Fattigman is an unusually shaped Norwegian delicacy—it’s typically cut into diamonds and slit in the middle, with one end tucked through the opening, to make a kind of bow-shaped cookie. It’s a bit of a trick to do but, as they say, practice makes perfect.
As with so many holiday specialties, making fattigman is easier and much more fun if two or three people share the work of rolling, cutting, shaping and frying.
Beat egg yolks, sugar and salt in a large bowl until the mixture thickens. Beat in the brandy and heavy cream. Stir in the flour and cardamom until dough forms. Sprinkle flour on a work surface and briefly knead the dough. Cover the dough and chill it for several hours, or up to overnight.
Heat enough lard or vegetable oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer (or cast iron pot) to 365 degrees. Flour the work surface again. Roll the dough out a little at a time and very thinly. Use a pizza cutter or very sharp knife to cut the circle into strips, then cut the strips into diamonds that are 1 1/2-2 inches wide and 3-4 inches long. Make a vertical slit in the middle of each diamond and carefully "thread" one end of the diamond through the slit.
Fry the cookies in the hot oil a few at a time. Flip each cookie as it rises to the surface and cook until golden and lightly puffed. Drain the fried cookies on paper towels. Cool to room temperature. You can serve them right away or store them airtight, but before serving, place some powdered sugar in a paper bag; add a few fattigman at a time and gently shake the bag to coat the cookies.
Copyright by Terese Allen