It's Fat Tuesday! Pass The Pączki Please

 
Down in New Orleans, parades, parties and shiny beads mark the final day of Mardi Gras – French, for "Fat Tuesday" – the period between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. But to those of Eastern European descent (raises hand), today is Donut Day.

Traditionally, the reason for making donuts was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs, and dairy in the house as these were forbidden to be consumed during the Lenten fasting season.

If you're Polish, these fried donuts are called pączki (poonch-kee). Hungarian like me? Then you know them as fánk (phawnk). Although they look like jelly donuts, they're made from especially rich dough containing flour, eggs, butter, sugar and milk. They feature a variety of fruit and creme fillings and are usually covered with granulated or powdered sugar.

My dad's mom died six months before I was born, but my three older brothers all have vivid memories of going to Grandma's house after church and seeing the beds covered in towels with dozens and dozens of fánk layed out, waiting for the dough to rise. When Grandma said it was time, my brothers got to take turns, standing on a kitchen chair at the stove and help her fry the dough in a vat of lard.

Poor Grandma's probably rolling in her grave today, but I think my raw vegan version is just as good. I hope you enjoy them too.


Raspberry-Filled Jelly Donuts

Dough:
2 C almond meal
1 C flax meal
1-2 very ripe bananas
2 Tbsp raw coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt


Filling:
1/2 C thawed, frozen raspberries
1/4 C organic agave nectar


Covering:
1/4 C coconut flakes
1/4 C lucuma powder
1 tsp cinnamon


To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, blend banana until pureed. I used a large fork and it worked quite nicely. Add almond and flax meal a little bit at a time, folding in with the bananas. You'll see it forms a dough-like mixture rather quickly. Add in remaining ingredients and mix together well.

Shape dough into small donuts (no holes!) using your hands, and place on a dehydrator tray lined with a ParaFlexx sheet.

Dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 4 hours. Climate, temperature and humidity all affect dehydrating time. The donuts should still be moist inside.

To make the filling: Blend together raspberries and agave to make a jam. I had to get creative here, since I do not own a pastry bag or injector. Enter the trusty turkey baster! Poking a small hole in the side of the donut, fill the center of each with jelly as it comes out of the dehydrator.

To make the covering: Fill a paper bag with coconut flakes, lucuma powder and cinnamon. While still warm, place the donuts into the bag and shake, baby, shake.

Do you have any family traditions of revelry or feasting on Fat Tuesday?


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