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Berliner Pfannkuchen (German Doughnut)

Known as Pfannkuchen in Berlin, Kreppel in Hessen, Krapfen in Southern Germany and Berliner just about everywhere else (excluding various dialectical variations), the jelly-filled donut, the cause of much unintended mirth when John F. Kennedy famously declared ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ is a quintessential culinary component of Germany’s carnival season. Carnival season, known as Fasching, Karneval or Fastnacht, depending on the region, is celebrated mostly in catholic areas of Germany, yet the ubiquitous donut is a hit wherever you go. During the carnival season you’ll find bakeries on every street corner with their counters piled high with various types of donuts, most filled with jam but also with vanilla cream, chocolate or even eggnog.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 42 g fresh yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk plus 2 tbsp
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 70 g butter at room temperature
  • a pinch of salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • your favorite jelly such as raspberry, cherry, plum or apricot
  • confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling


  1. Place the flour in a bowl, make a well in the center. Crumble the yeast into it with 1 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp lukewarm milk. Mix together and allow to stand in a warm place for about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining milk, sugar, egg yolks, room temperature butter and a pinch of salt to the dough and knead into a smooth dough manually or in a food processor with a dough kneading attachment. Mix until the dough appears to detach easily from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (approx 30-60 minutes).
  4. Roll out the dough into about 2 cm thickness on a floured surface and cut out circles approximately 7 cm in diameter using a glass or a cup. Allow the cut-out dough circles to stand for a further 10 minutes covered with a dish towel.
  5. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan. Lower the donuts 2 to 3 at a time into the hot oil and fry until the puff up and turn golden brown.
  6. Remove the fried donuts from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on paper towels.
  7. Allow the donuts to cool, then fill them with jam using a piping bag. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!

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