Berlinerboller are doughnuts (without the hole), filled with ether vanilla custard or jam, and rolled in granulated sugar. As the name implies, these wonderful treats stem from Germany where they are called Berliner Pfannkuchen (this also means pancakes), or in some areas of Germany and Austria they are referred to as kraeppel or kreppel, krafen or krapfen. In fact, when doing some research, pretty much all central European countries have a version of these doughnuts, from Poland and the Czech Republic to Croatia and Bosnia, and even here in the U.S., where they are referred to as “jelly doughnuts”.
Image source: VG.no
My mother was the only one I knew around me growing up who made these at home – they were my favorite thing about an otherwise dreary February month. It was also unusual because my mom would NEVER deep fry anything. She must have been inspired by a food magazine she read or by someone else, I am pretty sure my grandmother didn’t make these either. My sister didn’t continue this tradition, as she finds the house smelling of lard afterwards, and her kids prefer the “fastelavnsboller”I wrote about yesterday. To each his own – the more lard, the better, I say! 🙂
Sometimes, the doughnuts are filled with a vanilla custard, and in northern Norway are then referred to as solbrød, or in English “sun bread”, and was made to mark the return of the sun after a long winter.
Image source: dinmat.no
Berliner buns were traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day and to celebrate carnival holidays such as Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and today they are also made on the Sunday of Fastelavn. A fatty food for fatty Tuesday – sometimes you just have to indulge! Here’s a recipe to try out – be careful working with the hot lard/fat, and NEVER work with water around the pot!
Makes about 30 buns
2 lbs all purpose flour
3 1/3 cups whole milk
75 grams cake yeast (fresh)
200 grams butter (about 2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
2 lbs (About 2 quarts) lard (alternatively vegetable/canola oil if you don’t want to include animal products)
granulated sugar to coat the doughnuts
raspberry jelly or preserves for filling doughnuts
Warm up the milk and melt butter in it until the mixture reaches about 110-115 degrees, then dissolve the fresh yeast i the mixture and stir until well combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, combine flour, sugar , salt and cardamom. Add in slowly the liquid mixture and knead until a dough forms. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and firm. Place a towel over the bowl and let rest in a warm spot until it doubles in size.
Punch down the dough, place on a floured work surface and divide into about 30 pieces, roll them into buns, place on a baking sheet and cover with a towel and let rise again for another 30 minutes.
Melt the lard in a big pot, and let it heat up until it reaches about 340-360 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also test it by dropping a 1-inch piece of bread into the lard – if it drops to the bottom and rises again to the top quickly, the lard is hot enough. Be VERY careful working with oil/lard, it’s extremely hot and can cause major danger if not proper care is taken.
Drop the buns into the lard carefully, brown them in batches, on both sides, let them dry off on parchment paper and roll them in sugar when cool enough to handle. You can eat them as is, or fill a piping bag with a small tip with raspberry jelly, carefully insert into the doughnut and fill it with a small amount. Alternatively, use a vanilla custard for the filling if you prefer (recipe to follow).
EGGEKREM (Vanilla Custard)
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 vanilla bean
Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds out – place in a small pot with the rest of the ingredients. Whisk under medium heat (be careful so as to not boil) until the custard thickens. Chill it by placing the pot in cold ice water.
Image source: Dinmat.no
You can also freeze them, but then omit rolling them in sugar before placing them in freezer.