History, especially of foods and how they relate to some of our holidays, have always fascinated me. Some of my ancestors came from Holland, so the early
Dutch customs were of special interest. The housewives in New Amsterdam were great bakers. The holidays were times when fabulous spreads of food, especially cakes and pies appeared on their tables. On New Year’s Day neighbors, at least the men, went from house to house, sampling and drinking.
One of the delights the women served sound much like something served in New Orleans. The recipe, with modern ingredients and directions, will follow.
The Dutch often cut these into different shapes, not just the little puffs we know today. One of the favorite ways to fix these was to cut the dough into strips with a little slit in the middle. One end was pulled through the slit and then they were fried. They had a name for the pastries fixed this way - Tangled britches.
Along with a number of cakes, these crullers were beloved and helped provide a
variety on the table. They went well with the tea they served - tea usually laced with rum. I can just see the men standing around a table which was groaning with food, drinking, smoking their pipes and eating Crullers as they wished each other a good “New Year!”
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter (don’t use margarine)
2 tablespoons milk
1 ¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon mace (I’ve been known to cheat and use ½ teaspoon cinnamon)
Fat for frying and Powdered sugar
Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. The fluffier the mixture the better the pastry. Add the milk. Sift the flour and spices together and stir into the creamed mixture. Mix well, but don’t beat the mixture to death. Chill for at least an hour. Roll half the dough on a lightly floured board (Roll only in one direction or they’ll be chewy) until you have a sixteen by eight inch rectangle. Cut into two inch squares. A pastry wheel works well. I’ve even used cookie cutters. Repeat with the remaining dough. (Caution - don’t rework the dough if you use cookie cutters.) Fry in deep fat at 375 degrees until golden on both side. (about 1 ½ minutes) Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm. If you cut these into squares you should have about 5 dozen.
Enjoy, and Happy New Year!