Make this Fairly Easy Berliner Recipe for Karneval!
Fasching! Karneval! And that means it’s time for Berliner! Honestly, I seldom make them, because fried foods are not really great for the waistline, and we live down the street from one of the world’s great Donut places (shout out to SloDoCo!). BUT it’s Karneval season, and Berliner (which aren’t really donuts, more like a donut cousin) are on the menu. Why? Because fried foods are off the menu during the Lent season, and Berliners are a fabulous way to indulge one last time. Since this is a fairly easy Berliner Recipe, you can make them for your family too. (Plus I’ve added loads of photos and tips to make it do-able).
Let’s start off with the basics… What IS a Berliner?
Simply, a Berliner is a round fried treat made from enriched dough and filled with jam (or some other filling). Basically, a jelly donut.
But it’s more! The dough is enriched with butter, milk and eggs (plus an extra yolk), then a bit of sugar and vanilla are added for flavor (note, some recipes even call for Almond extract, so it that calls to you, go ahead and add a teaspoon). The fillings vary. At Karneval you will often find Berliner filled with Pflaumenmuß, Rose-hip Jelly (yum), and Red Current Jelly, but other flavors of jelly are used, as are cream fillings like vanilla and chocolate.
(And who says Germans don’t have a sense of humor? As a practical joke, some Berliners fill a few Berliners with MUSTARD to trick people…)
While you can find them as Berliner EVERYWHERE in Northern and Western Germany (and they are practically a staple in Cologne), somewhat ironically, people in Berlin and Brandenburg don’t call them Berliners… There they are Pfannekuchen (which is what many Germans call pancakes… and it leads to endless confusion). And in the Southern parts of Germany, they are known as Krapfen… (which to me as a middle of Germany kid, gets confusing, because to me Krapfen are fried treats with raisins)…. They are also known as Kreppel, Fastnachtküchelchen, Fastnachts and those yummy jam filled fried things…
Whatever you call them, give them a try during Fasching/Karneval Season!
One last hurrah! Before the austerity of Lent!
Notes on Making this Easy Berliner Recipe
I used an old Dr Oetker Recipe, and made adjustments for the American kitchen.
1. Mine are enormous because I used a drinking glass to cut my dough. (It is 4 inch across) If you want them smaller, find a smaller round cutter (after the holidays, my cutters got put away, and the round one is missing!)
2. Like all enriched Yeast Dough products, Berliner need time to rise. Don’t rush… go read a magazine while you wait.
3. I used a Deep Fryer, because once upon a time, I was given a Deep Fryer. If you don’t have a Deep Fryer, you can fry your Berliner in a pan. Just make SURE your oil is at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer. Remember, the temperature will jump up and down as you add the dough to the oil.
4. You can coat your Berliner with regular granulated sugar OR powdered sugar. I like granulated sugar, so that’s what I used.
I’ve updated the Recipe a bit to make it easier. Instead of using a piping bag to fill the Berliner, I fill them BEFORE frying.
Both ways work.
Pros and Cons
– No one can see what’s inside (great if you want to make a mustard one)
– You don’t have to fuss with a pastry bag (less clean up)
– It can be tricky to make sure that the Berliner stays sealed