Faworki - The Ancient Treasure
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Sweet and crunchy delicacy that melts in the mouth!
This deep-fried pastry is definitely one of my favourite sweets from childhood prepared by my dear grandmother. The recipe comes from her book and she was more than happy to share it with me. Thanks to the online community and research I also uncovered many interesting things about this forgotten recipe.
What are Faworki?
In Poland, Faworki is made on Fat Thursday just before the lent starts or also for the Christmas time. My memories, however, go back to those ordinary cloudy days when my grandmother used to visit us unannounced bringing basket full of freshly made ''Chrust'' for us to enjoy, making the day a lot brighter. What interesting word Faworki used to mean colourful ribbons attached to the armour of the medieval knights gifted by their ladies. History of this sweet snack reaches even further in the past.
They are the best when eaten on the same day, dusted with icing sugar. Simple recipe, made with 5 ingredients as follows: pastry flour, sour cream, egg yolks, a pinch of salt and high percentage alcohol. The secret of adding strong booze to Faworki relies on its quick evaporation making them more crunchy and reducing their fat absorption during the frying process. Rolling them extremely thin is another of grandmas tip to get the best result.
Where Faworki come from?
The origin of the recipe comes from the Ancient Roman Empire. It spread across Europe and beyond evolving and embracing different forms, here are some examples of its variety: In Italy, they call it Crostoli or Chiacchiere and their recipe calls for sugar in the dough, rum or sweet wine as alcohol and lemon zest for extra flavour and this variety is closest to the ancient recipe.
In Hungary they are called "Csöröge" doughnut, traditionally served with homemade strawberry jam. This variety consists of the leavening agent making them more puffed. Up North, they known as Norwegian Cardamom Cookies called "Fattigmann" with the addition of this unique spice and cognac or brandy. In Russia called ''Hvorost'' that sounds very close to Polish ''Chrust'' meaning crunchy twigs. Danes call it ''Klejner'' and in France, they are known as ''Bunges".
Also Popular in Nepal but known as Tibetan sweet called ''Khapse'' prepared for New Year celebration. Recipe travelled through the Oceans and in America they are known as Angel Wings. In Chile, on the other hand, they are called Calzones Rotos - meaning broken underwear. In the physical world, there are only ruins left from the Roman Empire but we own them so much more. Recipes are never forgotten and passed through the generations. We share them with those we love. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves how good they are!
400g (14.1oz) of sieved pastry flour
6tbsp of sour cream
6 egg yolks
2tbsp of 95% alcohol (40% minimum)
pinch of salt
1L (1quart) of oil for deep frying
icing sugar for dusting
1. In the bowl mix flour, salt, cream, yolks, alcohol and by using a spatula.
2. Once wet and dry ingredients combine, bring it to a ball shape with your hands (you may need to add a little bit more cream if it looks to dry).
3. The dough will be too hard to knead by hands, we gonna use a rolling pin beating method. Hit the dough with a rolling pin until flat and then turn on the other side and fold. Repeat for around 10 minutes until the dough looks smooth.
4. Once ready, rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes (you can wrap it to prevent drying).
5. Next, divide the dough into 4 parts, roll each part as thin as possible to get the best crunch (I have not used any flour for rolling)
6. Cut rolled dough vertically to get equal strings (3,5cm wide (1.4inch)) you can use a wheel cutter or a knife to do so.
7. Cut each string into 2-3 equal pieces (10-15cm long (4-6inch)) cuts can be made at an angle to give it a more authentic look. In each piece cut a hole (3-4cm (1.2-1.6inch)).
8. To finish put one end of the piece inside the hole and pull through, this will give you their final shape. Place covered on the cloth to prevent from frying, ready for the deep frying.
9. To deep-fry heat the oil to 200C (392F) and fry a few at a time flipping upside down with a fork to cook on both sides until golden brown. When ready place on the kitchen towel to remove excess fat and cool on a rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
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Check out my recipe for Raspberry Soufflé