One of my father’s favorite food memories is his Mother’s German Krapfen Recipe that she would make every year on New Year’s Eve and on Fastnachtdienstag (Shrove or Fat Tuesday). These are Rheinische Öl Krapfen, which means they are a fried yeast dough filled with raisins… sort of like a donut, but not (so don’t make these expecting them to taste like Krispy Kremes, Winchell’s, Dunkin Donuts, or even Zombie Donuts). Maybe the closest relative is a deep fried raisin danish.
When I was growing up, my mother would make them from time to time… and I loved standing there by the stove, eating the hot fried dough after it was rolled in a coating of sugar.
So, today, I was having one of those days (you know, the kind of day where you can either clean the house, or buy a gallon of gasoline, splash it around the place and light a match), so I decided it would be a good day to make Krapfen.
Sure, fried dough isn’t the most healthy of snacks…. but I figured that the kneading of the dough by hand would work some of those calories off.
Plus, the mood I was in? better to stand back, and let me eat the Krapfen.
Note- EAT RHEINISCHE KRAPFEN WARM!
Seriously, these taste yummy warm from the fryer… but as they sit… they get hard, and a bit tasteless.
Sort of like funnel cakes… you have to eat them right away.
Rheinische Öl Krapfen History
(You can skip this and scroll straight down to the German Krapfen recipe)
Why do we eat Rheinische Öl Krapfen at New Year?
You didn’t think you’d come away without learning something, did you?
Krapfen go back to the 2nd century BC! The Romans ate them covered in honey… which actually sounds pretty good right now…. (truth is, if you leave Krapfen out on the counter overnight, they taste a bit like they’ve been around since the 2nd century…so eat them WARM and FRESH).
They are mentioned again in the 12th century in Monastery cooking instructions as Craphun…to be made as celebration food before a time of fasting.
This German Krapfen Recipe is a from the Rhineland… Rheinische Krapfen are traditionally made by cutting the dough off from the main blob with a spoon, there are hooks of dough left… it is though that this is where the name Krapfen came from… krapfen are little hooks…
Fried Food… like Krapfen and Berliner… as well as treats like Donuts or Beignets.. are traditional celebratory foods, especially in times before a fast. Fat Tuesday is the last hurrah before Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of Lent. Krapfen are eaten then as well as New Year.
German Krapfen Recipe
A Deep Fryer Makes These Easy
Step By Step Instructions to Make this German Krapfen Recipe (with Photos)
Combine Lukewarm Milk, Sugar and Yeast
Now Walk Away for a Few Minutes
Ten Minutes Later….
Pour the Risen Yeast Mixture into the Flour
Make a Well In the Flour First
Add the Eggs and Mix it all Together
When it pulls away from the side of the bowl…. it’s time to knead
You CAN Mix and Knead By Hand
I Kneaded By Hand… Heel of the Hand into the Dough… Push, Fold, Repeat
You Can Use a Dough Hook if you Want
Poke it with Your Finger… It Will Rise to Fill the Poked Hole
Put a Spoonful of Oil into A Bowl
This is so the dough won’t stick
Roll the Dough Ball in the Ball to Cover it With Oil
Cover with A Piece of Plastic Wrap, and Set it Aside for an Hour in a Warm Place to RIse
I usually turn the oven on for 3 minutes… then off… and set the bowl in the Oven to rise.
Heat the Oil to 325 Fahrenheit
Frying Krapfen (or Donuts)
You can use a fryer or pot with a thermometer
Prepare Your Sugaring Station
Near the Oil… Set a Stack of Paper Towels, a Bowl of Sugar and a Plate to hold the Krapfen
Get Your Lemon Peel and Raisins (or cranberries) Ready… Dump Out Dough
I Like Cranberries… the kids like NOTHING
Sprinkle the Lemon Peel and Half of the Raisins on the Dough
Fold the Dough Over the Lemon and Raisins
Cover with the Rest of the Raisins
Mix Dough By Kneading a Few Strokes… then Let it REST
Just 10 minutes or so
Cut Bits Of Dough Off the Main Dough Ball
Traditionally, a Spoon is Used… I used a Knife
Drop (carefully) Into the Hot Oil
Stir or Flip with a Slotted Spoon
After Four Minutes… Remove Dough Balls With a Slotted Spoon
Dry a Bit on Paper Towels
Roll Around In Granulated Sugar
Some People Prefer Powdered Sugar… I don’t… But I Would Try Cinnamon Sugar…
Done… Serve Warm
Keep Them Warm in a Low Oven
Vanilla Krapfen– Just add a tablespoon of Vanilla Extract to the Dough while mixing it up)
Roll Them In Cinnamon Sugar (Just Mix a Spoonful of Cinnamon into a Cup of Sugar…. it’s not science)
Plain Krapfen (Non-Traditional…but this is how my kids like them)
More Krapfen Recipes
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