Sunday, August 29, 2010
While We Wait: Crullers
It seemed necessary to observe a local tradition. Almost too late but I managed to squeeze it in, the winning combination of crullers and watermelon. This isn't a tradition I grew up with but I understand it is something of a constant at local summer afternoon picnics and other social gatherings. Must they be served in tandem? I honestly don't know but when the topic of crullers came up at a recent gathering of Mennonite feminine folk, I gathered that it could possible be a breach of etiquette if one didn't pair the dynamic duo. So, in anticipation of the cruller making event, I stopped and purchased a healthy looking, organically grown watermelon.
The recipe says to make the dough and then let it sit for two hours. Why, I wondered? It doesn't need to rise. Maybe it just needs to wait. So I made the dough and waited for it to be ready and for my daughters to come and help me finish the process. This led me to some musings on the holy act of waiting.
Waiting for the dough, we say thank you for the anticipation of sweet bread.
Waiting for the train, we say thank you for the moment to rest.
Waiting for the diagnosis, we say thank you for every breath we take.
Wating for the pain to go away, we pause and remember the many others who suffer pain and we ask for healing.
Waiting for the sun to shine, we hope that our Chilean miner brothers will be brought to light quickly.
Wating for someone to change, we let go and realize we can only change ourselves and that is enough.
Waiting for peace, we look in the eyes of all we meet as we smile, because that is where peace begins.
Wating for those we love to come and visit, we say thank you for their sweet faces which brighten our days.
So, I waited and soon two of my daughters arrived to assist me with this project. I knew that crullers are deep fried (hmmm, state fair food?) so I anticipated that my daughter Amber with her affinity for funnel cakes, would enjoy these little golden offerings. She did and so did her sister Emily who usually frowns upon deep fried entrees. In fact, Emily did say, after 8-10 bites, "I can't stop!" She did of course, but they were particulary enticing warm, which you know if you have had occasion to have them just fresh. Eating some juicy watermelon alongside the cruller does provide a nice balance of heavy and light fare.
So, here is the recipe for crullers adaped slightly from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup half and half
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 cups to 4 cups flour
Beat eggs, add cream and milk. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to liquid. Use just enough flour so that dough can be rolled but is still soft. When well mixed, let it stand for 2 hours. Here is where you wait.
Roll out 3/8 inches thick and cut into oblong strips 2 x 7 inches.
Cut 2 slashes through strips crosswise to aid in frying.
Fry in deep fat until light brown on both sides.
Roll in powdered sugar.
Serve with a big chunk of watermelon and know it was worth the wait!