A "fasnacht" is a "yeast-raised potato pastry that's deep-fried like a doughnut [. . .] originally made and served on Shrove Tuesday to use up the fat that was forbidden during Lent." (Fasnacht is also a name for Shrove Tuesday, and a carnival in Basel.)
It's kind of like an Amish version of a beignet, or a paczek (apparently pronounced /'poUn tSEk/) (see ASCII IPA for pronunciation key). Paczki (plural of paczek) (pronounced /'p@ntS ki/) are "traditional deep fried pastries (something like jelly doughnuts)."
It turns out that there's a remarkable variety of fried dough variants around the world, from andagi in Okinawa to zeppole in Italy. Fat, sugar, and carbs--what's not to like? (I know, not all of them are sweet. But many are.)