recipe from her home, Italy, to the court of King Matthias, and the dish was consumed in the royal court as part of the carnivals organised at the time. Another story is about Queen Marie Antoinette, who loved to walk the streets in disguise and became acquainted with doughnuts on one of these outings. After the first taste, she liked it so much that she immediately ordered the pastry chef to the palace, where she shared the recipe with the Queen’s chef, who then added the treat to his repertoire.
The third story is connected to Vienna: after the death of Krapfen, a baker famous for his bread, his widow took over the bakery, where one day, the bread was not made in time, and the baker got so mad at the unsatisfied customers that she threw the bread dough in her hand at the raging customers. She missed the target, and the dough flew into the sizzling oil, but the accidentally made doughnut was a unanimous success among everyone.
According to tradition, consuming carnival doughnuts, like the New Year’s lentils, brings good luck, a bountiful harvest, and a generous amount of money to the house, but it can also help boost your love life: girls could signal their intention to get acquainted with someone with the help of doughnuts, while the ribbon running around the edge of the doughnut symbolised the wedding ring for couples.
Everyone can decide for themselves which one is the most convincing argument in favour of eating a doughnut, but one thing is for sure: consuming carnival doughnuts is a must during this period. Next, we will show you the perfect recipe.
Ingredients for 35-40 doughnuts
- 500 grams of fine flour
- 160 grams of strudel flour
- 4 grams of salt
- 35 grams of yeast
- 35 grams of powdered sugar
- 2 packets of vanilla sugar
- 70 grams of butter
- 4 egg yolks
- 360 ml of milk
- 20 ml of rum (optional but ensures that the doughnuts do not absorb as much oil)
- First, take the yeast. Crumble the room-temperature yeast and a teaspoon of granulated sugar into 150 ml of lukewarm milk, mix it, cover it with a lid, and let it activate for about ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the two types of flour (after sifting), the salt, the powdered sugar, and the vanilla sugar, then add the remaining milk, the egg yolks, then the yeast, and start kneading. The easiest and fastest way to do this is with a machine (it takes about 7-8 minutes to knead), but you can also do it by hand (it takes 10-15 minutes). While kneading, slowly add the melted, lukewarm butter.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and leaven for one hour. Tip: you can also put it in a lukewarm oven, so it leavens faster and nicer.
- When an hour has passed, cover the pastry board with flour and stretch the dough with your hands until it is about as thick as one and a half fingers. If necessary, use a rolling pin. Important: handle the dough carefully to keep it as airy as possible.
- The next step is making the pieces. Use a 6-centimetre cookie cutter. Be careful but firm to get the perfect shape.
- Cover the doughnuts and let them rise for another 25-30 minutes. Form a small crater in the doughnuts with your finger, but do not pierce them completely.
- Preheat the oil (should be approximately three fingers high in your pan). Use a deeper frying pan or a thicker, wider, and flatter pot over low heat, avoiding the doughnuts burning on the outside but remaining raw on the inside.
- Place the doughnuts in the oil, the side with the small crater on it facing down. Fry maximum 5-6 pieces at the same time, otherwise the oil temperature will change and you will not get the desired results.
- First, fry them for a minute with a lid covering your pot, then turn them over and fry without the lid for another 1-1.5 minutes. The goal is to get golden brown doughnuts.
- Place the doughnuts on a paper towel and cool them a bit, then serve with vanilla powdered sugar and homemade apricot jam.