Indulge on Fat Tuesday without all the calories and fat

Vegan fastachts (Photo by April Trotter)

It’s Fat Tuesday, a day of overindulgence to prepare for the 40 days of sacrifice in the Lenten season.

In southcentral Pennsylvania, of course, that means fastnachts.

“I’ve already had two,” a co-worker confessed at lunch.

She’s not alone. Today is brimming with grease and powdered sugar in these parts.

The Allentown Morning Call reports that the each fastnacht has between 200 and 300 calories and 3 teaspoons of fat.

Denice Ferko-Adams, a Nazareth area dietitian, professor and wellness consultant quoted in the article, said that’s almost 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of saturated fat.

Yikes.

But you can indulge without all the guilt. Fellow No Sweat, York, blogger Bethany Fehlinger brought vegan fastnachts into the office today that are about 100 calories each. She adapted the recipe from a Vegetarian Times recipe for mini jelly donuts.

Vegan fastnachts

1 0.25-ounce package active dry yeast
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 ½ cups Bob Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
2 cups canola or vegetable oil, for frying
½ cup superfine sugar

1. Mix yeast and 1 tsp. sugar with 1 cup warm water (110 degrees) in measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture foams and smells yeasty.

2. Whisk together flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in large bowl. Grease separate large bowl with oil.

3. Stir yeast mixture into flour mixture with wooden spoon until sticky dough forms. Add up to 1/4 cup warm water to make smooth dough. Stir in melted margarine. Turn dough out onto well-floured work surface, and knead 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth, soft, elastic dough forms. Add flour while kneading, if necessary. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover with towel, and let rise in warm place 1 1/2 hours.

4. Dust baking sheet with flour. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch-thick round on well-floured work surface. Cut 25 circles from dough with 2-inch round cutter. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest 15 minutes.

5. Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven to 370 degrees, or until hot but not smoking. Fry doughnuts in oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown, turning two or three times. Drain on paper-towel-lined plate; then roll in superfine sugar while still warm. Cool.

More on fastnachts

Curious how much exercise it would take to burn off a fastnacht? According to healthstatus.com, a 135-pound woman would need to do one of the following to burn 300 calories: 40 minutes of Zumba, 65 minutes of crunches, 35 minutes of jogging or 30 minutes of jumping rope.

If you’d still rather celebrate Fat Tuesday with the real deal, Sarah Mock of How I Pinch a Penny shares a recipe for homemade fastnachts on our Smart blog.

And if you’re hoping to cut some calories later this week on Valentine’s Day, check out some alternatives to chocolate, including granola, cheese and red wine. Yum!

About April Trotter

Editor of Smart. NEPA transplant. Penn State and Shippensburg grad. Kickball and craft beer enthusiast. Collector of cardigans. "Bennie and the Jets" fanatic. Contact me at atrotter@ydr.com, at "Smart magazine" on Facebook, @SmartMagPA on Twitter or by phone at 717-771-2030.
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