Since I was a child, I’ve been always looking forward to Fat Thursday … a day which is probably marked by every gourmand in his/her sweet calendar. Delicious donuts filled with various fillings or finely formed angel wings … have always and unchangeably satisfied my palate.
What are the origins of this unusual holiday? According to the Christian calendar, Fat Thursday takes place on the last Thursday before Lent begins. Shrovetide is another name characteristic for this special day. It’s also the beginning of the last week of carnival. In Poland, as well as in the Catholic part of Germany, it’s a day during which any restraint is certainly inadvisable and we can fill our stomachs with sweet treats as much as we want to. The date of Fat Thursday depends on the date of Easter, that’s why it’s a movable feast.
The beginnings of Fat Thursday date back to Roman times. It was a pagan festival during which people used to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. During this ‘fat day’ people ate rich in fat meals, such as meat, donuts prepared from a kind of bread dough filled with pork fat and accompanied by wine. The custom of eating sweet donuts appeared in Poland around XVI century, they were similar to temporary donuts, however instead of being filled with confiture or marmalade, they were filled with a small nut or almond. Finding this kind of filling inside a donut was supposed to bring luck and prosperity to the person who found it inside.
The most popular sweet treats eaten on Fat Thursday are donuts and angel wings, which depending on the region of Poland are also called chrust or chruściki. Today’s donuts don’t resemble their ancestors at all! Originally donuts used to be filled with pork fat, bacon and meat. They were eaten together with beverages, such as vodka. According to some superstitions, not eating at least one donut on Fat Thursday was equal with lack of luck in the future life … that’s why, I’d like to share with you a very simple and fast recipe for donuts for dummies!
2 pots of vanilla fromage frais (something similar to Danone);
1,5 glasses of flour;
1,5 teaspoons of baking powder;
a packet of vanilla sugar;
oil for frying;
Mix all the ingredients to gain a homogeneous pastry. Next, fry it on well-heated oil. Fried donuts put on paper towels, so that they lose unnecessary fat. To decorate donuts you can sprinkle them with some icing sugar. I recommend using 1,5 portion of the ingredients to get more donuts. That’s it! Bon appetit!
P.S. The answer to the question whether to eat donuts or not … is of course, to eat donuts … and not only on Fat Thursday!