Happy Sunday! Today I’ve got an easy (really!) recipe for chrusciki from one of my grandmother’s Slovak-American cookbooks. These beautiful ribbons of fried dough are light and sweet, which probably explains why they’re sometimes called angel wings. So dust off your harp and halo, get some oil ready for frying, and let’s make some chrusciki.
If you want to know the way to my heart, start with fried dough. Take me to any fair or amusement park, and I’ll be like a moth to a flame with whatever cart is selling funnel cakes. There is something about a simple sweet dough fried perfectly golden brown and sprinkled with powdered sugar that gets me every time. I’m thinking it goes back to when my family went to Disney World and, being a kid with a crazy metabolism and indulgent parents, I ate a funnel cake every. single. day. Ah, youth.
These chrusciki are my new favorite entry in the fried dough canon, what with their beautiful twisty shape and melt-in-your-mouth texture. They’re not heavy, so you don’t feel any lingering guilt after eating one or two, and the recipe makes a generous batch to share. I was a little worried about rolling out and shaping the dough, but once I figured out the ideal sizing and cutting technique, it all went surprisingly smoothly. Here are a couple of photos to show how I rolled out and cut the dough:
Once the twists were all shaped, it was into the deep fryer, then under a mesh strainer for a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and then into my belly. Serve them for brunch, save some for dessert, or keep them in an airtight container for a few days and snag one for breakfast on your way out the door. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no wrong way to eat a beautiful piece of fried dough.
- I found the dough easiest to roll out and shape if I chilled it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes first.
- I used a bench scraper with measurements on the side to shape my 2” by 6” rectangles, but you could eyeball it; they don’t have to be perfect.
- Once you’ve cut out your rectangles, you can combine all the dough scraps from the edges and re-roll it to get a few more.
- I found that the easiest way to form the twist was to make a large slit down the middle of the rectangle, then pull one short end through the hole and back to its original spot. I also found that gently twisting each strand away from the other worked, but didn’t hold its shape as reliably in the frying oil. Find what method works best for you!
- 3 cups flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Powdered sugar, for garnish
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, then add the eggs and milk.
- Mix the dough with a wooden spoon, then turn it out onto a counter and knead by hand until the dough is smooth. At this point you can work with the dough immediately, or you can refrigerate it for up to a day.
- When ready to cook the chrusciki, heat at least 3” of canola oil in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. I used a ceramic Dutch oven. Place an instant or candy thermometer in the pan and attach it to the side so it doesn’t fall in. Heat the oil to 360°F. You’ll want to keep it there while you fry the chrusciki, so you may need to adjust the heat.
- Lightly flour your countertop and a rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a large rectangle about ¼“ thick. Cut the dough into 6” by 2” rectangles. If you have extra dough (mine definitely wasn’t a perfect rectangle), you can gather the scraps together and roll it out again.
- Cut a slit length-wise down the middle of each rectangle, being careful to leave at least ½“ uncut on both ends. Carefully pull one end of the rectangle through the hole, creating a twist in both strands of the dough. Repeat with the remaining rectangles.
- Fry the chrusciki, one at a time, for 1 minute on one side (until it is lightly golden brown), then flip it and fry it another 30 seconds to 1 minute on the other side. Remove it with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel-lined plate, then repeat with the remaining chrusciki.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.