The Fasnacht frenzy is mounting! With its “Güügenmusik“ bands, the creative floats, outlandish costumes and “Tschäggättä” masks, the celebrations take place at different locations across Switzerland through the months of January to May. One definitely can’t afford to give one of these 200 odd carnivals a miss. The festivities traditionally used to kick off before the Christian Lent period of fasting began and hence the name ‘Fasnacht’.
The biggest Swiss carnival is celebrated in the Canton of Basel. And any celebration is incomplete without food. The Fasnacht specialities of this region are known for its:
- “Fastenwähen”, which is a pretzel-shaped bread with toasted cumin seeds;
- “Zwiebelwähe” or onion pie, and
- “Mehlsuppe”, which is a soup made with a flour roux and a splash of Swiss wine, sprinkled with grated cheese.
The practice of making delicious fried foods during Fasnacht traditionally emerged as people wanted to empty their cupboards of the sugar and fat leftover from the Christmas time indulgence in order to prepare for the 40 days fast. The favourite Swiss foods associated with these merry, confetti strewn musical parades are:
- The very popular ‘Fasnachtschüechli’ also known as ‘Chnöiblätze’, ‘Fasnachtskiechli’, ‘Chruchtele’ or ‘Öhrli’ in different regions: this is a paper-thin, sweet and crisp large wafer.
- The traditional ‘Zigerkrapfe’ or ‘Faschingskrapfen’: a sweet dough pastry stuffed with a mixture of the Ziger cheese, raisins, lemon and orange zest, ground almonds, sugar and cinnamon which is then deep-fried and dusted with cinnamon sugar;
- ‘Schlüferli’: a twisted rectangular snack made with a sweet eggy dough with a hint of lemon zest which is deep-fried and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar;
- ‘Schenkeli’ or ‘Beignets de Carneval’: a sweet dough with a splash of Kirsch liqueur which is deep-fried;
- “Cigares au vin” or “Tabakrollen”: a baked pastry filled with wine and cream filling.
- The ‘Fasnachtschüechli’ is seemingly the king of these snacks. I managed to find a vegan recipe and decided to give these a try.
- 250 grams of flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 125 ml water (I needed a couple of tablespoons extra)
Step 1 – Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Pour the water and oil and knead into a smooth dough. Let the dough rest in a hot rinsed covered bowl for about 30 minutes.
Step 2 – Give the dough one knead and divide it into small portions, weighing approximately 15 grams each. (One can opt to buy the ‘Fasnachtschüechli ‘moulds from the Betty Bossi shop and bake these or roll them out (like done traditionally) and deep fry these). Keep these dough balls covered with cling film or cloth to prevent them from drying out.
Step 3 – Rolling the dough is the real challenge to get the perfect Fasnachtschüechli. I would highly recommend using a heavy pizza rolling pin or pasta machine (if you happen to have one) as this needs to be rolled out as thin as possible without tearing them.
Step 4 – Deep fry these and lay on a tray. I suggest using a flat pan for frying vs. a deeper pot. I switched to a flat pan afterwards as these are easier to fry without any folds. The oil needs to be hot enough to cook them crisp but not burn them. One needs to be swift and turn these over a couple of times to make sure they are fully cooked through. If you’re new at this, it’s much easier and faster to do this as a 2 people team. One rolls the dough, the other fries.
Step 5 – Dust these with icing sugar and relish the home-made goodies!
Here is a link to the original recipe:
If you would like a cappuccino twist to these, click the link above for a coffee flavoured (non-vegan) cream to serve with these crispy treats.
Also, if you would like a non-vegan version of the original recipe, click here: https://migusto.migros.ch/de/rezepte/fasnachtschueechli
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