Do not, I repeat, do not do a Google image search for "naked ladies with their legs crossed" if your safe search filter is off. In fact, I don't even think the safe search search filter will help you. Just do yourself a favour and add "recipe" to the search terms. I may or may not have done such a search. Let's talk about these particular naked ladies and not the ones that Google showed me.
I came across this recipe in a 2007 Cook's Country magazine. It's nearly impossible to see such a title and walk away. I had to find out what it was about. It turns out that the magazine made a call for long lost recipes and this is one of the recipes that they received. These naked ladies (maybe I should stop typing that, the Google hits are not going to be pretty) are basically potato crullers with a German heritage. They were particularly popular on Shrove Tuesday (Fastnacht) when people tried to use up all the fat and sugar before Lent began. In fact, potato donuts are called fasnacht by the Pennsylvania Dutch.
All the Google hits seem to point back to the Cook's Country recipe so I couldn't find more information about the specific shape of these crullers. Most of the potato crullers I found were shaped like circular crullers. Other potato donuts had traditional donut shapes. However, I did find one that had a slit in the center and then the dough was pulled through that slit. My best guess is that these ladies are related to those.
When I first saved this recipe, I had no intention of making them. I simply do not fry. Well, that's not true, I make an exception for breadfruit. I'm not some health nut* avoiding fried foods. Far from it. Fried food is up there with ice cream and chocolate on my favourite foods list. I just don't have the patience for frying. My oil is never hot enough and whenever I get it to the right temperature, I get distracted, leave the kitchen and suddenly things are burning.
The recipe was just going to languish in my collection until Kathleen chose potato as the theme for this month's Foodie Extravaganza. I did a search of my collection and the ladies popped up. I went back and forth between this and another dish for weeks. But there was no way that I could seriously pass up sharing the naked ladies. I knew that there would never be a perfect time to make them again.
I am so glad that I did! Rolling them out was not as troublesome as I thought it would be (the dough is a bit sticky - make sure the surface is well floured). I grabbed my thermometer and made sure my oil's temperature was correct and set a timer so that if I left the kitchen, there'd be a timer summoning me back in. All so very worth it. I used nutmeg instead of cinnamon and loved the taste of nutmeg in the dough. It was so hard to not eat them all before taking pictures for this post. Those are the only three that survived, actually. I can definitely say that I will be heating up some oil to fry these again. If you love donuts, you will love these.
Be sure to scroll down to check out how everyone else used potatoes this month!
*My apologies to anyone avoiding fried foods but doesn't consider themselves a health nut.
Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed
Recipe by: Kelly Adapted from: Cook's Country
1/2 cup mashed potatoes, unseasoned
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Oil for deep frying
Beat the mashed potato, egg, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the potato mixture and stir to form a moist and sticky dough.
On a heavily floured surface, roll the dough out to 14" x 9" x 1/4". Cut the dough in half to make two 9" x 7" rectangles. Cut each rectangle into six 7" x 1.5" strips.
Make a slit in each strip for the legs and twist to form crossed legs. Refrigerate until ready to fry.
Heat oil in a pot large enough to fit the strips. Oil should be heated to 350F. Carefully lower each strip into the oil - do not crowd the pot. Fry until crisp and brown on both sides - about two minutes per side.
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain for about 30 seconds then toss with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.
Best eaten immediately.
Do not use mash potatoes that contain any other ingredients - no milk, salt or butter. Ensure that there are no lumps. I used a russet potato.
The crullers can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before frying. I actually refrigerated the dough before rolling it out. That made it much easier to roll out.
The original recipe calls for rolling out to 18" x 14" x 1/4". There's no way there was enough dough to do this. I would have needed to roll it about 1/8" thick. Maybe you will fare better.
Check your oil's temperature periodically. Maintain between 325F and 350 F.
You could toss the crullers in cinnamon sugar or a glaze, if that's your preference.
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