In the valley of the Rhine, and since the Middle Ages, the time of the Carnival is a highlight in the heart of winter. To hunt the demons of winter to celebrate the lengthening days and before the fasting period of Lent that follows, people were feasting (and formerly this allowed to finish the victuals which are forbidden during Lent) and having fun as much as they could!
Carnival is celebrated the four days preceding Ash Wednesday.
Carnival doughnuts: an old tradition
On Saturday, the tradition is to prepare donuts for carnival to be enjoyed the day after. But, after having allowed them to cool, it is not forbidden to eat them the same day!
Here is a recipe still very popular in Alsace: Apfelkiechle (apple fritters)!
Preparation time and cooking time: 45 minutes
Ingredients for the donuts and for 4 people
– 2 eggs
– 200 g flour
– 20 cl of milk
– 3-4 good apples (with some acidity for a balanced and tasty result)
– A teaspoon of cinnamon
– 1 packet of baking powder
– 50 g of sugar (optional – we did not add it to the dough)
– oil (to fry the doughnuts in the pan, not to be added to the dough!)
Preparing the Alsatian apple doughnuts (Apfelkiechle)
In a bowl, combine flour, some sugar, the packet of baking powder and the eggs.
According to your personal taste add more or less sugar. We do not add any suger at all in the dough, only some before eating them.
Add milk gradually paying attention to lumps, to obtain a homogeneous dough.
Peel and core the apples in the center. Cut apples into slices maximum 1/2 cm thick.
Heat up some oil in a pan (oil must be warm before you drop the first slices in it).
Dip apples into the dough: both sides of the apple slices must be covered by a thick layer of dough.
Fry the apple slices in a pan with oil.
Turn them and let brown on both sides (not black!).
Take them out and let them dry out on a plate and continue with the following slices, etc.
Once fried allow the doughnuts to cool down (not to be eaten warm).
Before serving sprinkle donuts with remaining sugar mixed with cinnamon.
Enjoy with coffee or tea (although tea was not very popular in Alsace in old times).