Fausnaughts aren’t just for breakfast. Or are they? Listen, I was a bit confused about what the hubbub is surrounding faustnaughts. Those naked, cakey fried donuts sometimes offered with maple syrup. Their multiple spellings also lends to my confusion.
This 1st generation greek girl never really heard of these half-dressed donuts until she met her charming husband, Lititz born and raised, and moved into Lancaster County. She’d find trays of these sweets, in local shops, being promoted like it was the must have chocolate bunny in the Easer basket.On a recent Tuesday trip to the Lancaster Central Market those fausnaughts were out in full glory. So what’s the scoop? I implored market manager, Jessica Mailhot, to enlighten me. Was there something I was missing out on? Should I be calendaring this event as a regular holiday…what’s up with this donut? She directed me to Daniel and Rachel Stoltzfus, of Stoltzfus Homestyle Bakery, for the history of fausnaughts.
Rachel said that the fosnot tradition began with the need to use all the remaining lard, flour and sugar from the pantry before Lent. Lard, flour and sugar are all shelf stable but I suppose it was more about the last hooray or removing temptation before Lent rather than “I’ve got to use this before it goes bad.”
Some cultures celebrate Carnival to mark the pre-Lenen celebration, like Mardi Gras. The day before Lent is also known as “Shrove Tuesday” but in PA Dutch Country it is better known as Faustnaught Day. As it turns out, these little fried cakes do, in fact, have their own holiday and if you recognize Lent or not you should mark your calendar to savor Fastnacht Day. Head on into Lancaster Central Market and enjoy those fosnots powdered, cream filled, maple drizzled, plain, square shaped or round. Kick up your heels with a fosnot in each hand. I did.