Pre-Lenten treats

March 5, 2019 is Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent in many Christian traditions. This day is also called Mardi Gras, Carnival, Pancake Tuesday, and many other names in various languages. What these days have in common is a tradition of a Pre-Lenten feast of foods. Many cultures have developed traditional recipes and certain foods for this day.

Paczki (punch-key): in Poland and in communities with Polish roots, the most common traditional treat is a deep-fried jelly doughnut dusted with powdered sugar. They are different from your everyday doughnut in that they contain more eggs, and some recipes call for a little bit of alcohol in the dough, which keeps the oil from penetrating too deeply.

Malasada: is traditional in both Portugal and Hawaii. The Shrove Tuesday treat consists of deep-fried balls of yeast dough that are sprinkled with sugar and resemble fluffy doughnuts without the hole. Some recipes call for passion fruit filling.

King Cake: in Alabama, Louisiana, and other places that celebrate Mardi Gras, the King Cake is the traditional sweet. The King Cake started in Europe as a Catholic celebration of Epiphany, on January 6th. Many Americans are familiar with Louisiana-style king cakes that consist of cake-y bread dough twisted into a ring and decorated with colored icing and sprinkles.

Pancakes: even communities that do not observe Lent will enjoy a traditional Pancake Day, for fundraisers or just for the fun of it.

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