You don’t have to go to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras, also called Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Fastnacht, Packzi Day and Pancake Tuesday.
All are designed to enjoy some of our favorite things before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on Feb. 26.
Traditionally, the celebration was timed to use up rich, fat foods before the start of the Lenten season, when they were forbidden. Today, many see it as a chance to have a good time, New Orleans style.
Among the local celebrations will be a Mardi Gras Party at the Stockton Market in Stockton, N.J. on Saturday, Feb. 22. The market will extend its hours that day to stay open for the party from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Vendors will feature Cajun and Creole specials including po’boys, muffaleta sandwiches, jambalaya and shrimp creole along with their regular menus.
Those who order from vendors BBQ434 and Market Pizza customers will be given a slice of traditional king cake, a sweet bread that is popular in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. A tiny plastic baby is baked into each cake to bring luck to the one who finds it. In this case the luck will come in the form of a gift certificate for the market. See stocktonmarket.com for more information on the event.
King cakes also have been showing up at local grocery stores in recent years, in case someone wants to buy one.
Those in search of fastnachts, the yeasty German doughnut, can find them at bakeries and doughnut shops such as Yum Yum Bake Shops.
Trauger’s Farm Market in Kintnersville also is taking orders for the doughnuts through Saturday for pickup on Tuesday. You can order by sending a message on the farm’s Facebook page or calling 610-847-5702.
If you want to try your hand at making your own fastnachts, this recipe from food.com is comparatively easy. It does require the use of yeast and a willingness to work with hot oil to fry the doughnuts, so if you give it a try, be careful.
Fastnachts (German Doughnuts)
1cup lukewarm milk
1fresh yeast cake
¾ cup soft butter
2 tablespoons sugar
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Sift flour and salt into bowl and make a hole in the center.
Pour dissolved yeast and all other ingredients into the hole and mix until not sticky. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Punch down, then let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll out to about ¼ -inch thick and cut. Let rise another 20 to 30 minutes.
Fry in deep fat (vegetable oil is fine) until light brown. While still hot, roll in sugar.