Making Fasnachts: I Tried My Best

My family has strong Pennsylvania Dutch roots.

Growing up, every Fasnacht Day, my mom had fasnachts from the store waiting for us when we got home from school. She would get the variety packs with powdered, glazed, and plain. When I left for college, I tried to keep up the tradition, buying a fasnacht wherever I could on Millersville’s campus or taking the bus to the Weis on Manor Street 

Now, as my first Fasnacht Day out of college rolls around, I decided to challenge myself by making my own. A task that I have heard is not for the faint of heart – and I soon found that to be true. 

used the following recipe that I found on this website for Authentic Berks County Recipes. 

As the website says, “If you’re looking for something good for you, this isn’t it.” 


  • 1 c. milk scalded and cooled 
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast 
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar 
  • 1 1/2 c. sifted flour 

Sprinkle yeast on milk, let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and flour and beat until smooth. Let rise. 


  • 1/4 c. butter or margarine 
  • 3/4 c. sugar 
  • 2 beaten eggs 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 2-3 c. flour 
  • 4-5 medium potatoes 

Cook potatoes and mash, water and all. Beat with eggs, butter, sugar and salt until smooth. Mix with first mixture and work in flour. Let raise until double. Punch down and let raise 10 minutes more. Roll out on floured board. Cut into squares. Let rise and fry in deep fat until both sides are brown. Drain. 

Because my dough was messed up, I was unable to form the dough into the traditional square/diamond, hence, the misshapen fasnachts.

I made a slew of mistakes throughout this recipe, from not correctly activating the yeast to undercooking the first batch. After hours of troubleshooting my mistakes, kneading the dough, letting it rise and frying the dough, I finally got about 20 decent fasnachts. Not the best I’ve ever had, but I blame my lack of cooking skills, not the recipe. 

If you rather let the Pennsylvania Dutch pros do the work for you, here is where you can find fasnachts in Lancaster County: 

Holy Trinity Catholic Church: Most days are already sold out. Read about how a team of volunteers makes their famous fasnachts here.  

Oregon Dairy   

Lafayette Fire Company Benefit Sale from Achenbach’s Pastries 

Weiser’s Market in Akron. Place orders ahead of time.  

Achenbach’s Pastries Place orders ahead of time.  

Byers Butterflake Bakery  

Bird-in-Hand Bakery  

 Shady Maple 

Central Market 

Stauffers of Kissel Hill 

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