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.
5. Use a pastry bag with a larger tip for filling your Berliner. You CAN use a Zipper Bag… but make sure you have a big enough tip, and you take it slow. Small tips and flimsy bags lead to blown out bags, and a big mess. Plus you really want to make sure that you get loads of filling into the Berliner (not on your counter).
Step By Step Photos for This Easy Berliner Recipe
Bring all the ingredients together to a sticky dough
Knead the Dough for 5 Minutes in A Mixer with a Dough Hook
or by hand on a counter…( It’s good exercise!)
Then Put the Dough into a Bowl, Cover with Plastic Wrap and Leave to Rise Until Doubled.
Should take 1 hour
And it will go from this ^ to this
Turn out dough onto a floured counter, and Knead a few times
Then use a Rolling Pin to roll out to 1/2 inch thick
Use a round cutter to cut out your Berliner. 3 inch is about perfect.
(With the 4 inch, I was able to make 12… 3 inch would have made 20?)
Lay the rounds on a cookie sheet, cover with a floured Tea Towel,
and let rise somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
Get Ready for Frying
Heat up the fryer, set out a place with paper towels to catch the Berliner,
set out a bowl with Sugar, and a rack to cool them on.
Risen, and ready to fry
Put two or three dough rounds CAREFULLY into the Oil,
you don’t want to crowd them, or knock the air out of them!
When the bottom is GOLDEN BROWN, carefully flip them over.
I found that with the 4 inch ones, 3 minutes on the first side, then 2 1/2 on the second side was perfect.
Smaller Berliner will probably need a little less time. Try 2 – 2 1/2 minutes per side.
Mrs. Anderson’s Baking 42137 Anderson’s Cookie and Fondant Cutters, Stainless Steel, 3-Piece Graduated Round Set with Handles, Set of 3Presto 05442 CoolDaddy Cool-touch Deep Fryer – BlackTaylor Precision Products Candy/Deep Fry Stainless Steel Thermometer
Let the Browned Berliner sit on Paper Towel for a Minute
This will soak up any drippy oil
While the Berliner is STILL WARM, coat it in Sugar
Let it finish cooling on a rack
Fill a pastry bag with a tip, or a plastic zipper bag and a tip with the jelly or filling of your choice.
Around the edge of the Berliner is a lighter band… poke the tip into this part and move it around a bit while squeezing the filling into the Berliner.
Classic.Simple.Good. Cupcake/Cake Decorating Kit, Easy Cake Decorating Tip Set, X-Large Stainless Steel Tips and Pastry Icing Bags, Extra Bonus Large TipPastry Bag -50 Pack-16-Inch Extra Thick Large Cake/Cupcake Decorating Bags-Disposable Icing Piping Bags Set
You can (and I do) repeat on the opposite side, to insure maximum filling distribution.
I had Red Current Jelly, and a bit of Lemon Curd in my refrigerator, so I made both kinds.
I don’t think the Filling is supposed to ooze out the way mine does,
but I was kind of generous with the filling.
You can put a dab of filling on top, so you know which is which
Eat the day you make them!
Filled with Yumminess!!