Who else is thinking more often of spring as I am doing? This year winter is so cold and resistant without any warm wave, especially here, in the Bakony mountain and the last weeks we cannot enjoy the sunshine either. Frostwork appeared on our windowpanes and if I don’t cook, there is only 13 °C in the kitchen. I must say it is not really comfortable temperature for sitting around, but a neat Swabian person- as we are and want to be- shouldn’t rest but always keep on doing something. My best friends are currently my knitted cardigans and warm socks, I pull my cap until my eyebrows and choose carefully the warmest gloves when I take my dog for a walk. There is an old Swabian proverb: “Wenn man die Faschingskrapfen auf der Gasse isst, isst man die Ostereier hinter dem Ofen”, which means if you eat the carnival doughnuts on the street, you will eat Eastern eggs next to the stove. So if this old proverb is true, I need to keep the finger crossed for really cold Carnival Sunday, so I have a chance to eat Easter eggs next to the blooming daffodils, sitting on my favourite spot in the garden, on the stairs at our front door.
There are still a couple of weeks until then and I am sure that baking forgácsfánk, Hungarian carnival doughnuts will boost my mood. Before I start making them, I go for a walk with Beeper on the outskirt of the village. People say that the perception of the world depends on the way you look at it, and this wiseness gets meaning from me in this moment. Instead of rushing, running and stating that it is cold and grey, I stop and look around. Trees, bushes and fences are covered by rime ice. Pretty smoke snakes are coming slowly out of the chimneys. From the side road I can see the little church and the calvary hill at the same time. I am amazed. This is the world, that we used to but in black and white! So I can decide that instead of being sad of the lack of flowers and sunshine and light I can enjoy the feeling being in a movie from the 1940’s. I completely forget about cold and run home for my camera which I don’t need to set to black and white mode. Because the world is monochrome in this moment, in its natural state.
Winter is temporary as everything in life, and fortunately we have our little kitchen which is the place to enter from the black and white movies to the world of the colour movies. Come and take a seat, dear Reader, I am going to prepare forgácsfánk according to my mother’s recipe. The first time I helped her when I was a child , she was a bit annoyed because I made abstract shapes of the dough but after we fried them, she started to laugh and told me that I should continue because that way it is much more interesting. I was very proud of myself, I was pulling and shaping and waiting for frying curiously how it turns out. Since then when I make forgácsfánk the variety of shapes depend always on the occasion, my mood, and my actual creativity.
But as long as the world is monochrome outside, I will do my best to make the inside world as colourful I can, here in the little country kitchen in the heart of the Bakony mountain in Hungary.
Kelt forgácsfánk (Hungarian carnival doughnuts)
280 g flour
4 egg yolks
50 g butter
30 g sugar
10 g fresh yeast
100 ml sour cream (tejföl)
1 tbsp rum
1 pinch of salt
Sunflower oil for frying
confectioner’s sugar and vanilla sugar for dusting
Make sour cream a bit lukewarm, dissolve yeast and a teaspoon of sugar in it. Let it rise for 5 minutes. Mix flour and butter with the salt, than add the sour cream, egg yolks and rum. Knead the dough well until it is flexible, cover it with a piece of oiled plastic foil and let it rest for 30 minutes. Roll it out to 3 mm and using a rolling cutter cut rectangulars (approximately 7 cm x 7 cm each) and make 2 or 3 cuts inside the rectangular so you pull one thread through the other one forming creative shapes. Heat up oil and fry them in batches, turning them when they are light brown. When frying one side, cover it so it will rise more, turn the doughnut and fry the other side uncovered. Put them on kitchen paper so it absorbs extra oil then dust with the mixture of confectioner”s sugar and vanilla sugar. Serve it with our without apricot jam.