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Berliner Pfannkuchen Recipe

Homemade Berliner Pfannkuchen Donut with Jelly CentersHomemade Berliner Pfannkuchen with Strawberry Jelly
(Source: ©vschlichting/Depositphoto.com)

Here's an easy Berliner Pfannkuchen recipe to make those delicious jelly donuts that Germany is famous for. You may also give into temptation and make the fried Butter Rings too.

The traditional Berliner consists of a holeless, marmalade or jelly-filled doughnut made of a sweet raised dough and served iced or powdered with sugar. This sweet pastry is also known as a Krapfen or Krepper.

Berliner Pfannkuchen Recipe

German National Cookery for American Kitchens (1904)


For the dough take 1 cupful of milk, 1/2 pound of clarified butter, 1 whole egg and the yolks of 5 eggs, scant 2 ounces of yeast, 2 ounces of sugar, a teaspoonful of salt and flour. For filling, currants, cherries, jelly, or marmalade.

Flour and butter are warmed. Then whip the eggs, stir the lukewarm milk with the eggs, yeast, butter, sugar, salt, and flour into a dough which is beaten until it bubbles, and no longer sticks to the spoon. Then set it aside to raise.

When this is done roll it out to about the thickness of one-half inch and put a teaspoonful of the fruit jelly or marmalade 2 inches apart on half of the dough and lay the other half over this, and then with a glass cut so as to have the dots of jelly in the center of the cakes, and let them raise again.

Then heat the fat, put the cakes in side-by-side with the tops to the bottom, putting in just enough cakes to cover with the fat.

They must be of a dark yellow color, and when done, turn in bowl of powdered sugar until coated or sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon; serve fresh.

If wished they can also be frosted with a sweet sugar icing flavored with rum.

Note: When baking cakes in which yeast is used, for instance Berliners, the upper side is put into the fat first.

Shake the kettle occasionally and when brown from below turn the cakes with a fork, and when the top is brown also take them out, lay them on a piece of absorbent (blotting) paper for a while, turn in powdered sugar, and dust some of this over the top.

German Butter Rings

Fried Butter Rings

1 pound of warmed flour, 2 ounces of butter, the same quantity of pounded almonds mixed with a few bitter ones, 1 cupful of milk, 1 whole and the yolks of 4 eggs, 2 tablespoonfuls of rosewater, 1 tablespoonful of sugar, a little salt, yeast dissolved in a little milk.

Warm the milk and the butter, stir in eggs, rosewater, almonds, spices, yeast and flour, beat the dough, and lay it on a molding board dusted with flour. Then take small pieces of the dough, form them into little rings and set aside to raise.

Then bake in lard the same as the German Pfannkuchen recipe, beginning with those which were made first. They must be of a light yellow color when done.

While hot roll in sugar and cinnamon. Delicious!

About the Berliner Pfannkuchen Recipe

Tray of Homemade Berliners Ready to ServeDeep Fried Berliners Decorated with Candied Peel
(Source: ©dar19.30/Depositphotos.com)

The Berliner pfannkuchen is said to have been invented in 1756 by a Berlin confectioner, once a regimental field baker in the Prussian army. The fried pastries became known as "Berliners" and their added jelly fillings became widely popular in the 1800s.

Berliners are traditionally served on New Year's Eve, Germany's Saint Sylvester Day, though they're a very popular dessert pastry enjoyed throughout the year.

After receiving their customary jelly, jam or marmalade filling, they are either dusted with powdered sugar or topped with a sugar icing that's sometimes flavored with a dash of rum.

On festive occasions, as a joke, one Berliner is secretly filled with hot mustard and served on a tray with the others to some unsuspecting soul.

Berliners are called Paczki (pronounced Punch-key) in Poland where they are served on Fat Tuesday, Ostatki, the day before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, the making of Paczki emptied the pantry of fat, lard, butter, and sugar on Shrove Tuesday, before Lent.

Also, be sure to see the traditional recipe for German Fastnachts, a deep-fried raised cake doughnut that's very similar to Pfannkuchen, but traditionally less sweet and without the jelly filling.

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