Home German Holidays and Festivals Fasching / Karneval Make this Fairly Easy Berliner Recipe for Karneval!
Make this Fairly Easy Berliner Recipe for Karneval!

Make this Fairly Easy Berliner Recipe for Karneval!

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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…

easy berliner recipe

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).

Fairly Easy Berliner Recipe- Perfect for Karneval!

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Fairly Easy Berliner Recipe- Perfect for Karneval!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Butter (1 stick) unsalted
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp Dried Yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 4 cups / 500 gr. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs plus 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Neutral oil (like Canola) for Frying
  • Granulated or Powdered Sugar for Coating
  • Your Favorite Seedless Jam or Pflaumenmuß for Filling

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a pan (or in a pyrex cup in the microwave) and add to milk. Check the temperature... it should be around 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit (hotter will kill the yeast, colder won't activate it)
  • Stir in the Sugar
  • Stir in the dried yeast.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes until it begins to bubble so you know the yeast is active.
  • Sift flour into a mixing bowl.
  • Pour in the milk/butter/yeast mixture. Add the vanilla, salt and eggs. Mix to combine into a sticky dough.
  • Then Knead (by hand or with a dough hook) for 5 minutes.
  • Put the kneaded dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise. It will take about an hour, and will double in size.
  • When dough is doubled...Lightly flour the counter, then take the dough out of the bowl, and knead it a few times. (Just pat it down, and give it a few kneads to wake it back up)
  • Roll the dough about 1/2 inch thick
  • Here is where you make a choice... I didn't have a smaller round cutter, so I cut mine with a glass. The glass was closer to 4 inches across, so I had BIG Berliner. Not really tragic, it just made fewer, and I had to cook them a few seconds longer.
  • Cut out your rounds of dough, and place them on a cookie sheet.
  • Re-roll the scraps and cut rounds out of the last bits (no waste!). These ones might look funny, so they are great for double checking cooking time!
  • Cover the dough circles with a towel, and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
    Get your frying and sugar coating station set up!:
  • Heat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit ... either in a deep fryer or a frying pan.
  • If you use a pan, make sure that the the oil is at least 2 inches deep, and use a THERMOMETER. If oil is too hot, it burns, if it's not hot enough, you get greasy food.
  • I used a cookie sheet covered with Paper Towels to catch the Berliner as they came out of the oil... that went next to the fryer.
  • Next to that cookie sheet I put a bowl with sugar for coating... 1 1/2 cups is more than enough.
  • Finally, I put a cooling rack onto another cookie sheet to rest and cool the sugar coated Berliner.
    FRYING BERLINER:
  • Carefully lower 2 or 3 dough blobs into the oil at a time. Don't crowd them!
  • For my 4 inchers, I went 3 minutes on the first side, and 2 1/2 minutes on the second side. Use a timer.
  • If you have smaller ones, try 2 minutes on each side.
  • They will be golden brown.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon to the paper towels. After a minutes, roll the warm Berliner in the sugar to coat completely.
  • Move to the rack to cool enough for filling
  • (I suggest you put one of the ugly ones in first... make note of how long you left it in. Then cut it open to see if it's DONE. It shouldn't be mushy inside, the dough will be done. If it's mushy, adjust your timing 30 seconds or a minute more or less when you fry the the pretty ones. )
  • (BTW. kids don't care what they look like... after you've got your timing right, you can fill the ugly ones with jam, and hand them to the kids who are hovering at your elbow waiting for a taste)
  • Use a pastry bag (Or Ziplock Bag) with a piping tip. Fill it with jam or jelly or cream filling.
  • Poke into the mostly cooled off Berliner on one side, and carefully squeeze to get the filling inside. You might have to move the tip of the bag around a bit.
  • If you are like me, and like LOTS of filling... repeat on the other side of the Berliner.
  • If you are using a few different fillings, you can put a blob on top of the Berliner.
  • (Although, honestly, I tend to overfill my Berliner, so I can see what kind they are by what is oozing out.)
  • Eat them FRESH

Notes

This recipe made 12 4 inch Berliner. If you make them smaller, you will make more. Keep the temperature at 375! And watch them so they don't go too brown. (I always cook an "ugly" one to test the temperature and time.)

https://germangirlinamerica.com/easy-berliner-recipe/

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Step By Step Photos for This Easy Berliner Recipe

Bring all the ingredients together to a sticky dough

easy Berliner Recipe

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

easy berliner recipe

And it will go from this ^ to  this

easy berliner recipe

Turn out dough onto a floured counter, and Knead a few times

easy berliner recipe

Then use a Rolling Pin to roll out to 1/2 inch thick

easy berliner recipe

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?)

easy berliner recipe
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

easy Berliner recipe

Put two or three dough rounds CAREFULLY into the Oil,
you don’t want to crowd them, or knock the air out of them!

easy berliner recipe

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.

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Let the Browned Berliner sit on Paper Towel for a Minute
This will soak up any drippy oil

easy berliner recipe

While the Berliner is STILL WARM, coat it in Sugar

easy berliner recipe

Let it finish cooling on a rack

easy berliner recipe

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.

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You can (and I do) repeat on the opposite side, to insure maximum filling distribution.
easy Berliner Recipe
I had Red Current Jelly, and a bit of Lemon Curd in my refrigerator, so I made both kinds.
easy berliner recipe

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

easy berliner recipe

Eat the day you make them!
easy berliner recipe

Filled with Yumminess!!

easy berliner recipe


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