This time of year people in Germany celebrate carnival, also called Fasching depending on the region. It is where you dress in costumes, have parades, give more or less funny speeches, drink a lot and eat very greasy food. This is the big party before lent.
While I have never been a great fan of Fasching I love the deep fried jelly doughnuts that come with it. I don’t eat them any other time, but once every year I make a batch of Berliner as they are called in Germany. A fresh doughnut, still warm from deep frying is absolutely delicious. This year I was especially successful because I made them smaller and used a top-notch thermometer.
Today we had our moment of Fasching, all of us at the dining table, eating the jam dripping Berliner and listening to a carnival speech on Youtube. I think that was it until next year.
Speaking of Berliner, many years ago I met an American student in Germany who asked me if John F. Kennedy really said he was a jelly doughnut when he came to West Berlin in 1963 and declared: “Ich bin ein Berliner.” I was very astonished. That thought had never occurred to me and I assured her it was not true. Her relief was intense, so acute had been her embarrassment. You can read more about the historic event in this article.
If you want to celebrate as well, here is the recipe:
2 tsp instant yeast
20g vanilla sugar ( or 50g sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of milk
100g melted butter
1 egg white
1 cup jam or jelly
Makes about 18 small Berliner
Make a yeast dough with all the ingredients except the last three. Let it rise once, roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thickness. Use a circular cookie cutter with a circumference of 7cm ( about 3 inches) and cut out the dough. Spread one circle with egg white and top it with another. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Let them rise in a warm place.
In the meantime heat frying oil to 170 to 190 C ( 340 to 375 F). Take a baking sheet, set a cooling rack over it and top it with paper towels. Use this to drain the fat off the Berliner when they are done frying. Attach a 1/4 tip to a piping bag, fill bag with the jelly. Pour some sugar onto a plate, set aside.
Deep fry the Berliner in small batches, until they are golden brown on both sides. Drain and let them cool down a bit, fill each with about 1 Tbsp of jelly and dip them in the sugar.