BLUE WINDOW | Food Travels in the Alps | Chräpfli / Chräpflini / Chüechli / Kräpfli / Küchlein (carnival pastries)

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Ash Wednesday, the first day of fasting before Easter, marks the end of the festival period for people who follow the Christian faith. In this period between Christmas and Ash Wednesday, carnival celebrates food made with butter, cream, eggs, milk, pork fat and the various flours. Fasnachtschüechli (carnival knee pastries – named because the dough was stretched thin over the knee) epitomised the calorie-rich breads, cakes, confections and biscuits prepared for the numerous final festivals before Ash Wednesday, and are celebrated as a fusion of the older, pagan, traditions with Christianity. The marriage of flour and fat to produce rich biscuits is also timeless, which is why the modern versions of these crispy biscuits are still popular, albeit as factory-made products using ingredients that extend shelf-life.

1 kg white wheat flour, t450 / t500
6 eggs
175 ml cream
60 g butter / pork fat, softened
60 ml lemon juice
45 g vanilla sugar
15 ml kirschwasser / brandy
15 ml white wine
15 g baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Oil for frying

Combine flour with baking powder in a large bowl. Break eggs into a separate bowl, whisk into a froth. Work butter into the flour, add cream, wine, schnaps, sugar, salt and whisked eggs, bring together and knead into a firm dough. Leave overnight in a cool place. Break off 25 g pieces for small pastries, 50 g for large, shape into balls. On a floured clean surface roll the balls thin, almost transparent. Deep fry in 170°C oil, about 10 seconds for each pastry. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate with kitchen towel, sprinkling each one with icing sugar.