The Berliner Donuts are the most popular pastry in Germany and they are super popular before and around the carnival season (February/March).
Food that was fried in fat used to be enjoyed before the “Fastenzeit” (lent) which started Ash Wednesday and ended Easter Sunday, so 40 days but Sundays were exempted. This year in 2023 it’s starting on Feb 22. It was being said that eggs and fat could not be eaten during lent hence the different recipes such as Berliner with eggs and deep fried in fat before Ash Wednesday.
The German Tradition of Carnival:
As you probably know, Germany is the European center for this celebration. Before spring “Karneval”, “Fasching” or “Fasnacht” will be celebrated in many regions of Germany in different ways. In Cologne, Bonn, Koblenz or Mainz you can watch the biggest and most colorful parades, visit the most fun parties with singing and drinking. In other mainly Southern regions there are traditional Fasnacht Parades where all the local groups are participating.
The celebrations start on Thursday (“Schmutziger Donnerstag” in Swabia, or “Weiberdonnerstag” in the Rhineland) and last until Wednesday, the Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch). A traditional carnival specialty is a pastry called “Berliner” or “Faschingskrapfen”; some call it also Pfannkuchen or Kreppel. This delicious German doughnut has a jelly or jam filling, will be deep fried in hot oil, dusted with sugar, and enjoyed preferably warm. Here is a recipe for you to make it at home. Happy Baking!
(makes about 20 Berliner)
Baking time: 35-50 Minutes
500 g flour, all purpose
1 package dried yeast
3 tbsp sugar
125 ml lukewarm milk
1 package vanilla sugar 0.3oz – How to make Vanilla Sugar –
1 dash salt
grated peel of 1/2 lemon (organic)
100 g butter
300 g jam (apricot, raspberry, strawberry, or red currant jelly)
– Flour for rolling the dough
– Oil for the deep fryer
– Powdered sugar
Squeeze jam through a sieve, fill into a frosting bag with a hole nozzle. In every Berliner inject the filling from the sides (the lighter edge in the middle).
There is another way to make them by cutting out rounds of 3 inches diameter out of the dough. Place on each rounds 1 tsp jam on only one side, and cover with another rounds. Make sure the ends all around are perfectly closed.
Here is a video that shows how the German bakery Gunter Weissbach in Stollberg (Erzgebirge) makes the Berliner
So excited to find a recipe which sounds like my Mom’s. She cut them in squares or triangles to represent Lent. Will try and pass onto my daughter.