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Fastnachts for the Gluten-Free Set

It's time to clean out those cabinets for Lent, whether you can handle gluten or not...

It's Fat Tuesday, and in the Lehigh Valley, that means one thing, Fastnacht time. Lat year, Patch took you on a video tour of a Fastnacht bakery in high gear. This year, we want to make sure that whether gluten and you are on speaking terms or not, everyone can enjoy this tasty doughnut-like treat. Here's a recipe for Gluten-Free Fastnachts we'd like to share:

1. Proof yeast in a small mixing bowl by combining:

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup of warm water (110 degrees)

Stir to dissolve clumps of yeast and set aside.

2. Mix flours in large mixing bowl:

  • 1-1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 2 Tbs sweet rice flour (also called mochiko)
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum

3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat until thick and pale yellow in color:

  • 3 eggs (at room temp)
  • heaping 1/3 cup sugar

4. Set mixer on low speed and add

  • yeast mixture (now puffed up)
  • 2 Tbs melted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, room temp
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half, room temp

5. Add the flour mix 1/2 cup at a time. Mix on low speed until all ingredients are completely incorporated. Increase speed and beat for 5 minutes on high; the batter will be thick, light and thread-y.

6. Prepare a large baking sheet by greasing well it with vegetable oil (or another innocuous oil, not olive). Take off any rings on your fingers and grease your hands, finger tips, backs of hands with the oil, too.

7. Use a spoon and drop large dollops (about the size of a racquet- or hand-ball) of the batter directly onto the greased baking sheet. Don’t mess with them until after you scoop out all the batter from the bowl. About half way through dolloping, the batter will start sticking to your finger tips, don’t fret. Carry on as best you can.

8. Cover bowl. Let rest till doubled in size in a warm place, about an hour.

9. SHAPING FASTNACHTS: Turn the dough out onto a really well-floured surface and pat it gently down into a large square measuring roughly 14″x14″ and about 1/2″ thick. Use a knife to cut it into 2″x2″ squares; if the edge pieces aren’t exact squares that’s okay; they’ll taste just as good. Use the tip of a teaspoon to make a diagonal cut in the middle of each square; this little cut is the doughnut’s “hole” so it shouldn’t run through to the edge. Place the fasnachts on buttered cookie sheets, 1″ apart. Let them rest again in a warm spot for 20 minutes.

10. Bake and top the fasnachts: Preheat the oven to 450F. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are just starting to turn golden brown.  The middle cut will disappear and become more of a dimple. Transfer the fasnachts to a rack to cool just a bit. While they are still warm, apply the topping: brush the top of each fasnacht with the melted butter and dredge it in a bowl of 1 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg. Eat immediately.

(information courtesy the Hip Girls Guide and the Handmade Librarian)

Carlie Connair February 21, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Anyone know of a place to buy gluten free fastnachts?
Kelly Stephens Wylam March 02, 2014 at 04:29 PM
Step 7 doesn't seem like it belongs in this recipe. It appears that you should skip Step 7 and just move onto step 8. Please confirm what is going on in step 7 for me. Thanks!

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