Friday, February 17, 2012

Conquering Chrusty

"Chruścikichrusty, and faworki are the plural forms of the words chruścikchrust, and faworek, respectively.
The Polish word "faworki" was the name reserved for colourful ribbons attached to either female or male clothing, especially ribbons given to medieval knights by their ladies. Etymologically the word "faworki" came to Poland from the French word faveur, meaning "grace" or "favour".
The Polish word "chrust" means "dry branches broken off trees" or "brushwood".[3] "Chruścik" is a diminutive of "chrust"."
- Wikipedia

I'm pretty sure that traditional ethnic foods were created, in general, to try to weed out people like me. People trying to sully the waters of the [insert culture here] gene pool.  That's right. "They" are that nefarious. There can be no other explanation for what happened yesterday in my kitchen and continued to plague my psyche the remainder of the evening. (although, to be sure, a peaceful step up from what has been plaguing my psyche for the last month...have you been reading American news )?!  No, there is no other explanation. 

 And yesterday I thought the food had won. I mixed and kneaded. I beat and pounded. I put my full body weight into it and it just wouldn't take. I ended up with a headache, a sweaty brow and a lot of frustration. 

I was trying to make faworki/chrusty/angel wings, for Tłusty czwartek (fat thursday). Yes, the Poles, and a lot of other cultures, but in this house it's always "the Poles" (or " 'mericans") start celebrating "Fat Tuesday" the week before, on Thursday. Why Americans haven't picked up on this yet I have no idea, seems like somethign we should be all over. Regardless, it was on the calendar in our kitchen, and if it's on the kitchen calendar then it's usually a matter of importance ranking right up there with birthdays, doctor appts. and bulk trash pick-up day. Serious stuff in American suburbia. 

I really wanted to make something special for Martin. He has been working so hard lately. As of last night he hadn't even seen Kacio's face in over two days, he has been leaving so early and getting home so late. We all missed him. And yesterday he was supposed to get home early and join us for dinner. I was going to surprise him with something "Polish" because he especially likes it when I make an effort to make something he ate as a child and remembers fondly. I was inspired by a friend on facebook who posted the recipe and steps. I tried it out.

 It didn't take.

I won't bore you with the whole gruesome ordeal. Let's just say it involved 10 organic egg yolks, about an hour of kneading and rolling, and it all ended up in the garbage disposal. (I know! All those beautiful, 'spensive, eggs!) (oh, yeah, and now my sink is backed up again, another adventure for a later hour).  It was messy, I might have shed a couple frustrated tears. And when Martin got home I had nothing. Nothing. Not even dinner. Big time failure. (he brought bar-b-que...delicious!)

I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty distraught. But I wasn't about to give up. There is absolutely nothing out there that I can't make if I try hard enough. Today, round two. I did some thinking, figured out a couple things that I thought would help, followed the exact same recipe and came out with this...

Woohoo! The kids loved them. It's fried dough covered in powder sugar, who wouldn't love them? (and if it sounds a little like funnel cake, it is, except not as dense and not quite as sweet)

I am so excited to show Martin when he gets home. I hope he likes them!

5 egg yolks
2 cups of flour
2 tblsp sour cream
1 tblsp sugar
1 tblsp lemon juice, vinegar, or alcohol (strong liquor)  
oil for frying

Yesterday, a.k.a. "fail day" I took all of it, threw it into a big bowl, mixed well, and tried my darnedest to get it to work. Just wouldn't do.

Today. Same ingredients. A couple things I did differently. Took the eggs out of the fridge about an hour earlier. This way they weren't so cold. Also, I mixed the wet ingredients plus the sugar well, and then stirred in a 1/2 cup of flour at a time. Made all the difference. 
When making this you have to knead the dough for quite some time to get it soft and malleable. Then you're supposed to beat it with a rolling pin until it "blisters." I can understand conceptually what this means but I have no idea what it looks like in person so I beat the crud out of mine in just a general way, you all know what I mean, right?, and hoped for the best. Set it aside for 30 min. and let it recover from all the beating.

Take it out and start rolling. Gonna take some elbow grease. You will sweat. And then once it's super thin I cut it into strips and then I rolled it even thinner  (I made my strips about 5 inches long and about 2 inches wide). cut a slit down the center of each strip, turn one end inside out (tuck it into the center and pull it through) and there you have it.

 Pour the oil into the pan, Let it heat up nice and good for frying. Toss them in, a few seconds per side, flip them, another couple seconds, take them out and let 'em dry. Later, sprinkle with sugar (I used powdered sugar). If you roll it out thin enough it makes quite a large batch. Thinking about making these again for Mardi Gras at the kids school on Tuesday!

If anyone out there makes these I would love to know how they turned out!

P.S. "Thank you" to to my dad who let me borrow his camera since we officially do not have one anymore.


  1. Is "psyche" even a real word? Probably should have checked that before publishing, huh?

  2. Replies
    1. Yes! Delicious! With lots of powdered sugar. Lots.

  3. I meant "sopapilla!" That's what it reminds me of, sopapilla!!!!! NOT "funnel cake!"

  4. Man, this looks good! But since I've read this far, I'm too frightened by the amount of work to make it. I have also heard from a friend of mine about something they call "german stuff" that sounds remarkably like this recipe. mmmmm.... maybe I will try it....

  5. I remember making these one year for Easter. A tradition from his mother's side. Really good with lots of powdered sugar, definitely!

  6. Hi Olivia, it's Kama here :)
    This is my Polish recipe for faworki and they always are delicious and turn the way my Dad makes them.

    4 cups of flour
    2 sticks of margarine
    2 cups of sour cream
    4 eggs
    2 tea spoons of sugar
    2 tea spoons of baking powder
    1 table spoon of vanilla extract

    You add either more flour or sour cream when you are making the dough, it can't be too dry or too moist. I've never heard about beating the dough and I've never set it aside. Right after kneading the dough I make chrusty.
    They are always perfect. Enjoy :) kama

    1. Thanks Kama!
      I will have to try this recipe next time. I found so many variations that I think it must be one of those things, like with your Dad's, that sort of gets passed down. I'll have to find a recipe I really love and perfect it myself and pass it down to my kids.

      (I answered below and then realized it wasn't in the "reply" box. and i moved it).

    2. Olivia,
      I think there's no need to roll the dough twice, it's too much work.
      And the dough doesn't need to be super thin, this way when you fry faworki they burn. Try to roll the dough a little bit thicker and after frying they will be so fluffy and soft, I always do faworki this way. They won't be breaking into parts when you bite them.
      But it depends on the way you like them. In Polish bakeries you'll find them soft and thick. Good luck :) kama

    3. Hi Kama! I made them again and they turned out great! Martin says he remembers them breaking into little pieces whenever he would bite into them. This was my inspiration for the thickness and consistency. I brought them to a gathering at our homeschool group and they were gone quickly. I think we will be making them every year!

  7. I'm happy you like them :) I love faworki a lot.

  8. We (Justin) make these every year for Easter. I have definitely come around to them (with lots of powdered sugar!)

  9. heh, I miss so much for Faworki done by my mom...

  10. Can they be frozen prior to dusting with sugar?

    1. I would think you could freeze the dough def. Although freezing it would also dry it out a bit and this dough is really tough to work with. It would make it more difficult maybe but if you let it thaw out completely then you should be alright. I've never tried it.